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Enter Philippe V – A Stylish Interview with Designer Philippe Vergez

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Eyewear design requires talent and skills. Shapes, colors and textures are meant to highlight a person’s unique features and style.

Philippe Vergez is considered a master of the form. Called “the Manolo Blahnik of eyewear,” Philippe’s designs have adorned numerous celebrity faces and protected many famous and beautiful eyes.

Fortunately for all of us, Philippe has designed a new line of luxury accessories, including stunning eyewear, under his PHILIPPE V banner.

We’re proud to call Philippe our friend. Not only is he super-talented, but he sees the world through different lenses – and we’re all better for it.

Without further ado…

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The NewsWhistle Q&A with Designer Philippe Vergez

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Name: Philippe Vergez (above)

Date of Interview: August 2016

Age (if you want to give it up): Yeah I gave up on counting… 🙂

Birthplace: France

Current town: Hong Kong – Los Angeles or in between….

Occupation: Artistic Director

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What’s the funniest or saddest thing that’s happened to you this week?

I would have loved to laugh more actually, but this week has been fairly uneventful mood-wise. A few things made me smile, others made me mad, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Bummer !

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What’s your favorite movie? And why?

I have two, Meet Joe Black and Legends of the Fall. Funny enough, Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins star in both and their performances are outstanding. Meet Joe Black is without a doubt one of the best movies I have ever seen. A three-hour long emotional piece about death that devours your attention – you do not see time flying – the film is simply beautiful. The photography, the set designs, the music and the actors’ performance of course. The other time Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt were reunited on screen was in the equally sublime Legends of the Fall, and once again they put in their best performances forward.

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What’s the biggest risk you took in life?

Leaving a steady job to start my own venture. I didn’t have much money saved but I had the guts to let my envy and passion do the talking. It was like jumping off a cliff and build a plane during the fall to avoid a hard landing or dare I say a fatal crash.

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Men’s No.3 – “Philippe V’s No.3, the epitome of camouflage, helps you navigate society as cool as a cat while maintaining your very own distinctive signature.”

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If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be?

Spend more time with my Dad. Play more. Laugh more.

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Tell us your favorite joke:

More of a quote than a joke: “The fact that there is a Highway to Hell and only a Stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipating traffic.”

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What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

When I was younger, I was so shy, I could not even enter a shop or a restaurant on my own. Seriously, don’t laugh!

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Mala – “To each its own: this Mala bracelet helps boost self-confidence using a combination of A-grade Yellow Tigers Eyes and Rainbow Obsidian stones.”

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Who’s your favorite celebrity? And why?

More of a writer than a celebrity, Jack Kerouac, a rebel and inspirational human being…. He’s written poems and used words that have always inspired me throughout life. My favorite:

“Here’s to the crazy ones.

The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.

The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.

And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,

disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.

They invent. They imagine.

They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire.

They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?

Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?

Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do…”

On a more current level, Tom Hardy. I’m pretty impressed by the man behind the actor. He’s an all-around cool guy, great actor, protective of his family and private life. He’s got this special thing in his eyes, a mix of sweetness and humility.

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Fleur-de-Lys – “Philippe V’s Fleur de Lys expresses nobility and generosity of the heart and soul, helping steer life, opening hearts and minds to others.”

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What’s your strangest phobia or superstition?

I believe that our thinking and behavior directly influence our lives. Positivity and respect of others lead to a better life, creating success and happiness – it is strangely powerful. Being a kind and positive person highly reduces stress and I’m working on it every day to make it a way of life. As long as people do not mistake kindness for weakness, no one gets hurt.

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Other than yourself, who has created the (a). most beautiful piece of eyewear; (b.) the coolest piece of eyewear; and (c.) the most extravagant piece of eyewear?

Most extravagant must be Hugo Martin from Parasite Eyewear, the coolest for me are still the Ray Ban’s aviators designed by John Macready and his daughter Sally Macready Wallace back in 1920! For the most beautiful, I’m working very hard on it (LOL).

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Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote or discuss?

