Since 2014, Jérôme Mage, founder of the luxury eyewear brand Jacques Marie Mage, meticulously designed glasses through the prism of escape.
“When people buy our mounts, they are transported to another era, into a different character,” explains Jerome Mage. Forbes“They can kind of transform their everyday life. “
Born in France, Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based Mage, whose company is based in Los Angeles, has devoted much of his professional life to designing eyewear for brands like Arnette and Spy Optic until that he founded his own brand, specializing in the micro-production of high quality handcrafted frames. His glasses are known for their thick and structured frames with an architectural touch and can be found on website, Net-A-Porter, Harrods, optical stores and more. The difference between mass-produced sunglasses and JMM’s (as they are commonly referred to) is that they are less of an accessory than a design object. Mage himself collects vintage sunglasses.
His brand explores cultural heritage through artisanal methods of a bygone era. Handcrafted in Japan and Italy using machines from the 1940s and 1950s, this anti-fast fashion approach means each collection is only available in limited numbers. Through each collection, Mage tells a story and each launch is supported by powerful imagery. For example, one of the more recent campaigns Pasolini 5 years old (already sold out) celebrates the fifth anniversary of the brand’s best-selling Pasolini glasses.
The design was inspired by writer, poet and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini during his 1966 trip to the New York Film Festival. The grainy black-and-white imagery among New York’s most iconic backdrops, with period flair, is more than an invitation to purchase a pair of Mage sunglasses; it is rather an invitation to enter the world of Jacques Marie Mage.
So it’s no surprise that her very first boutique, located in Los Angeles, was a direct reflection of the work done in her eyewear and an IRL experience of the JMM world. Opened in November at 2324 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, the dynamic space brings clients, old and new, into its creative spirit. More like a gallery than a retail store, Mage hopes the space will tell stories that any retail or online site can’t. Mage was inspired by his obsession with the First French Empire, Japanese art, his love of the American West, and the work of artistic pioneers to shape the space.
He enlisted a close friend Nicolas Hervet, co-founder of the Paris-based furniture design company Hervet Manufacturer, to manufacture custom cabinetry displays by hand in Normandy.
“We both make things as they were made 50 to 100 years ago,” Mage says. “But we are doing it with a new modernity and a more modern and daring approach. His job is the one you used to learn in France. It takes years to be able to work at the level that it is. When you walk into the gallery and into the space that we have created, there is a very romantic and emotional feeling. Nicolas is one of the few who can create modern furniture but with a romantic touch that takes you back to the 19th century.
Note that the other co-founder of Hervet Manufacturier, Cédric Hervet (cousin of Nicolas) is the long-time creative director of Daft Punk; Together they have worked with some of the most prestigious brands and sites in the world.
Mage is also captivated by the American West and has sourced authentic museum-quality pieces, such as Navajo rugs dating from 1890 to 1900. During this period, Navajo weavers switched from making wearable textiles to textiles in the form of rugs. They are made from 100% Native American sheep wool. There are also pieces everywhere like quilled Lakota moccasins and a Lakota (Western Sioux) dress, both from the 1890s.
“The store has all kinds of items, but each item is loaded with a strong story and a human connection,” says Mage. “It’s a space that I hope you can come in and experience something new, but more than that, it’s a place where you can feel the history of mankind.”
He admits it sounds obscene or grandiose as a concept, but the warmth of polishing wood, like Nicolas does, polishing a pair of sunglasses, handcrafting a rug with fibers and dyes natural or making a moccasin from porcupine quills are all important to people living today. The store also carries vintage vinyls, vintage books, bronze sculptures, and a painting by Mage’s friend and Los Angeles-based artist. Connor tingley. For the gallery, he created a custom 17 ‘x 12’ canvas painting depicting memories he created through JMM frames.
“In this work, I explore time, memory, presence and feeling,” says Tingley. “I am interested in understanding my cognitive experience denoting the relationship between color and form, and how color can be a sensitive tissue in the light of our perception.”
To celebrate his love of the natural landscapes and folk arts of the American West, he recently launched the collection, The last frontier. It is a tribute and celebration of Native American art and culture in the American West. Styles are crafted with plant-based acetate, with sterling silver and gold embellishments and real undyed turquoise, as well as filigree details inspired by textiles inspired by the weaving traditions of the American West .
For the “Driftwood” frame, the brand worked with Sante Fe artist Francisco Bailon who created leather and pearl details on the frames. You can find this collection in the store. A portion of the sales of “The Last Frontier” will support the efforts of Saddle sage, an organization dedicated to connecting the youth of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to the long-standing spiritual relationship between humans and horses by establishing an after-school program focused on equine care and sportsmanship.
“We make glasses, but there is a romance and a mysticism that people love to feel, touch and talk about,” Mage says. “We’ve not been open for a long time, but a big takeaway is that you can tell people we want to stay in our space because it’s comfortable and emotionally charged with passion.”