By Paddy Kamen
Is anyone feeling as much love as Thierry Lasry? The list of celebrities wearing his sunglasses is long indeed, and includes Christina Hendricks, Elle MacPherson, Fergie, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Alicia Keys and Anne Hathaway. This is just a taste, and surely new names are added daily because Thierry Lasry is the designer to watch.
But who exactly is Thierry Lasry and what accounts for the spectacular popularity of his designs?
Well, for one thing, he hails from a family known for both design and optical acumen. Born in Paris to a designer mother and an optician father, Lasry was raised in a home bustling with creative and business energies. “My mother designed many different kinds of accessories, including handbags and sunglasses, and my father has an optical store just outside of Paris where he carries the best brands in the market. I knew from an early age that fashion and design were important ways for me to express myself.”
Lasry is a self-taught designer who has been working with his father’s brand, Harry Lary’s (HL), since 2000. I have always wondered about the origins of the name ‘Harry Lary’s’ and Lasry filled me in: “My father launched this brand in reference to his first name, Harry, and he flipped the ‘S’ in Lasry from the middle to the end. Thus ‘Lasry’ became ‘Lary’s’.”
Harry Lary’s is where Thierry began designing frames in 2002, and in 2006, he launched Thierry Lasry-branded (TL) sunglasses. “I run the Harry Lary’s brand the same way I run TL except that HL is for the optical market only, so it doesn’t have the same exposure. TL is sunglasses only, so the two brands are very complementary for our accounts,” explains Lasry.
Inspiration comes to Lasry from the 1980s. “I was born in 1977, so I’m a kid of the ‘80s. Everything from that decade inspires me: the music, the fashion and especially the graphic art of that era. I draw on marble, mosaic and confetti patterns which were prominent then.”
Building with Lego was a passion of Lasry’s as a child and he sees this influence showing up in his designs as well. “Lego is so creative and I’ve been fascinated with it all my life. I even kept some photos of things I built with Lego as a kid and display them in my office. I use the Lego reference in the way different pieces of the frame are assembled.”
Thierry Lasry sunglasses are aimed at the kind of woman Lasry is attracted to: “Powerful, bitchy, sexy and elegant,” as he puts it. What can we say, except we hope he’s careful! When asked about his personal life, Lasry (with his movie-star good looks) only says that he’s single, and not wanting to be tied down at the moment. Certainly, women are responding to his sunwear designs in droves. He must be in demand on several levels.
“We are growing very fast, with sales increasing four-fold in the last few years,” says Lasry, who is very much in charge of his brand and intimate with every aspect of the company. “I’m pretty hands on,” he says, “even though I have amazing people working for me, whom I greatly appreciate.”
When asked how he plans on staying ahead of the curve, considering the fickle affections of his target market, Lasry responds: “We are not where we are thanks to fashionistas and celebrities. Celebrities give you exposure in term of communication and create strong brand awareness with the public. What makes the difference is the product. As long as we’re creative and keep this level of quality, I expect our customer base to keep growing worldwide.”
Clearly, success is Lasry’s full-time partner. “I’m ambitious and I work hard,” he allows. “Seeing the main celebrities on the planet wearing TL sunglasses and having the collection sold at the most prestigious stores is indeed very rewarding.” Thierry Lasry and Harry Lary’s are distributed in Canada by Kore Brands.