JF REY: creative expressions, far-reaching experience 

Author: Clodagh Norton

Interview of the Month
September 28, 2021

Joelle Rey, Artistic Director, JF REY

Joëlle Rey, artistic director of the French eyewear design company JF REY, has a special perspective on designing for women, given her role at JFREY since the 1980s. 2020EUROPE asked her to share her experience and approach to creative design for today’s stylish, fashion-savvy, self-confident female audience, with reflections on the past.

Q: When you are designing a woman’s collection, what are the key points that you always consider – as a woman designing for women?

A: Dreams, freedom and colour are the starting points I always have in mind when designing a new collection. Then comes a kind of transgression. There’s always a personal intention to bring women something secretive and customised, and totally dedicated to their style ….with something out of the ordinary.

Q: In the time you have been working in eyewear, how would you say that women’s eyewear style has changed or evolved? And what is your personal experience of this evolution?

A: Since my first experience in the 1980s, I have seen a tremendous evolution in women’s eyewear. Women are lucky today to have such a wide and varied choice: colourful, large shapes, extremely feminine and glamour, daring bold colours, combining unexpected materials and always preserving a true identity, faithful to the designers’ ideas and unique creation.

Q: You have always had an eye for special colour effects and patterns. Tell us a little more about this interest?

A: Colour is my everyday life and it quite naturally leads into my work. This has evolved out of my childhood. My grandmother was a famous costume designer for Music Hall in Paris, so I was very quickly influenced by those clothes which featured fabulous peacock feathers or interlaced flowers. I later had the opportunity to buy a lot of small pieces from Haute Couture in the famous silk manufacturers in the city of Lyon. As you know, Haute Couture has always been a main inspiration for young designers. It will be always be a major French touch of elegance and dreamy inspiration in the world.

Q: Do you have a point of view on colour for women, and what colours are 1/ the most feminine 2/ the most playful 3/ the strongest statement-making tones?

A: My favourite colour will always be green, all the green tones I can imagine : acid lemon, khaki ‘saharienne’, dark forest green or funny grasshopper tones, without forgetting my must-have jade green.

Q: What are the key developments for the new season at JF REY and how do you see the trends moving in the new women’s products? Please give us an idea about shapes/colours/material and/or influences.

A: Acetate designs are oversize using very colourful, exclusive lamination, and openwork side pieces. Another theme is finer, using more transparencies in acetates and extremely subtle colouring features by lamination. And our successful concept “Double Combi” (metal and acetate) stands out for its very luminous and bright acetates. The new metal range is colourful, light and oversize, mixing gold and silver plating treatment with unique Spring colours (jade green, blue lagoon or coral), such as the SHELL concept or OPPOSITE. The influence is lightness even with large and oversize shapes. The new collections confirm a return to colour and express more than ever our own identity, not at all vintage, dark black or brown. The new models strongly preserve the signature of the brand in shape, refreshing palettes, and customized, chic, creative acetate combinations. The artistic talent is in the colour signature of the brand and is largely expressed in our new collection, may be more than ever than you would see before the pandemic.

\\ Model Lilie by BOZ

Q: There is clearly a taste for joyful bright colours this year in eyewear. Will this direction continue post pandemic into 2022?

A: Yes definitively! We really need joy and happiness. We need colours! Before the pandemic, eyewear mainly had become unisex, vintage, more masculine in black, or tortoiseshell colours. The pandemic has impelled a strong desire for life, and colour, pleasure and the joy of living. I hope to find once again gorgeous feminine shapes and bright palettes, more extravagance, and iconic stories with a stronger identity.

Q: Finally – tell us about your own personal style? And what has most influenced you in your design work from outside optics – and why?

A: Jean-François talks about me as a “rock’n’roll lady”. I’m a free spirit and a dreamer, who loves dancing, moving, and travelling. But I also appreciate silence. I’m influenced by architecture, classic and Greek civilizations, all the artists from Vienna such as Egon Schiele, Kokoschka, Munch and Kirchner and others who are very special such as Otto Dix. Their destiny expresses very well their energy, their creative passion and freedom.


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