LVMH created Thélios in 2017 to design, produce and distribute the eyewear for luxury maisons including Dior, Fendi, Celine and many more that had been previously produced under license.
Now, it has announced its first propriety acquisition — French heritage outdoor eyewear brand, Vuarnet, previously owned by NEO Investment Partners.
Vuarnet was founded in 1957 by optician Roger Pouilloux and French ski Olympic gold medallist Jean Vuarnet.
It is one of the very few eyewear brands to produce its own mineral lenses, which, in addition to being a more sustainable alternative to their plastic counterparts, are also much stronger and exceptionally light.
While such performance capabilities represent an ideal combination when it comes to adrenaline sports, the lenses also enable stronger vision corrections.
According to Thélios’, the alliance will grant Vuarnet access to the extensive resources of its northern Italian manifattura or factory in Longarone, including research and development capabilities and technical expertise. Likewise its global reach. All of the above will help Vuarnet to elevate its product quality and push the boundaries of innovation thus driving growth and global expansion.
Vuarnet’s expertise will add to Thélios’ own, advancing its know-how and complementing brand positioning.
“It’s not a matter of having more and more brands,” Thélios CEO Alessandro Zanardo told Forbes. “We think that we have achieved certain capabilities, a certain reach in in terms of design and prototyping but there some brands in the market that have a very high quality in heritage, iconic design, know-how or customer perception which are really unique.”
“There are only a few facilities in the western world doing mineral lenses for sun glasses so we are happy to integrate this in our industrial set up and develop it.”
Of LVMH’s recently announced partnership with the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympic Games, he added that “the Olympics is an opportunity we are looking at.”
In that Vuarnet has also a rich history in the film industry, as immortalized by Alain Delon in The Swimming Pool, Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski and Daniel Craig in James Bond movie Spectre, to name but a few of its protagonist roles, is yet another common denominator.
Thélios has a three year sponsorship deal with The Venice Film Festival which commenced in 2022 — initiated both due to the connections of its own eyewear brands to the film industry and also the fact that its manifattura is located an hour’s drive from the festival’s Venice epicenter.
“Similar to the Venice Film Festival, Thélios was born in the Veneto region and now open to the world,” Zanardo said, noting that “there is know-how in this area which is really unique.”
“Feeling connected to such a prestigious event sends a great signal to our employees.”