Matusda eyewear is still made by hand in Japan’s famed optical workshops, whose craftsmanship is second to none. Every element is manufactured to the highest standards and put together by experienced artisans who train for years for this highly skilled and prestigious work. The company is uncompromising about the materials used for its products – only titanium, sterling silver, 18-karat gold, 22.5-karat gold plate and celluloid acetate are acceptable, and its acetate frames are layered with seven coats of lacquer, resulting in an ultra-strong yet flexible finish. Matsuda sunglass lenses are made from polarised mineral glass for maximum protection and visual clarity.
The story of Matsuda eyewear began 50 years ago, in one of the most exciting decades in Japanese history. Post World War II, Japan embraced western culture during the years of its Economic Miracle and began to experiment with fashion, design and technology. The Japanese were already renowned for the quality of their craftsmanship and eye for detail and their move into these fast-moving and creative worlds was eagerly anticipated. At the forefront of this intriguing new movement was the Tokyo Designer Six, a group of fashion designers who launched Tokyo’s first official fashion week and which included Kenzo Takada, founder of the Kenzo fashion empire, and his friend and contemporary Mitsuhiro Matsuda.
Matsuda, the son of a kimono maker, studied fashion at Japan’s acclaimed Bunka College of Fashion (alumni include Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe), and was a pioneer of modern, avant-garde Japanese design – a baton also taken up by Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons. His architectural approach produced softly structured, beautifully detailed pieces that were fresh and exciting, and in the 1960s he launched his ready-to-wear label, Nicole. An immediate success, he soon expanded the brand with new lines including Madame Nicole, Monsieur Nicole and Nicole Club – another innovative move that set the template for many design houses to come.
For a designer so fascinated by both structure and detail, sunglasses might seem an obvious next step but, again, Matsuda was one of the first fashion designers to introduce an eyewear line. As with his clothing, Matsuda glasses were daring and avant-garde and quickly garnered cult status. With a nod to Imperial Japan – particularly the 1920s, when western styles and art deco motifs began to seep into high society fashions – Matsuda eyewear combined the traditional with the modern in conspicuous and unapologetic configurations that might, for example, pair a classic round frame with a cutting-edge side shield, or contemporary rims with a highly ornate, art-deco-inspired bridge. Such was the success of Matsuda eyewear that it brought global renown to the brand – causing a particular buzz when Linda Hamilton wore Matsuda sunglasses in Terminator 2 (along with a black vest, impressively toned arms and a machine gun – a now iconic and instantly recognisable image).
Now revitalised under its new ownership, Matsuda continues to innovate with striking new frames and clever ideas, such as sunglass clips that fit over its optical lenses to protect your eyes from the glare without compromising your vision. A forward-thinking brand that stays true to its roots of trailblazing design and expert craftsmanship – this is one revival that was certainly worth the wait.
Regular Price: $646.41
Special Price: $133.60