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Vuarnet – The Legend Lives On
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Vuarnet – The Legend Lives On

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Vuarnet 1

An early Vuarnet poster

The Vuarnet story began back in the 1950s, when legendary alpine skiier Jean Vuarnet was ruling the slopes of the French Alps, winning every competition going and setting the standard for speed in competitive skiing. Meanwhile, a Parisian optician and fellow alpine enthusiast by the name of Roger Poilloux was developing a cutting edge new lens type, which he dubbed the Skilynx lens. Launched in 1957, the brightness of Skilynx lens allowed the wearer to better discern the undulations of the snow, and improved visibility in adverse weather conditions, both crucial assets for advanced alpine skier.

In 1960, Jean Vuarnet tasted Olympic glory with his triumph at the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics, a feat he achieved wearing a pair of 002 Skilynx lenses given to him by Pouilloux. Realizing they were on to something, the two decided to work together to further build on Pouilloux’s achievements.

As the Vuarnet brand began in earnest, the focus was primarily on functional improvements, on improving lens resolution and frame durability to offer the most comfortable and reliable eyewear for the harsh alpine environment. Vuarnet at this stage was very much a sports brand first, a fashion brand second. However, Pouilloux’s sleek and elegant designs, coupled with their regular exposure to the public by Vuarnet at major skiing competitions, meant that they soon had fans outside of the winter sports community.

Vuarnet Mineral

The mineral composition of Vuernet lenses makes for higher resolution and better protection than with plastic lenses.

 

In 1969 the Vuarnet 006 model was worn by Alain Delon in Jacques Deray’s classic French drama “La Piscine”, marking the brands expansion into fashion. During the 70s, Vuarnet sunglasses were just as likely seen on fashionistas gliding down the streets of continental cities as they were on alpine athletes, and by the 80s, even Hollywood had sat up and taken notice, with A list musicians including Mick Jagger and Miles Davies seen rocking casual yet effortlessly cool Vuarnet frames.

antoine-auriol_vuarnet-vl1010-tris

French kitesurfing pro Antoine Auriol models Vuarnet frames

 

The brand’s Zenith came at the 1984 Summer Olympics. As the official sponsor for the games, Vuarnet shades could be seen on athletes and fans alike, and even the commentary referred to sunny days as ‘Vuarnet Days’. Now how’s that for publicity! In the years since, Vuarnet has never managed to surpass that level of ubiquity, and has arguably suffered a period of decline. However, they have continued to be active in the Vuarnet 3extreme sports community, partnering with the prestigious Americas Cup sailing race, and creating products designed for surfing and even free-running.

More recently though, Vuarnet has been making a major comeback. Whilst continuing to be at the vanguard of outdoor sports eyewear, Vuarnet are now setting their sights on the city, bringing their unique mineral lens technology to bear on a new collection of lifestyle oriented frames, so now urbanites can also enjoy the benefits of Vuarnet lenses. Some of the most popular products from this new generation of Vuarnet shades are the VL1312 and VL1409 models. Whether you are shredding it on the slopes at Val d’Isere, enjoying some après ski partying or navigating your way through the concrete jungle, the trend-setting lens technology and quality design of Vuarnet sunglasses will ensure a top performance.

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