CAZAL - 978
In 2020, with the vast and complex history of pop culture at their fingertips, the influencers of today look to decades past for inspiration, creating new styles that reimagine history’s seminal fashion moments in novel and dynamic ways. As they layer up 90s rave wear with pops of 70s glam, these style-savvy individuals bring offbeat and distinctive trends to the fore. One standout look, favoured by girls of the moment Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, is the small and sporty sunglass. A vintage rarity, the Cazal 978 is a mint-condition frame and a next-level example of that irreverent sports sunglass look – it’s relevance and up to the minute feel is a timely indication of fashion’s propensity to go full-circle.
In the first, heady, days of the twenty-first century, popular culture was defined by the perfect confluence of music, fashion and celebrity that oozes from the slickly edited video for Beyoncé’s 2006 single, ‘Upgrade U’. Appearing alongside her husband, the rapper Jay-Z, global superstar Beyoncé works streetwear and couture with equal aplomb in a four-minute ode to glamour. Her choice of sunglass – the oversized, all-gold Cazal 907 – is not just a well-placed accessory, but a reference to Cazal’s iconic position in the all-conquering story of Hip Hop. By the turn of the century, when Lady Gaga chose Cazal as the finishing touch to her architectural, pop-art outfits, she did so with the understanding that the frames themselves were now meaningful cultural artefacts.
When vintage wear became a key determiner of upcoming trends, fashion houses re-examined their own historic collections in search of concepts as thrift stores, with growing online clout, evolved into distinctive brands. In this environment, passionate Cazal collectors all over the world began to hunt for vintage originals, driven by their love for the brand’s infamous designs and powerful structures. Having continued to create new and innovative collections throughout his lifetime, Cari Zalloni’s death in 2012 saw his visionary concepts and heritage style passed down to his design team. Recognising the significance of vintage in contemporary fashion, Zalloni’s successors created new takes on the brand’s classic styles and released the Legends collection, a select re-issuing of their most iconic historical pieces.
Originating from a late 90s collection, the Cazal 978 is a heritage gem with twenty-first century attitude. The sleek oval frame is the on-trend shape favoured by today’s influencers, combined with a triple brow bar for an eclectic, old-school vibe. A shimmering disco feel is enhanced by the unusual variation on Cazal’s signature colourway, with vertical gold stripes on black enamel creating a vivid, 3-D texture. That texture flows across the frame front to the temples, where an embossed Cazal logo is offset by black enamel tips. Including the original grey sun lenses, the 978 is beautifully preserved and fully adaptable for RX requirements.
Forty years have passed since Cari Zalloni’s artistic and precision engineered designs first collided with the game-changing counterculture emerging from South Bronx, New York. While Hip Hop transformed the look and sound of pop culture across the world, Cazal’s influential role in its style genesis has become a crucial touchpoint in the history of fashion.