By Jillian Urcelay

JU: How would you describe your eyewear collection and what inspires you to create these luxury pieces?
NB: I have a remarkable and pure style. I always work my collection in an effortless chic easy-to-wear style and always with a bold retro touch.

My new collection is a tribute to my memories and my icons. I find inspiration from ’60s and ’70s style. For example, style Germaine is a nostalgic look back at our mothers and grandmothers, and their glasses and their reversed temples. I was inspired by the design of this period, and some frames such as Ambre and Eleonore are massive, octagonal and translucent. With this new collection, I played with spaces, shapes and materials.

I also try to go further on innovation and technicity. I love working on new challenges with the factories—for example, the curved temples were only made of injected acetate, and we mastered doing it with acetate plate.

You were an optician and opened two optical stores before you began designing. How do you believe that factored into your success in creating your own eyewear line?
Before creating Maison Nathalie Blanc, some brands such as Michel Klein, Rouje by Jeanne Damas and Swildens asked me to design their first eyewear collections, so my brand was not a first try.

I made my first steps as a designer, and I asserted my individuality and personality, and it was totally making sense. I’m a creative and intuitive person, which is why I decided to create my brand and collection. I had to follow my dream, trust my mind and believe in my capacities facing this big challenge.

Having a hybrid profile is my added value, being an optician and a designer is my strength and my signature that makes the difference. I always try to find the perfect balance when I design a frame combining aesthetics and eyecare.

Within the Nathalie Blanc line are three collections catering to specific markets—Nathalie Blanc Paris, Monsieur Blanc and Blanc. Can you differentiate each collection for our readers?
Nathalie Blanc Paris is our emblematic collection and my first baby—a pure, audacious and delicate collection for every face’s curves.

Monsieur Blanc is a male collection I created to perfectly fit the contours of men’s faces. This avant-garde collection uses the same concepts that have made Nathalie Blanc Paris a success—good materials, a refined, elegant design for timeless models in a variety of subtle colors.

Blanc is the collection for teens. A retro eyewear brand designed for their smaller faces and daily lives. With Blanc, I revisit the classic shapes of Nathalie Blanc Paris with purity, freedom and colors.

Your eyewear is designed and handcrafted in France, specifically in Jura. Why was it important for you to keep production in France?
I’m a French lover, a French epicurean and a French designer. This is my duty to highlight and protect the French know-how. We are really lucky in France to have a specific and ancestral know-how still based on humans. I create luxury eyewear to be sure that when my clients buy my glasses, they buy the best quality, the best know-how with the best materials. It’s important for me to keep my production in France and also to educate clients to a better consumption.

Are there any exciting collaborations or new releases in the works that fans of your brand can be on the lookout for?
The end of 2022 will be full of surprises. I love doing collaborations since it represents new creative and innovative challenges. It’s not easy to link two universes, two worlds, two fields.

We began 2022 with a collaboration with a French influencer Veronika Loubry. She is like a muse for me, she wears my glasses, she loves them and she’s a real ambassador for Nathalie Blanc Paris. She perfectly embodies the Nathalie Blanc Paris client. We decided to work on a pair of sunglasses together, the Veronika, our Josephine frame remastered.

In September, I will launch a new creation with Veronika’s daughter Thylane Blondeau. Thylane is a beautiful young and strong lady, she’s the Blanc woman. We worked together on a pop and non-gender collection.

Since I’m an art collector and lover, I find inspirations everywhere in art. That’s why a few months ago, I met someone very special—Nicolas Ouchenir. He is a calligrapher who works with some beautiful luxury brands. We decided during a dinner in Gers, my favorite French region, to create a pair of sunglasses together. Our creation will be launched in September. This is a very special creation which represents a masterpiece for both of us. Every frame will be customized and engraved by Nicolas’ hands.

By the end of the year, I will continue the story with Lorenz Baumer, the visionary jeweler of the French Place Vendome. We will create a new chapter together and launch a new frame, this creation would be a new optical jewel, the perfect gift for Christmas or Valentine’s Day.■

Ultimate Vision will display the Nathalie Blanc Paris collection at Vision Expo West 2022 in Suite 35-212.