TÊTE À TÊTE WITH PERSOL BRAND DIRECTOR
Persol meets ultimate French clothing brand A.P.C.
When two legends in their respective field join forces, expectations are high. And so, we were really looking forward to this PERSOL x A.P.C. collab, which delivers an exclusive reinterpretation of the 649 in three brand new colours. Originally designed in 1957 for tram-drivers, the 649 became legendary when Marcello Mastroianni wore it in the epic movie Divorce, Italian Style in 1961. Almost 60 years later, Persol teamed up with the French Fashion brand to distill a modern, new look to this epic frame. We spoke with Brand Director Niels van Geet to find out more.
Hi, Niels! Please tell us who you are, what you do exactly and since when you have been on board with Persol.
My name is Niels van Geet, Dutch from origin yet living in Italy since 2004. I am the Luxury House Brand director for the luxury propriety brands, of which Persol. I am working with Persol since one year and a half.
For this first collaboration you’ve decided to work with A.P.C. Why did you decide to go for this French brand? What do Persol and A.P.C have in common?
If you deep dive in the not so recent past, you will see that Persol has done some earlier collaborations. We have always been inspired by what happens around us. Whether this is through people, cultural events or brands. As a brand we have a strong heritage that is built upon values that are becoming increasingly relevant to consumers. Having an truly authentic brand, that is still handmade in Italy after 100 years, for which the blend of quality and aesthetics is at the heart of everything we do, we feel the time is right to cross contaminate these beliefs with a brand that at first might look quite different from ours, yet that actually has many things in common. A.P.C. is known for its minimalist designs with clean lines and simple patterns, with a strong character and French style. A perfect match for our brand with its rich Italian design heritage.
The collaboration includes a new interpretation of an already existing style, the Persol 649. Which changes have been made for the Persol x A.P.C piece?
A.P.C. loved to work with an iconic model that is truly timeless and true to the DNA of Persol and reinterpret this specific model.With A.P.C., we worked on three new acetate colors: transparent green with gradient brown lens, transparent brown with gradient green lens and matte white with grey gradient lens. The sunglasses come in canvas and brown leather cases.
Why did you decide to relaunch this particular style?
Ever since the launch of the 649 in 1957 we have constantly worked to keep the style relevant with its time, becoming a timeless piece. The collaboration with A.P.C. is the perfect way of keeping the style relevant. They add that little edge without shouting too much, which is exactly what we look for.
The visual language of the campaign has a very unique look and the decision to work with the Persol 649 wasn’t left to chance either. What mood did you want to express, which message was key for you?
The 649 truly is a transversal model that has literally seen it all over the last 60 years. It was originally designed for tram-drivers in Torino, Italy, but became legendary when Marcello Mastroianni wore them in the movie Divorce, Italian Style in 1961. This visual language is yet another chapter to its story. The unique interpretation of Sam Rock shines a whole new light on Persol and A.P.C. and we especially love the editorial approach. Having Jean in the campaign as first ambassador shows the true commitment of both brands!
The Persol 649 is a unisex style and an absolute Persol classic. How would you describe the target group you want to reach with the collaboration and the new color ways?
Through the collaboration with A.P.C. we believe we can reach a target that might not yet be that familiar with Persol. They get in touch with the brand and discover what Persol stands for as well as the wide mix of unique models that truly represent the history of Italian eyewear excellence. The new color ways are yet another way to demonstrate that this 100 year-old brand is not planning to get old.
What’s coming up in the future? Do we have to wait another 50 years for the next Persol collaboration?
We promise you won’t have to wait another 50 years. There are many things on our plate for the near future, yet first we want to celebrate this unique collaboration with A.P.C. It has been a great experience so far and we are confident it will open great new chapters for Persol.
Thank you so much for your Time, Niels! xx
Brand Profile at Spectr.