After Lagerfeld’s ascent to CHANEL, the brand became famous, among other things, for their endless renditions of chains on all sorts of clothes and accessories. Sunglasses are no exception to this tradition! The high-end prime sunglass model from CHANEL’s 2010/11 St. Tropez cruise collection showcases a very filigrane light gold chain adorning the entire front part of a pilot cut frame and bridge. Placing metal chains on sunglasses is no new technique or aesthetic. Many other designers have done it in the past, from CHANEL’s own models from their fw 1992 pret a proter collection to MOSCHINO’s RATTI made pop-art shades.
What surprises us about this particular model (40861 L9532) is the extent of experimentalism the designers went through to render the effect of a golden chain covering the front of the frame. When you look at it closely the chain doesn’t seem to have a very clean polished finish. This effect, however, was desired as it clearly contrasts the perfect finish of the overall product. The chain was supposed to reflect the inner structure of CHANEL jackets. The jackets all bare a metal chain at the bottom so that the jackets fall as straight as possible while the wearer moves, sits, turns and twists. This is a structural element requiring no need for extreme polished surface. This means that conceptually, the designers inverted the inside to the outside of a product. A hidden bottom back cut chain slips all the way up to the front.
We are not sure if the golden chain was molded into or if it was braised on to the metal frame. We would need to see several copies of the same model in order to determine if the metal chains bare different structures or if the same exact pattern repeates on each model. What we can clearly see, however, is that there is air and light filtering through the chain structure which means that there are holes between every chain link. This makes us lean more towards the theory that the chains were indeed braised on to the frame and bridge.
The temples both have the CHANEL logo engraved into the outer front parts. The inner front parts of the temples bare another CHANEL logo, country of production, model and color numbers respectively. The ear tips of both temples are made of acetate and have both a tiny golden double “C” logo at the inner extreme tips. These sunglasses were produced by LUXOTTICA, in Italy and were only available for purchase in CHANEL boutiques worldwide.
The catwalk version of this model appears to be very different from it’s retail sister. The model from the cruise collection catwalk has a clearly thicker chain and smaller distance between the two lenses. We do not know the reasons why in the end the design team opted for a thinner chain. It might look more elegant and be easier to sell but we hope that the sale factor did not influence the choice as on such a high luxury level as CHANEL is, they should not allow themselves the question wether or not a limited edition model is more or less sellable. The only question they would be allowed to ask themselves is wether or not the model is outstanding in it’s appearance and if it is in any way groundbraking from both a design and structural point of view.
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