Alain Miklitarian, the innovative eyewear designer better known as Alain Mikli, is coming back to the eyewear sector as artistic director of Gold & Wood, the high-end manufacturer of frames based in Luxembourg, starting with next month's Silmo show in Paris. The fruits of his input should begin to be seen in the collection that will be presented at next February's Mido show in Milan.
Mikli and his partners sold the bulk of their business to Luxottica in January 2013, valuing his company at €92 million. Since then, Mikli, who is now 62 years old, has been involved in other sectors including the sale of sustainable meat and restaurants.
Mikli will act as a part-time consultant to Gold & Wood, and he may be prepared to do the same for other companies. His discussions with Maurice Léonard, founder and controlling shareholder of the brand's parent company, Wood Optic Diffusion, started in January. Around the same time, a former brother-in-law of Mikli who had been his sales director, Sebastien Dehaine, left the company, where he had been serving in a similar position.
The 56-year-old Léonard, who has taken back the commercial responsibilities, says that Gold & Wood has been growing by more than 20 percent this year. Its sales had been recently stagnating at an annual level of about €5 million.
Sales have grown especially in France, thanks to a closer partnership with the retail clients, and in the U.S., where the company appointed early this year a new sales manager, Darin Nathan, who previously worked for Sama Eyewear.
Clients have responded well to the release of innovative products using new materials such as silk, carbon fiber and titanium, in addition to gold, wood and horn. Styles featuring silk-plated wood, which were launched at Mido, have fared particularly well. A line of glasses with titanium inserts coming from Japan is being extended for its presentation at next week's Silmo show in Paris.
One of the reasons for Mikli's collaboration with Gold & Wood is that Vanessa Di Giovanni has been working as its product manager for the past three years. She had previously occupied a similar position at Mikli while launching her own brand of glasses, Vanessa & Mehdi.