July 31, 2019
Katharina Schlager, CEO and Creative Director, CAZAL
As Katharina Schlager takes the helm at the iconic eyewear label CAZAL Eyewear, we asked her how she views the brand’s future and what her focus is as she starts a new episode in her life and career.
Q: CAZAL IS ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC NAMES IN EYEWEAR. WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE CONNECT THE BRAND WITH IF THEY KNOW ABOUT IT. WHAT IS THE GENERAL PERCEPTION OF ITS HISTORY?
A: CAZAL represents a very strong and iconic design style with powerful structures and corners and edges – designed for unique characters. With the statement style and temples of the frames, you can always see a Cazal from the opposite side of the street. Hardly any other brand has produced such extraordinary designs with longevity and continuity beyond the realms of fashion.
Q: CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE CAZAL SIGNATURE STYLE, CREATED BY CARI ZALLONI?
A: It’s about the temple. It’s bold. It’s unmistakable. And you feel it, it’s a weighted design and not necessarily built for comfort. You have to have a certain attitude to wear it.
Q: WHAT HAS MADE IT AN “ENDURING STYLE” IN TERMS OF ITS EXTRAORDINARY POPULARITY?
A: The Hip Hop Scene has had a huge impact and I think the enduring quality of the brand has a lot to do with this. It’s exciting, dirty, a bit dangerous…and people actually always love a little bit of danger and excitement in their life! And if you buy a CAZAL then you have the feeling that you are part of their audience.
Q: YOU HAVE JOINED CAZAL THIS YEAR. CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CAZAL TO DATE. I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE HAD SOME POINTS OF CONTACT IN THE PAST?
A: Cari was living about 1km from my hometown. I met him at that time when I started Andy Wolf. He was always a big idol for me – because he did things with incredible focus. When I met him personally he was very encouraging and said I was doing a great job and to carry on doing it! He really made an impression on me. It was also a sign for me to go further and to take my next steps and to be focused on the way I do things.
Q: HOW DO YOU ENVISAGE YOUR ROLE IN TAKING THE BRAND FORWARD, AS YOU ARE JUST BEGINNING? IS IT A LABOUR OF LOVE? ARE YOU GOING TO BE AT THE HEART OF THE CREATIVE DIRECTION?
A: For me when I started in business, Andy Wolf was my first love. It was new, exciting. CAZAL is my second great love: a calmer and very deep new experience for me today. It’s a grown-up love with a very serious endeavour. For me – from the design point of view – I want to take all the beautiful things of CAZAL and I want to transform that into 2020 and the new decade. I want to make it more fashionable - I know that if Cari Zalloni was alive now he wouldn’t have done everything as he had done it back in the 80s and 90s. It must be a development. I want to imagine a collection that Cari Zalloni would be proud to see today – transforming the heart and the feeling for 2020.
Q: HAVE YOU ALREADY DIPPED INTO THE CAZAL LEGACY AND ARCHIVE?
A: I went to the archive and I spent three days there. I was so excited to see how he worked. He was very architectural with 3D concepts. The shapes were always very strong. It is amazing to step into the world of Cari Zalloni and I have learned a lot in the first three months, to have an opportunity to look around his work. It’s not just about black and gold either. When he started he was very colourful in his design work too. I want to change things a little but – to keep the good things and the things that are on point, but I also want to develop my own signature.
Q: YOU HAVE MENTIONED THAT YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN ADD “FEMININE IMPULSES” - CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE FURTHER.
A: The Legends are “very male” and iconic and I love that. It is a very exciting part of the collection. But for me personally, I didn’t find a sunglass or a frame that I want to wear. What I have developed in my first collection for CAZAL which we will see at SILMO 2020 will include shapes for women, shapes for strong women.
Q: SHOULD WE EXPECT ANY FURTHER CHANGES IN THE BUSINESS AS YOU TAKE THE HELM IN 2020?
A: Yes, we have a new vision of change. That’s our main claim, and we WILL change. I think we have a very good base already, and with this we want to build up a new house of CAZAL – renovating it, keeping the good things, and always focusing on making it even more beautiful and welcoming to everyone.