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Uncategorized | December 17, 2019

Emmanuelle Khan – 50 years of passion

The French brand is celebrating this milestone anniversary with a limited-edition collection and its first line of men’s eyewear. But the surprises don’t stop there…

words Alessandra Albarello

In the 1950s, a very young model made her debut in the ateliers of established fashion designers, Balenciaga and Givenchy amongst others, as well as those of promising young designers like Cacharel. The model’s name was Renée Georgette Jeanne Mézière: born in Paris in 1937 – a.k.a. Emmanuelle. She married in 1957 and added her husband’s surname: Khanh. She embodied a new concept of unconventional beauty, that fully expressed her way of being. In fact, her gaze soon turned elsewhere, towards that avant-garde culture that speaks of a parallel fashion story, using the same free and spontaneous language of young people with trends that come directly from the street. Appropriating the aesthetic vocabulary that was often influenced by London’s New Wave, Emmanuelle Khanh began designing clothing collections which also included collaborations with designers such as Ottavio Missoni. In 1969, exactly 50 years ago, she created her own ready-to-wear line aimed at active and emancipated women, eschewing all stereotypes, including the idea that wearing glasses diminishes a woman’s feminine charm. It is no coincidence that she herself, having to wear prescription glasses, chose a flashy frame and gradually developed the idea of creating models that reflected her tastes. The first eyewear collection was designed in 1972 and was characterised by generous (almost exaggerated) sizes, bold oversized models that would forever be the designer’s distinctive shapes. Glasses like sculptures, very thick, defining not only people’s look but also their personality. As such, they are especially aimed at those bold, courageous women who love challenges, who dare with visible but striking accessories that are almost architectural in their construction. In the 90s, the brand took a break and then returned in 2012, starting from those iconic frames that have now become part of the collective memory. When Emmanuelle Khanh died in 2017, her baton was taken up by Eva Gaumé, who became the perfect interpreter of that legacy composed of 80s suggestions: those narrative codes that speak of love, passion and boldness. With sensitivity and respect, Eva recreated that glamorous universe made of timeless elegance, a contemporary style that came from contrasts. This is how she designed the Studio line of titanium models handmade in Japan and introduced a collection of accessories which included jewellery chains and clutches that quickly became must-have items. The primary objective was to reaffirm the brand’s presence worldwide, especially in key markets such as the US, Germany and Italy. In this context, Silmo 2019 is the ideal place to celebrate the important 50-year milestone, starting with a limited edition of glasses characterised with the iconic monogram EK. The first collection of men’s eyewear, consisting of 5 models, will also be launched at Silmo, while acetate made in France exclusively for Emmanuelle Khanh in a range of sophisticated colours and unusual effects, is the absolute key feature of other, captivating models. However, Emmanuelle Khanh’s universe is certainly not limited to eyewear and for Fall/Winter 2019, in collaboration with Red Edition, the brand has designed indoor objects in a limited edition: the coming together of art, design and French savoir-faire. And so, the story continues, with the same energy and passion as ever.