Words Alessandra Albarello
With a fabulous archive and an absolute empathy with his creative team, Allan Rasmussen, Cazal's director of product and design, tells us about his 'meeting' with a certain Cari Zalloni...
When did you first hear of Cazal?
My mother was wearing Cazal back in the 80's, some asymmetric and really unique styles. Just like any other teenager, I felt that everything my parents did was wrong, but I quickly realized that I had the same relation to Cazal as I had to David Bowie: I never understood his tracks at first, but the more I listened to them, the more I loved it. I guess this is how it should be with good designs or true art, you might have to stop and wonder before you see the real beauty of it.
You are Danish, with a minimalist heritage, while Cari Zalloni loved opulence... What is the meeting point of your different experiences, cultures and origins?
The Greeks have led the world in mathematics, philosophy, medicine and architecture, and with Zalloni this is also true in eyewear. You have to respect the Greeks. Comparing the last decade of Danish minimalism to thousands of years of Greek culture is almost impossible. Yes, we have similarities in the way we have worked with our creation and uniqueness. If you go back and look at some of the most iconic Cazals, Zalloni's focus on dimensions and volumes made his designs extremely powerful, even though he only used a few very selective details. That is actually the essence of Danish design and architecture: getting a lot out of almost nothing. But to be honest, I do not think the most important thing is the meeting points and similarities.
Instead, I feel that the dynamic arises from the differences and in the fusion thereof. You simply see the light better in the dark, and you hear the music better when there is silence. Cazal I can see and hear, after years of focus on minimalistic eyewear, not only for me, but in the whole eyewear industry, I strongly believe that this is the time to be loud. In a fearful world of Corona and war, we all need to get some party back in our lives. I needed that too and I am enjoying every moment of leading the design work in the creative playground of Cazal.
With this premise as a starting point, what elements, concepts and equilibrium have gone into developing the latest collection you are introducing at Silmo?
We have invested a lot of creative power in adding a strong women's sun range to the legendary men's styles that we are most known for. Actually, women's sun is not a new area for us, but it is an area and a position that as one of the leading brands we insist on claiming back. Bold, sexy and unique: It has been fun to create this. We have a huge archive in our neadquarters in Passau, Germany where we can submerge ourselves in the treasures of Zalloni designs. And in the first designs made by this new team you will see that a lot of the elements of the late 70s and beginning of the 80s have been the starting point for these new styles. Many of the metal decors and some of the iconic shapes have been of great inspiration for us. We want to pay homage to the heritage, not by making it a museum, but by making sure that one of the strongest brands of the past will be even stronger tomorrow.
You have lengthy experience in the optical world. What personal touch do you think you have added to Cazal?
Even though I have been designing eyewear for decades, I would never walk in on the first day and change everything. You have got to go in humble and curious. In fact, it is not about me at all. It is about the team and the energy in the whole organization. It's a group dynamic, and if I do have a fingerprint or a personal touch, it is crystalized through the collaborative way of working and creating. We make each other better, stronger, and more creative day by day. That is what you can see in the product, and not just the work and ego of a single individual.
Your current state of mind?
Personally, I perform best when I am challenged, and building on a heritage like this is a fantastic challenge. I feel enriched and inspired and I wake up happy every day, knowing that today I will work with my two young, creative, energetic and ambitious design colleagues.
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