“It was immediately clear to everybody that this was something special,” says Luisa Delgado, the chief executive of Italian eyewear licensing giant Safilo, recalling the time she watched the first pair of Dior’s ‘So Real’ sunglasses come off the production line at Safilo’s specialist plant for metal frames in Longarone, a small town in North East Italy. “All the technicians and the workers gathered around to see it, discussing it. Of course, you could see there was no bridge, a very interesting construction, but the most special thing was that it was wearable.”
Safilo and Christian Dior have produced eyewear together for over 20 years, but the popularity of Dior’s sunglasses brand took a leap forward with the release of the ‘So Real’ range for the Spring/Summer 2014 season. Priced from $400 to $700, the range had eye-catching, millimeters-thick lenses. The uniqueness of the lenses, plus the visual signature of the finely wrought, aviator-shaped frames, notably absent a nose bridge, instantly appealed to the sensibilities of the Instagram generation. Indeed, very few brands’ sunglasses are recognisable by shape alone. Dior’s are.