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Wednesday, November 4th 2009

An Eye for Exquisiteness: Q&A with Retrosun Founder Nicole Miller


Radiant retro-chic. It’s the iconic style of jetsetters like Diane von Furstenberg, Bianca Jagger, and Isabella Rossellini—then, now, forever. No piece defines this look better than a signature pair of sunglasses. But are the intricate hardware details, luxe designs, and storied brands of the past just a distant fashion memory? Not if Retrosun founder Nicole Miller has anything to say about it. I recently chatted with Nicole to find out more about her covetable collection of rare vintage sunglasses.

Suzanne: Your story about finding a warehouse of pristine vintage designer sunglasses and then launching Retrosun is like my fashion fantasy come true! How did you come across these amazing shades?
Nicole: Before setting up Retrosun in 2006, I had been working as a fashion consultant doing product development and strategy for a variety of high-end fashion and jewelry brands. I was out on a buying trip with a client, and on our travels I came across a few pairs of Christian Dior sunglasses from the 1970s. I was astounded by their beauty and how well they were made. Since then, Retrosun has been sourcing unworn stock from all over the world.

S: Are all your sunglasses new vintage, and where do they come from? How do you guarantee authenticity?

N: Yes all of our sunglasses are new vintage. You can see from the markings inside the glasses, the stamps, etc. where they were produced and that they are authentic. For example, most of the Christian Dior glasses were produced in Austria and West Germany. However, since the ’90s Christian Dior has been produced in Italy.

S: How have the lenses been modernized?

N: All the glasses we find go through stringent quality control checks. Should we find that the lenses do not live up to our standards, the glasses are refitted with Optical class 1, vision 400 lenses, 100% UVA and UVB. These are top lenses in the market and exceed the legal requirements.

S: You carry ’70s to early ’90s styles, everything from Paloma Picasso to Gucci. Do you have a favorite designer and/or era, and what do you find special about the designs of that era?

N: I love the Dior designs from the late ’70s and early ’80s; the colors and the hardware detailing are super special. Also the Porsche Design by Carrera plastic and metal aviators are ultra-cool with their interchangeable faces—they are so of-the-moment. Porsche has even started reproducing the old models due to fashion demands!

S: Could you talk about why it’s important to build a sunglass wardrobe? In my opinion, one pair is hardly enough.

N: Sunglasses are an amazing fashion accessory, which can completely change or complete an outfit, especially Retrosun sunglasses, as each pair is so unique it really is the ultimate fashion accessory you won't find on everyone else. In today’s environment where everyone stocks every brand, it is nice to be able to buy something which is limited in stock, unique, and reasonably priced.


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