Designer Life
Thomas Lafont

Feature Story
February 21, 2019

Matthieu (left) and Thomas (right), at the original store in Rue Vignon, Paris


Design history. Family legacy. Artisan creativity. Eyewear enthusiasts would be hard pressed not to fall in love with the celebrated French eyewear label, LAFONT Paris.

Today the company is run by brothers Matthieu, Chief Director of Marketing and Communications, and Thomas, Chief Creative Director and Designer.

The story behind the brand...

Autumn 1923. Rue Vignon in Paris’s Madeleine district. Louis Lafont sets up a small boutique selling hearing aids and spectacles. For three generations, the great-grandfather’s art deco spirit has set the standard when it comes to designing eyewear. Philippe, Louis’ grandson, along with his Parisian fashion designer wife Laurence, transform spectacles into a genuine fashion accessory. The couple produced many innovative products and collaborated with major fashion houses such as Hermès and Chanel.
The Paris institution now operates five boutiques under its own name and exports to over 40 countries.

“Our family has been connected with the eyewear industry since 1923, when my great-grandfather opened his optical store. I have memories of me with my brother and sister playing in the basement workshop with our grandfather managing the shop, it was at the time when our parents created the brand Lafont. Close to forty years ago. My mother invented the Lafont house style and I had the opportunity to work with her on the collections for over 20 years! Becoming the creative director of the brand more than 10 years ago was a challenge but at the same time very natural, her way of working on colours and her creativity inspired me a lot. Her sense of this particular Parisian style still inspires me now."

“My sketchbook never leaves my side; it enables me to put down on paper thoughts and ideas that come to me spontaneously."

A favourite moment in the design process

“I like more than anything the presentation of the collections at the trade shows. Each collection is a new birth with a story to tell, filled with inspiration accumulated throughout the years. Our collections are never stagnant – they are in constant evolution. I have many sources of inspiration, all very diverse and eclectic. Inspiration is something that needs to be nurtured and requires training and curiosity."

\\ Model Dancing by Lafont

Life in the city

“We are Parisian, our first store is in the heart of Paris. Paris is all around us and an eternal source of inspiration.
I work with the brand’s design studio (in our office in Paris) on developing our collections and the brand’s image. We release two collections a year, which represents over 60 models.
For six months, the Studio Teams work on the designs – shapes, colours, patterns and technical solutions.
We are constantly sharing with the factory in the Jura and its R&D department."

A legacy of shared values

Today Thomas and Matthieu represent the fourth generation in the family business: “We are proud to continue this family story. Our values, our styles, those things that make our company special, these are things that we want to keep and develop. I’ve been working with my brother for over 14 years, so to me it’s very simple and natural. I must say, we have a great team of people around the world working with us, sharing the same values and goals."

Special interests

“I’m interested in painting, architecture, not just fashion design.
For example, I like the architects Breuer and Gaudi who designed the inside and outside of buildings. I like that inspiration, and I try to bring the same concept to the details on our frames.”

www.lafont.com

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