Earlier today I was speaking to a publicist who is in charge of the guest list for a party during the upcoming London Collections: Men (London’s first attempt at a menswear fashion week), and you would not believe some of the blagging which fashion industry ‘professionals’ (to use the term lightly) indulge in when they’re trying to score an invite. It’s toe curling, wince-inducing stuff. You get editorial assistants claiming that their editors said they could have their tickets (when, of course, the editors hadn’t said that); a million variations on the old “my invite must have got lost in the post” story; people who really have no right or reason to attend (other publicists who work at rival PR firms, for example) making thinly-veiled ‘threats’ of ‘consequences’ if they aren’t put on the guest list because of their tenuous connections to the advertisers who work with the company behind the event (talk about clutching at straws); and, of course, the classic “but don’t you know who I am?”
Someone actually used the line “but I’m the SENIOR showroom executive (whatever that means) at XXXX,” where XXXX is what you might call a B to C-list brand. Someone else (a total non-entity, I might add) without an invite actually complained that they were "better qualified" to attend the party than other people who they knew had been invited (!) before telling the publicist that she did not know how to do her job properly. This self-serving, egotistical attitude, which comes to the fore among certain fashion professionals whenever there is promise of anything ‘exclusive,’ is shameful. Unfortunately this industry is full of braindeads who care about nothing except blagging free things and living ‘the lifestyle’ on someone else’s buck. Then there's the whole political aspect too: "I won't come if X is also invited" "Why did X publication get 10 invites and we only got 7" etc. I avoid 90% of fashion events because I can't bear the whole circus that surrounds them. The sucking-up, the rubber-necking, the fake smiles… it poisons what I love about fashion, so I stay away from it all.
Last night, though, I made an exception to my no-events policy and attended the press launch of PQ Eyewear, the latest project from the legendary architect and product designer Ron Arad. The chance to meet Mr Arad himself, and have a look inside his North London studio, was too much to resist. And the pleasant surprise was that the glasses (opticals and sunglasses) were genuinely amazing too.
As a long-time glasses wearer, I fully agreed with the project’s conceit that there is not enough innovation or newness in the eyewear industry, something which is particularly evident when you consider that about 80% of the ‘high end’ glasses out there are yawn-worthy, logo-adorned frames made under license by a handful of big companies.
Arad aims to change all this with two new concepts: the ‘A’ frame which has an adjustable bridge for superior comfort and fit (it’s amazing nobody has thought of this before), and the incredible goggle-like sunglasses in the CORBS range, which have articulated sides rather than hinges. One pair was made from a single piece of high-tech material which had been created in a 3-D printer. And the cases, transparent lozenges with a silicone rubber brush which holds the frame in place, are something else.
Seriously innovative and stylish stuff, as you would expect from Ron Arad, whose work I greatly admire. He came out with some cracking one-liners too: “my glasses are like my chairs, you can sit on them and they will not break” and “glasses without adjustable bridges make about as much sense as a belt with only one hole.” There are about four models I want, the only downside being the retail prices which hover around the £500 per pair mark. Still, they are in themselves beautiful design objects, and the quality seemed to be outstanding.
I'm not sure if these slightly flat pictures really do the glasses justice. I might see if I can borrow some pairs from the PR and shoot them myself, so stay tuned.
Related post: Ron Arad at the Barbican Centre.