Out of Sight

Published October 1, 2013

JACKET: MONCLER. SUNGLASSES: MONCLER LUNETTES. EARRING: WILLIAMS’S OWN. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MONCLER.

When the French luxury sportswear brand Moncler first began to collaborate with musician, producer, artist, curator, entrepreneur, and all-around cultural polymath Pharrell Williams on its new Lunettes sunglasses collection, everyone came to the project with a mutual understanding: “To look ahead, you have to look back,” says Moncler chairman Remo Ruffini. “And then move on with audacity and intuition.” Some lofty ideas, but ones aptly embodied by the latest Lunettes collection, which laces some classic ’50s-inspired styles with a dose of high-tech futurism. “Timeless,” Ruffini calls them. “This is at the very core of Moncler: authentic and individual elegance that is beyond fashion.” For his part, Williams, who first collaborated with the brand in 2009 on an outerwear collection featuring prints by Japanese artist Keita Sugiura, says that he was driven to produce “the perfect product” in its balance of design and technology. But while the creative part came easy to Williams, who designed the glasses in rounded shapes influenced by the Le Corbusier archive, the more technical aspects of making the glasses look, feel, and function the way he envisioned—each frame is cut from a single piece of lightweight titanium, and the arms made of superflexible nylon—proved more challenging. “But this is what happens,” Williams explains, “if you want to take the time to do something new.”