The Story Behind Max Mara’s Limited-Edition Lavaprisms Eyewear

The volcano-inspired sunglasses combine the Italian fashion house’s passion for art and street style.

Max Mara's Lavaprisms. (Photo: courtesy Max Mara)

For designers, the ultimate provocation comes in elevating an everyday accessory into a conceptual work of art. Max Mara proves more than up for the challenge in its third limited-edition collection of eyewear, released this month at boutiques worldwide and manufactured under license by Safilo Group.

A longtime supporter of female artists—the Italian fashion house has collaborated with muralist Maya Hyuk and illustrator Shantell Martin for past ranges—the brand tapped New York–based painter Kerstin Brätsch and Ei and Tomoo Arakawa of United Brothers to present Lavaprisms, an exclusive run of 1,000 sunglasses that pay homage to volcanic landscapes—including the lava fields of Hawaii, Italy’s Campi Flegrei, and the geological formations on the remote island of Stromboli, located north of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea—with a rimless design that incorporates natural stone–coated temples, prismatic mirrored lenses, and a ribbonlike red streak on the arm to denote lava.

The Lavaprisms set against volcanic sand. (Photo: Claudia Zalla)

The collaboration is a long time coming for the artists, who met back in 2008, and were attracted to the unique parallels between each other’s work. Brätsch’s interest lies in translating invisible phenomena, like heat and energy, into painting, while the Arakawa brothers explore the transformative power of light, inspired by the nuclear disaster that took place in their hometown of Fukushima, Japan. Their combined strengths rest in the ability to distill complex ideas into simpler forms—and functional art fans everywhere are taking note.

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