Vuarnet’s US CEO, Lucio Lozza, shares everything there is to know about the coveted ski brand’s signature Skilynx lens, and so much more…
What did the world of active eyewear (if that’s the right phrase) look like before 1957? That’s where Roger Pouilloux began what would later become Vuarnet…
I was not born yet….but I heard from someone who skied with Jean that the world of sport was “experimental.” Athletes tried different materials and developed techniques to improve performance. For example, skies were made just of wood and Vuarnet was the one who invented metal inserts to strengthen the ski. He also invented the “egg” position to reach faster speeds in downhill. In terms of eyewear, there wasn’t much protection back then and athletes were seen wearing leather ski goggles for active sports.
Tell us about Skilynx – what did that entail? How did it work to improve visibility on the slopes?
The Skilynx was our first lens ever. And still today, it is our most popular lens. It is a pure mineral glass in a yellow-green shade that allows for enhanced depth perception and clarity. Vuarnet created an exclusive mirror lens with a double gradient tinted coating to counter the glare of the sun’s rays. Not only does the Skilynx lens provide skiers with protection while on the slopes, it also provides them with a clear vision of the surrounding environment, especially in overcast weather.
Describe the relationship between Roger Pouilloux and Jean Vuarnet? It seems like a match made in heaven?
It sure was! Vuarnet was born through this relationship! It was the best of both worlds – an Olympic skier and an avant garde optician who shared a passion for skiing. After creating the ever popular lens – the Skilynx – Mr. Pouilloux sought out Jean Vuarnet to test these lenses on the slopes. Mr. Vuarnet wore them downhill during the Olympic games and won! Following the victory, the two men who shared a common passion and vision forged a friendship and decided to join forces and create a brand that reflected their characters – innovative, high performance and elegance. The rest is history. Even back then, it was important for us to test our lenses with the industry’s best to ensure the very highest quality and protection.
Vuarnet’s history is so illustrious! And full of who’s who’s! What do you attest to your success?
The key to our success is simple – the quality, protection and clarity that our lenses offer are unlike no other. Our lenses are 100% Mineral Glass lenses versus the “plastic” organic lenses that most brands use for their eyewear. We have been in this business over 60 years, perfecting our craft since then. We manufacture our own lenses in our own factory in France – which means we have complete control of the process. The production of each lens takes one week and includes a 17-step process. Once someone tries on a pair of our lenses, it’s hard to go back to what they were wearing beforehand.
Best celebrity sighting in a pair of Vuarnets?
We’ve had so many! We’ve seen Daniel Craig wear as James Bond in the film “Spectre,” Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” in the film “The Big Lebowski,” Jake Gyllenhaal in the film “Everest,” Tom Selleck in the original “Magnum P.I” TV show, Mick Jagger, Miles Davis, Kurt Russell, Luke Wilson, and the list goes on!
How did you find your way into the world of Free People?
We were introduced by one of our distributors who felt we would be a great match, and they were right! Here we are, still working together. We love what the Free People brand stands for!
Any universal advice to skiers of all skill levels?
I would say protection and safety – protecting yourself against strong winds and snow while being able to see with clarity and precision on the slopes makes all the difference.
The future looks very bright for your brand — what are you currently developing?
Bright indeed! We are very excited to be back in the US market to offer our consumers the very highest quality and protection in eyewear that you don’t necessarily see with the bigger brands. That is our number 1 priority. Being that our brand has for years supplied the most prestigious ski schools in the French & Italian Alps with our eyewear, it is only natural that we have now also begun the development of our new apparel and skiwear line. Our new apparel and ski line carries the same characteristics that make our eyewear a success – the protection in all-weather conditions and the quality of the materials featuring technology from Japan and Italian manufacturers. Check out our website for more info, or visit our NYC boutique at 39 Spring Street.
Your brand’s mantra:
It’s a Vuarnet Day Today!