The Gallic Attract of Jacques Marie Mage Sun shades

When Jerome Mage was beginning his sun shades line, in 2015, nobody wished to put money into it. Its identify, Jacques Marie Mage, was a mouthful, they mentioned, and the eyewear market was already saturated. Additionally, Mr. Mage’s designs — thick, substantial, with an architectural heft — went towards the prevailing minimalist look of the day. Oh, they usually had been very costly.

However Mr. Mage has a observe report that allowed him to disregard these critiques and soldier on. In any case, the Frenchman has spent the higher a part of 20 years in Southern California; it’s there he constructed a profession designing eyewear for labels like Spy Optic and Arnette. Actually, for him, glasses are much less occupation and extra obsession: He owns greater than 1,000 classic pairs.

“I keep in mind when my brother got here house carrying a pair of Vuarnets,” he mentioned one morning in his studio within the quaint courtyard of the Granada Buildings, a Spanish Colonial Revival advanced within the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. “He was 15, I used to be 10, and I used to be like, ‘Wow, what are these?’”

As a design object, sun shades sit on the very intersection of Mr. Mage’s best passions. “I studied sculpture and product design in Paris, so I wished that kind of physicality,” he mentioned. He wished to create one thing that, like clothes, served as a automobile of self-expression.

“What I like about eyewear is it’s an unimaginable, sensual object, when you consider it,” mentioned Mr. Mage, 47. “You slip it over your nostril, it’s the very first thing that individuals see. It defines your face.”

Immediately most sun shades come from just some conglomerates, making Jacques Marie Mage a uncommon factor: an impartial label centered on hand-craftsmanship. It focuses on traditional silhouettes — aviators, cat-eyes, wayfarers, wraparounds — and injects them with a way of cinematic attract, a nod to its Los Angeles roots.

The frames are available chunky, sturdy cellulose acetate or aerodynamic, streamlined titanium; the lenses vary from translucent tinted blues or yellows to impenetrable, aloof black. Many are punctuated with an attractive flourish of sterling silver {hardware} and barely noticeable particulars — a smoothed edge right here, an embossed groove there.

As such, they conjure psychological pictures of favor icons of yore, significantly of the Outdated Hollywood and French New Wave ilk: McQueen, Delon. Many are named accordingly, just like the Yves, the Jagger and the Seberg.

The corporate works with producers in Italy and Japan, which use machines that date again to simply after World Struggle II. These machines require loads of changes, and if that yields frames which are much less exactly reduce than mass-produced ones, that fits Mr. Mage simply advantageous. “The imperfections reveal a human contact and provides our body this heat and sensual end,” he mentioned.

Releases are small, not more than 500, and promote shortly. Costs vary from $575 to $895, with particular releases costing upward of $2,000.

“They’ve a whiff of the previous, however there’s a sleekness that speaks to the world we’re dwelling in at the moment,” mentioned the stylist George Cortina, who has put the glasses on the faces of Keanu Reeves and Brad Pitt within the pages of GQ.

In February, Mr. Cortina and JMM, because the label is colloquially referred to, launched a capsule assortment of two frames, produced in portions within the low tons of. They bought so properly that in June, there was one other launch. This month, JMM is doing a group with the actor Jeff Goldblum, who, lately has turn into one thing of a clotheshorse.

Mr. Goldblum mentioned that his stylist, Andrew Vottero, had launched him to JMM glasses. “They’re simply actually beautiful objects,” he mentioned. “They’re distinctive however not costumey — they really feel actual and genuine.” Alluding to the collaboration, he added, “Andrew and I had a notion that should you had been to cut back me down to 1 merchandise of clothes or accent, it will be a pair of glasses.”

Mr. Mage himself cuts a putting determine in his trim blazers, skinny ties, tight denim, rocker boots and arms festooned with silver and turquoise rings. His hair is styled in a powerful mixture of mohawk and pompadour. He has a Gallic urge for food for existential introspection, and he’s a collector at coronary heart: Along with these classic frames, he stockpiles Saint Laurent fits from the Nineteen Seventies (someplace between 50 and 60), rocker boots, BMX bikes and extra.

Regardless of his French origins, Mr. Mage feels a deep connection to the American mythos. In September, he moved, half time, to Jackson Gap, Wyo. He had lengthy been drawn to the fantastic thing about the area, a lot in order that he created a pair of sun shades with Yellowstone Eternally, a nonprofit that helps Yellowstone Nationwide Park, and works with the Dwelling With Wolves group. The pandemic gave him an excuse to put down extra everlasting roots.

It’s a far cry from life in Los Angeles; sightings of a grizzly bear mama along with her cubs is front-page information. “She’s our Kim Kardashian,” he mentioned, laughing. Whereas most of his employees, which totals round 30, stay in Los Angeles, he hopes to have round 20 p.c in Wyoming in some unspecified time in the future.

Sun shades, one may argue, are a key part for a sure sort of mythmaking. Mr. Mage has a hunch as to why. “Eyewear allows you to turn into a unique particular person,” he mentioned. “Change your sun shades and you modify your persona.”


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