In 1960s London, Maltese gangsters walked with a swagger, looked sharp and turned heads. They had a name for the exhilarating feeling of wearing something stylish for the first time - they called it Zanzan.
Zanzan sunglasses are limited editions; handmade in the Jura Valley, France by third generation artisans using a combination of the most advanced production techniques available and traditional methods dating back over sixty years. English design, French craft; they are built to last by people who take pride in their work. They are made from the highest quality hand polished Italian acetate and fitted with Sola lenses by Carl Zeiss Vision Sunlens. They are sold with a beautiful gold-embossed leather and suede-lined case, handmade in England.
The designers behind Zanzan, Gareth Townshend and Megan Trimble, drew their inspiration from the sub-cultural style elites of the 60s and early 70s - the Dolce Vita style of the Italian Beatniks, the cinematic élan of the French New Wave, psychedelic samba collectives in the Rio de Janeiro foothills and the 'beautiful and damned' in Yves Saint Laurent's Paris. A devotion to this spirit of eclecticism and elegance is at the heart of Zanzan.
The 2009 collection introduces four new designs - Rubirosa, Black Rio, Zazou and Le Sept. Each model is available in a choice of colour combinations.
How did Zanzan begin?
A girl, a boy and a dog-eared dream inspired by this quote from The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake, "lying on a starlit terrace, beautiful and damned, and a whole generation assembled as if for eternity where the curtain of the past seemed to lift before an extraordinary future." Then spreadsheets, phone calls and trade shows!
The philosophy behind Zanzan?
It’s more an aesthetic proposal than a philosophy. The name comes from 1960s London; and the word itself is a metaphor for personal transformation through stylistic choices. Zanzan sunglasses let people access other parts of their personality, to dream a new idea of themselves. This and a total commitment to the very best quality throughout the product; handmade French frames, Italian lenses, the leather and suede case - everything.
Your greatest inspirations or influences?
- The 60s, the 70s, France, Tony Duquette, YSL & Pierre Bergé, Italian Giallo films, Claude Chabrol, Norman Parkinson, Tim Walker, Vogue, Jean Genet, Tropicalia, Frédéric Malle, The Black Panthers, Dario Argento, Citroen DS and SM, Facel Vega, hippies, Gianni Agnelli, Porfirio Rubirosa, Stephane Audran, Simone de Beauvoir, Theodore Zeldin, disco, Dominic Ropion, Manolo Blahnik, Serge Lutens, Savile Row, William Dalrymple, Novos Baianos, Sharpies, India, Aldo Gucci, Bernard Arnault, Eric Cantona, Luca Turin, David Mancuso, pornochanchada, Venice, Prince Charles, Mata Hari. People, places, books, films, travel, art, ideas.
- The Sartorialist, Luxe Chronicles, The Business of Fashion, Lovefingers, eBay, Wiki, Flickr
Favorite luxury brands?
- Hermes, outside of trend, value-driven. Frédéric Malle.
Other artists, designers, photographers to look out for?
- Conquistador, Hutton Wilkinson, Jonathon Zawada, Neil Krug,
- Jonathon Jeremiah, Indigo Clarke, Alaric, Emma Summerton.
3 things you cant live without?
Dream dinner guest would be?