The last time I visited the beach, I was overwhelmed by the number of massive warehouse-style stores that sold everything from live hermit crabs and bucket hats to t-shirts with the city's name in seventeen different fonts and colors. Even though these places are in every vacation spot (and often the same sites I try to avoid), Stefan Sagmeister found artistic inspiration in the least likely areas: tourist traps. Plus, the designer recently worked with the Swiss Eyewear brand götti Switzerland on a new eyewear line titled "Frida."
Sagmeister's design found inspiration in the overexposure of the artist, Frida Kahlo, realizing that when a celebrity of her stature becomes popular, their old haunts become a tourist trap for the city they're from, not to mention all of the memorabilia and souvenirs that comes with it. He came to discover this during his last sabbatical in Mexico City, where he encountered vibrant art, architecture, and design, all with Frida Kahlo's presence and influence fluttering close by. The juxtaposition of the popularity of specific artists and the oversaturation of their work—plus all of those touristy vibes—became the driving force behind the line of glasses.
“Her ubiquity way outshines her husband, Diego Rivera. It’s her image on the crap sold in all the souvenir shops. She is to Mexico City what Klimt is to Vienna and Mozart to Salzburg: fantastic artists all rendered meaningless by relentless overexposure,” said Sagmeister.
“So, why add to this exposure by designing a pair of glasses named after her? She is among the few artists whose fame reached such heights that her features—like Salvador Dali’s mustache or Andy Warhol’s wig—morphed into a visual signifier, a logo,” he added.”
Dubbed "Frida," the eyewear features packaging that's as vibrant, animal-filled, and floral as its namesake's art. The glasses sport a brushstroke at the top of the lenses that beautifully mimic the artist's signature unibrow. While impactful, it's also slightly understated and not completely obvious of its muse. The lenses are photochromic and change their light absorption from 12% indoors to 85% when in direct sunlight. With 100% protection against UVA/UVB rays, you'll never want to take these sleek lenses off.
So, what we have here is a limited-edition novelty item that speaks to mass consumption and the artist as a piece of branding. Regardless, you'll have to act fast, as the glasses are only available through June 17, and it's on a first-come, first-served basis as there are only 300 available.