Influential Eyewear Designer, Cari Zalloni, Creator of Cazal, Dies at 74

By
 
 Cazal designer, Cari Zalloni.
NEW YORK—Optical retailers and ECPs, design colleagues and eyewear fans around the world are saluting the legacy of designer, Cari Zalloni, the creator of Cazal Eyewear, who passed away in Austria on July 3, after unexpected complications following heart surgery.

 
Cazal’s long-time U.S. distributors, Eastern States Eyewear and Ultra Palm Optical, launched the Cazal Legends collection and special website last year. 
“The world has lost one of the giants in frame design and we have lost a dear friend,” said Brad Besner, co-president of Ultra/Palm Optical, which has been importing the Cazal brand along with Eastern States Eyewear in the U.S. for the past 35 years. “His impact on eyewear fashion is undeniable and this will be his lasting legacy.”

Paul Shyer, president of Eastern States Eyewear, added, “Cari Zalloni was a very special man and we will miss him greatly. Fortunately for Cazal fans throughout the world, Cari’s frame designs will continue. He has been working with a talented design team for many years and they are true disciples of Cari’s philosophy. So, as Cazal blazes forward, every new creation will bear his mark.”

 
Legions of celebs from Black Eyed Peas’ Wil.I.am to Rihanna and Usher have been fans of Cazal.
First created in 1975 by designer Cari Zalloni, Cazal originally was embraced by inner-city youths who quickly deemed the bold, gold-trimmed zyl designs status eyewear. Over the years, the brand has grown and had many admirers through many generations. Just last year, Cazal Legends, in a nod to the storied past of the iconic collection, featured a limited edition series of well-known styles, following the exact design and construction used more than 25 years ago. Known for their lavish, bold, urbane designs, the original Cazals were legendary throughout the fashion world and seen on the faces of such celebrities as Run DMC, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Stevie Wonder and mentioned in Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video. Today, Cazal styles have been sought out and worn by a new generation of celebrities including Jay Z, Usher, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Fergie, Rhianna, Gwen Stefani, Spike Lee and many more.

 
 
 The 951, and other styles, were known for their distinctive shapes, construction and hardware.
In a tribute letter from “friends, colleagues and admirers” at Cazal Germay, the company said: “For 50 years, you set the standards in your true passion: styling, product design and art. You created furniture, styled glasses, designed skis and ski boots, made snowboards popular, put your stamp on products and left us pictures with an unmistakable mark. You gave a new face to eyewear through which we see the world. You were the first to create design objects of desire out of vision aids. You revived and reinterpreted material, function and form like no other, creating an international brand sold to this day under your name in more than 60 countries.”

Born in Athens in 1937 to a Viennese mother and Greek father of Italian descent, Zalloni moved to Vienna in 1947. He attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna and began work as a designer in 1960, at an industrial center in Italy, working in wood, metal, textiles and other materials. Zalloni moved to Germany two years later, working as a freelance designer for the Maximiliansau glassworks and the WMF Group glassworks. In 1962, he joined the frame industry before setting up the designer frame brand Cazal (an amalgam of his name and initials, CAri ZALloni).

– The Editors