Thierry Lasry, the fast-growing French brand of designer eyewear that won a special Silmo d'Or award at the Paris trade show a few weeks ago, has become well known for its original women's sunglasses, which tend to feature straight corners and sharp angles. It is now adding its first line of prescription frames and developing Asian fitting.
These two important diversification moves and the introduction of unisex and men's models could help the company double its turnover again, says Leonard Lasry, who runs the company together with his brother Thierry. Production volumes already doubled between 2011 and 2015 on the strength of some best-selling styles of sunglasses launched in 2009 and 2010, and they have now reached an annual level of around 60,000 pairs.
Celebrities like Madonna and Lady Gaga have contributed to boost the brand's image, along with collaborations with Acne Studio, Fendi and other famous fashion brands. The latest capsule collection is a collaboration with Koché, the Parisian fashion brand launched three years ago by Christelle Kocher.
Thierry Lasry, who is 41 years old, is the creative person, and Leonard Lasry, 36, is in charge of general administration. Leonard said that the two brothers decided to launch an optical line after an eye doctor told both of them that they should start using corrective lenses.
Unlike its sunglasses, 70 percent of which are made for women, the company's new line of prescription frames is unisex. It uses special hinges supplied by OBE.
Thierry began to design glasses in 2001 for the optical retail store operated by his father. He took some inspiration for his career from his mother, a fashion and interior designer.
Thierry Lasry launched his first line of fashionable sunglasses under his own name in 2005, targeting only boutiques at the time. Some of his styles created a sensation, being featured in fashion magazines like Vogue. He began to target selected opticians in a second stage, exhibiting for the first time at Mido and Silmo in 2007.
The glasses use mainly Mazzuchelli acetate and are mostly made in France at factories in Oyonnax and in the regions of Normandy and Sologne. A few styles are made in Italy and, more recently, in Japan.
Thierry Lasry sunglasses are distributed in about 50 countries around the world. The biggest market is the U.S., where the company set up its own subsidiary in New York at the beginning of 2014, with a warehouse to service reorders, and where the designer spends much of his time. Aside from the online business, its lines are sold at about 200 points of sale in the U.S., including major department stores. France and Italy are next with about 120 and 60 selected stores, respectively. The retailers generally have exclusive distribution rights in specific areas.
The brand is just now entering the Russian market, working through a distributor. It has a good client in Japan and is working with a few accounts in China. The introduction of Asian fitting is expected to expand the brand's presence in that part of the world.
Two years ago, Thierry Lasry opened a concession at Le Bon Marché, one of the most prestigious department stores in Paris. A small free-standing optical store under his name opened last March. Others may follow, especially in the U.S.
The brand launched a web store in France about three years ago. It's not selling much, but it has a store locator.