Nathalie Blanc: ‘Designing glasses is more like designing furniture than designing fashion’
Freshly anointed with a prize at the SILMO Paris Optical Fair for her Chupa design, we caught up with Nathalie Blanc, the optician-turned-designer known for her French-made couture frames, popular with celebrities and the public alike.
How did you begin designing glasses?
When I was a teenager, I couldn’t find any glasses that I liked. Glasses back then looked more like bulky prosthetics than anything else so the idea of designing my own has always excited me.
When I was an optician I had boutiques which I designed for. Then I started designing for others (such as Michel Klein, Swildens) before having enough confidence to create my own collections.
How would you describe your brand’s DNA, Nathalie Blanc Paris, which you launched in 2015?
What I do well is designer glasses that are still simple, with perfect lines. It’s much harder to design simple things than something extravagant. I don’t want my glasses to be trendy, that way they won’t go out of fashion. I also have a love for French chic, the Parisienne look, and I like acetate (especially from Japan) and metal.
You design Couture glasses: what does that mean?
It’s an expertise. Just like at Chanel, Couture is about working with many different craftspeople. We do that, benefitting from each of their expertise. Our colors are done with a syringe by one person and each step takes time. It’s a gauge of quality.
You design for men, women and teenagers. What’s the difference in design?
The most difficult is designing for men, which is why I began doing that last. There aren’t many men who want to wear outlandish designs so you have to know how to design lines that perfectly frame the face without doing too much. The technical constraints are even stronger because the glasses need to be easy to wear while still trendy.
Collection Monsieur Blanc par Nathalie Blanc
What are your biggest inspirations? I read that you like antique markets as well as films by Renoir, Capra, Lubitsch.
I like architecture and design, objects with refined curves like Knoll furniture. For my colors, I rely a lot on Pantone and their colors of the year. I think designing glasses is more like designing furniture than designing fashion.
You designed glasses for Jeanne Damas’s brand Rouje. What is your relationship with influencers and social media?
I have two daughters aged 16 and 13 and so I am quite present on social media. I am also surrounded by a lot of connected young people. During the lockdown, we published a manifesto on French savoir-faire that was very well received. We also promoted opticians and factories. A brand today gets to be known by word of mouth, by other people who wear them, but above all through social media.
You make your glasses in France, do you have any schemes to be more ecological?
Yes, more and more. We make frames from seaweed and we use 3D printing to waste less materials. After some adjustments, 3D printing is finally where it needs to be. It doesn’t break anymore.
Écrit par Violaine Schutz