Tuesday 30th April

| BY Michella Oré

Gentle Monster is the Korean Eyewear Brand Collaborating With The Best of Fashion – Fendi Included

What if sunglasses didn’t just block out the things we desperately want to protect our eyes from this summer – a blazing sun, your boss while off on holiday – and allowed us to catch a glimpse of the future. A future where smooth minimalism and lavishness balance each other out in the midst of a surrealist wonderland. Intrigued?

This May, Gentle Monster will launch their first capsule collection in collaboration with Italian luxury house Fendi. The Seoul-based sunglasses brand partnered with artist collective AES+F to create a campaign that has no shortage of floating sculptures and colour gradients. Models sport the collection while softly playing with distorted orbs that appear to have a mind of their own. With two unisex styles, a narrow cat-eye model made of slick acetate and an oversized metal round aviator, Gentle Fendi combines innovative design with craftsmanship that dates back nearly a century.

Founded in 2011 by Hankook Kim, Gentle Monster is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of traditional eyewear design, making glasses that are a visual feast themselves. But unlike their futuristic storylines, the retail experience of Gentle Monster has always been quite a physical one. Their flagship stores are more experiential galleries than just your regular shopping locations, with each new launch getting a dedicated installation. Last July, they opened a London location, part of which will be enriched with a Gentle Fendi dedicated space from May 14th.

However, this isn’t the first time Gentle Monsters have offered their own expertise to a fashion house in order to create something special for the eyes. Through numerous projects, they have established themselves as experts in the art of collaborating. “Our in-house team of designers work tirelessly to create newness and to experiment; often pushing the boundaries of aesthetics and innovative production. Working with like-minded brands, designers, artists etc. allows that process to expand into new realms; resulting in an idea and product that we may not have been able to develop on our own without working closely with a partner,” says Gary Bott, Gentle Monster’s Managing Director. Who are the people they wish to work with in the future? “We admire brands that inspire us in the same way we hope inspires them. There must ultimately be a business reason for these type of partnerships, but in the first instance there has to be a mutual appreciation and desire to want to work together. The best collaborations are the ones that first appear unexpected but then make sense and appeal to the end user,” Bott tells us.

While we wait the Fendi collab to drop and anticipate the future projects to be announced, it seems the right time to look back and appreciate some of our favourite Gentle Monster collabs.

AMBUSH

When someone tells you to “Zip it,” you can just whip out a pair of these Ambush x Gentle Monster shades. Inspired by the archival design element taken from zip-tie jewellery, Yoon Ahn has joined arms with Ambush to craft the pieces which were shown as part of her AW19 collection. See-through acetate construction enriched with the quirky metal detail, the sunglasses won’t be dropping until late Spring and – just like anything with an Ambush signature – are bound to sell out fast.

ALEXANDER WANG

If you’re a boss and you want the world to know, you can add Alexander Wang’s CEO glasses to your cart stat. The American designer creates clothing that imbues a certain confidence, which could explain why the seldom camera-shy Kardashian lot love his brand. It’s fitting that the Gentle Monster x Alexander Wang rectangular frames are chunky, black, and feature “CEO” spelled out in all caps on the arms. It’s bold, just like the design duo behind it.

XANDER ZHOU

Last summer, Gentle Monster partnered with Chinese fashion designer Xander Zhou to produce a modern take on the aviator. With grey lenses that each featured a thin, translucent strip across the middle, the exclusive pair of shades was sold at the Selfridges pop up shop in London. The collaboration, which came shortly after Gentle Monster worked with Zhou on his runway show for London Fashion Week, also produced a limited edition raincoat decked out in reflective blocks.

PLACES + FACES

Places + Faces partnered up with Gentle Monster in 2018 to revamp the signature Tavi shade, which had previously been seen on artists like Octavian and DMV rapper Goldlink. The joint range of thick cat-eye frames came in black, green, and red, with the Places + Faces logo appearing on both the arms and inner branding. Its accompanying case featured a clear photo pocket for any one of the numerous Polaroids they were bound to pop up in.

Gentle Fendi will be available for purchase online and at both Gentle Monster and Fendi stores from May 7th.

gentlemonster.com