Luca Gnecchi Ruscone

Words Giuliano Deidda


Sixteen years have passed since the brand’s founder took inspiration in a box of vintage glasses that came from his grandfather’s optician’s store in Eritrea. He tells us how this heritage is still essential

The brand’s origins are strongly connected to Africa. How did you keep this original spirit, and how is it evolving?
It requires a skillful balance to maintain your DNA based on a heritage which comes from the thirties, forties and fifties. It is essential to stick to those bases because they are the foundation of the brand. Every development and every innovation starts from there. L.G.R is classic but never boring. Being able to boast a real history is our advantage, so we hold on to it, despite always looking forward. Trends and fashions come and go, but substance, concreteness and assuredness make the difference. Simply waving the flag of the latest trend is not worth the time because these are cyclical phenomena. Tortoiseshell frames and green lenses will always continue to come back in fashion, but a strong identity does not need to focus everything on these waves.

L.G.R eyewear has always been entirely made in Italy by small artisan workshops. Today, is it still the same as the origins or have you implemented the production network?
At first, I started working with small manufacturers because I needed to find someone to produce my glasses. I came to them after a lot of searching and this solution was L.G.R real advantage. I keep on working with two of these artisan workshops even today, although in the meantime I have implemented the production with larger companies. as the current numbers allow me to have a different contractual power compared to the origins, I am entitled to ask the big companies to make glasses the way I want. For example, my frames are characterized by four-phase polishing, made with four different pastes, which results in a particular finish that definitely adds a plus to the glasses. you can even feel the difference by touch. However, the old craftsmen continue to develop prototypes and production.

L.G.R's careful choice of materials is another main feature of the brand, isn’t it?
Sure, our main materials are steel and celluloid acetate. The latter choice is also linked to polishing, which gives the best results in the tortoiseshell models. As for the lenses, I prefer Barberini’s natural glass.

Reunion is one of L.G.R's bestsellers, subsequently declined into Reunion Explorer, Reunion Flap, Reunion Metal and Reunion Bold. What does this model mean for the brand?
It all comes from an old photo depicting my paternal grandfather, an officer, leaving for the Second World War. he wore a pair of round glasses with lenses that seemed almost mirrored, even though those lenses did not exist at the time. After finding a similar model, a guy who worked in my warehouse tried to reproduce them. However, the enigma of the lenses remained. I then turned to Barberini’s where they explained that the lenses were flat ones. Although they had these lenses available, they did not want to use them, so I had to insist and the Reunion became reality, with this original element too.

The success of L.G.R among celebrities from all over the world was immediately a characteristic of the brand. How did it go?
It was a question of word of mouth from the start. I owe a lot to Carine Roitfeld, at the time director of Vogue France, who was the first to interview me. Our meeting took place in her offices and, as she greatly appreciated my glasses, she handed them to several of her influential contacts such as Tom Ford and Mario Testino. It all started there, especially as at the time there were only big eyewear brands and some personalities wanted to stand out instead. I started finding VIP photos on the web sporting L.G.R frames and the phenomenon hasn't stopped since. 

In recent years you have implemented several collabs. How does this type of strategy make a difference?
At the beginning they were intended to make me well known. The first very focused collaboration was with Antonio Marras, at the right time for both of us. From there I learned that collaborating with other brands, even very different ones, produces mutual benefits. The last one with the Spanish designer Maria de la Orden, allowed me to see my products declined in bright colours, for example. The one with Automobili Amos, on the other hand, has opened up a world of car collectors who previously did not know L.G.R now we are working on an unprecedented, snug-fitting sports model in collaboration with an important design studio, which I cannot say any more about, because it will see the light in 2023.

What are you presenting at Silmo 2022?
Preserving the elegant and timeless style, we introduced the new collection of eyeglasses: from the latest addition to the Reunion family, the Reunion Rim, to the hexagonal Essaouira, passing through the feminine Victoria and the modern Durban. In addition, we presented a preview of the next sunglasses: Raffaello Explorer, easy to wear Maji and the new mix between metal and acetate, Askari.


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