Interviews | November 28, 2019

Cazal – Be flamboyant

With striking shapes and screws as ornamental elements, Cazal eyeglasses profiles were unique in the 80s; and still are: as told by Sven Katmando Christ

words Antonella Reina

‘Cazal eyewear must be recognizable from across the street.’ This was Cari Zalloni’s aim in 1975 when together with Günter Böttcher he founded the brand. And that is what happened. Eyeglasses by the German brand Cazal became part of pop culture during the 80s and today they are considered iconic. To think that from the 12th of July until the end of the year, The Design Museum Die Neue Sammlung is devoting a studio exhibition to the brand, named ‘Cazal eyewear meets American Hip Hop.’

What is the best question we could ask you? The worst?

“What is your work like?” My main job is to take care of the brand DNA: what Cazal stands for. Worst: “Do I look funny wearing Cazal?”

Cazal is?

It is so much more than a brand. It is an icon of pop culture; the redefinition of eyewear design. Cazal’s frames are not an accessory or an optical device. They are a statement, a lifestyle.

What is the concept behind it?

It has been the same since the beginning: fabulous flamboyant frames with a high design approach, built with high-tech craft and top-quality materials. We use real gold.

What about your ‘heritage’ frames?

The heritage frames are the DNA of Cazal. They became iconic and are recognizable worldwide. Even 200 years from now, people will be able to say, “The person in this picture is wearing Cazal frames” because it has become an important must have in pop culture.

How would you describe a Cazal frame?

See question 3.

You are unique because…

We get copied so much! No other brand has such a strong influence on other designers.

What are the features of the last collection and its inspiration?

We have a few more metal-based frames, as we wanted to refer to the early 900 frames, some of them smaller with the great 958 references and some light acetate frames. Crystal acetate is in high demand. The inspiration is that we look at upcoming fashion trends and fit it in with what we already have in our repertoire or in design studies – then we build more frames around it.

Why this inspiration?

We have this incredible archive of existing frames and design studies and sketches. Our audience is craving for unearthed pieces. Which leads to the next question…

How much has your brand changed over the years?

Not much at all. Cazal is different from the other eyewear brands. We have those everlasting models that won’t ever disappear, like the 607 or 616. Those models are like the Eames chairs or the Porsches: they feature an eternal iconic design. This July, the important design museum Die Neue Sammlung Munich just opened an exhibition about Cazal. It will be open until the end of the year.

Achievements and things you are still striving for…

It may sound a little arrogant, but what could we ask for? We created the most iconic eyewear pieces in contemporary pop culture, with thousands of references in art, movies and music. Who else has this?

What feeling do people get from wearing your frames?

It makes them feel special. Flamboyant. A Cazal frame is able to enhance your personality.

How does the world look through a pair of Cazal glasses?

Great. Peaceful. People will recognize you as a person with the same mindset.