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ROBERT LA ROCHE: 50 years of eyewear design

Celebrating 50 years, the eyewear brand from Austria continues to serve up distinctive frames where the past meets the future and quality is always carefully addressed. 20/20 Europe asked Kamilia Kusz, General Manager to share her current perspective on the Robert La Roche line as the company looks forward to new releases for 2024.

Q: The Robert La Roche brand celebrated its 50th year in 2023. What does this milestone represent?

ROBERT LA ROCHE
Kamilia Kusz, General Manager, Robert La Roche

A: This milestone marks five decades of consistently edgy and sophisticated eyewear design. For our 50th anniversary, we’ve chosen to reimagine two of Robert La Roche’s iconic and distinctive sunglasses from the 1980s and 1990s, creating a limited edition that seamlessly blends the past with the future. These two special pieces, still exuding sexiness and timeless allure, represent a celebration of our rich design heritage.
The redesign was spearheaded by the LesDeuxH team, led by the two Harrys from Vienna, complemented by the product development expertise of our team at the headquarters in Graz.

Q: How have you celebrated the anniversary?

A: We poured a tremendous amount of passion and affection into crafting these products. Introducing two exceptionally unique limited edition sets of sunglasses, each limited to 100 pieces and available in four distinctive colours: the 1980 and 1990 editions. Drawing inspiration from two of Robert La Roche’s past designs, we’ve reimagined them, presenting a fresh, modern, and futuristic perspective.
To enhance the exclusivity of this offering, each pair comes in a special case featuring a premium crocodile-patterned box and a high-quality soft leather case, both meticulously crafted in Italy. Stay tuned for more exciting releases coming next year.

ROBERT LA ROCHE

Q: Can you explain the DNA of the brand in 2024? Has it changed through the years, or does it very clearly preserve its original 1970s identity?

A: The brand has unquestionably evolved over the years, adapting to the changing preferences of customers and the market. A decade ago, the idea of thick and bold acetate frames wasn’t on anyone’s radar, yet today, these distinctive frames are highly sought after. Leveraging our extensive experience in eyewear fashion and our longstanding presence in the market, we swiftly responded to this trend approximately 3-4 years ago with the introduction of our Les DEUX H and Rumpf releases.
While styles may have shifted, what has endured since the 1970s is the commitment to quality that the brand name RLR has always embodied.

Q: The creative side of Robert La Roche is now in your hands. How do you “re-invent” the creative and daring approach of the original founder?

A: “Reinvention” has never been a challenge for me; rather, it’s an approach to carry forward from where Robert left off. He will forever be a source of inspiration. While I do keep an eye on trends and, as a brand, aim to set some trends as well, it’s crucial to do so without losing the essence of Robert La Roche.
Remaining dynamic and forward-thinking is essential, always keeping a vision for the next few years.

ROBERT LA ROCHE

Q: Is craftsmanship still a primary preoccupation?

A: Emphasizing craftsmanship became undoubtedly the most crucial aspect, if not the utmost, when we embarked on revitalizing the brand three to four years ago. The opticians and concept stores that source our frames and sunglasses are discerning about the quality they offer and are well-aware of their specific requirements.
Our aspiration is to position our frames in the finest premium stores globally, necessitating the creation of the highest possible quality. Without maintaining top-notch quality, such a placement would be unattainable.
Crafted from the finest Italian and French acetate, our frames and sunglasses are manufactured in what I would consider the two best factories in Northern Italy, as well as the foremost facility in Japan. The inclinable hinges are custom-made in Germany, adding an extra layer of precision and excellence to our products.
To further elevate our standards, our new designers are optometrists who possess not only a keen eye for design but also an in-depth understanding of the significance of a well-fitting, high-quality frame for both the optician and the customer.

ROBERT LA ROCHE

Q: I understand you continue to do an interesting collab with Christoph Rumpf – tell us more…

A: Our collaboration is highly successful, characterized by vibrant, avant-garde, and sophisticated designs. Our diverse styles are wearable for both men and women, setting us apart from other brands. This distinctiveness is what our customers truly appreciate.

Q: What are you releasing in the next months at Robert La Roche?

A: This year, we’ll be at MIDO showcasing the latest additions to our LesDeuxH collection, featuring new optical and sun styles. Additionally, explore the latest models from our Essential collection. Don’t miss out on the excitement!

Robert-laroche.com

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