Dreaming of a better world reminds us of how beautiful our planet once was and still would be if we were to commit to a global effort in preserving it. People have the power to fight big corporations that are consistent threat to nature, our future, our kids’ future, ultimately life altogether. The solution is very simple: we need to stop buying their products and they’ll eventually come to their senses and start taking the necessary steps to change their thinking and commit to sustainable actions.

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Women’s No.1 –  “Meet Philippe V’s WNo.1, the future-proof retro-chic piece carrying an attitude with a style to match. Here in black with Essilor rose gradient oilophobic treated lenses and anti inner reflective coating.”

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Oh, and a bonus curve question or two (answer as many or as a few as you like ). . .

a. Tell us about your new company.

It’s been a dream brought to life with the help of a few kindred spirits… I’ve been working three years on it, preparing and designing the collections along with Thierry Halbroth who’s been able to define the brand, shape and craft words true to the essence of the thoughts deeply buried inside me. As a result, it helped me better express my emotions and the vision I had for my designs and in the quest for the perpetual pursuit for uniqueness.

We create eyewear, jewelry, leather goods, and wearables that help people make their mark and created a meaningful brand that brings people together behind a common belief in strong individualism. Yet, it is done in a subtle, tasteful and high-quality package, positioned at a value-for-money price point.

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b. What would you tell others who want to get into the fashion and style business?

Forget fashion, think style. Ask yourself how your designs will enhance people’s look and make them stylish. Fads come and go, style always survives. Don’t be selfish and just think about yourself or fame, think about the consumers you’d like to have as customers and then, what you want to express. If you stay true to yourself and let your talent talk, fame will come as a reward. Be prepared to pay a high price with tears, sweat ,and blood because many people will discourage you. At the end of the day, trust yourself, listen to your guts, follow your instincts and remember, success never come from staying in the comfort zone.

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Thierry Halbroth, Co-Founder – “Another creative mind, Thierry is the man behind Philippe V’s words and branding, working hand-in-hand with Philippe to build and sustain the brand’s equity.”

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c. Why do you enjoy living in Hong Kong? How is it for business? Are there any tips that you would give first-time visitors?

It’s a multicultural place where you meet exceptional people. And while it’s probably the most expensive city in the world, everything and anything is possible here. If you dream it, it can happen, but for that, you’ve got to be quick and always alert to seize the opportunities.

Hong Kong is often too hot, very humid so you have more chances to catch a cold or a flu from the icy-cold air-conditioning inside buildings or taxis. Beaches around Hong Kong are phenomenal and not many people are aware of the sceneries available but at the moment, we’re suffering from a severe case of ocean pollution, which is affecting water quality and watersports activities in general. It’s looking like the authorities are finally aware of it and doing something about it. I do hope spectacular actions will be taken to remedy the issue and that within a year or less, things will be back to normal.

A tip to make the most of living here: Don’t always default to your western habits. Open your mind and dive into the Hong Kong culture because every little thing you may find shocking or disgusting at first has a deep meaning which once understood can become acceptable and help you appreciate Hong Kong and its people.

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4. What’s the best thing you’ve ever designed? The worst?

The best and worst are most likely the same. On one end, an infamous piece of eyewear, on the other a dysfunctional piece of eyewear….

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Women’s No.3  – “Not all oversized frames are born equal. Philippe V’s WNo.3, designed by ‘the Manolo Blahnik’ of eyewear, made to fit the most daring.”

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5. Which celebrities (both male and female) wear sunglasses the best?

Ray Charles…have you ever been able to picture him without his Wayfarers? Anna Wintour, different brand but for the very same reason.

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6. Please answer the following and elaborate:

Name your favorite…

a. Book

Les Fleurs du Mal – Charles Baudelaire

b. Song

“Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” – Neil Young

c. Designer

John Richmond

d. Meal

“Poisson Coco” – A Tahitian fish dish.

e. Hotel

The Standard – in Los Angeles

f. Cologne

Chrome – by Azzaro

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Men’s No.7 + Don Ring – “With over 25 years of experience in eyewear design and manufacturing processes, Philippe V selects the best material and craftsmen to assemble its eponymous eyewear collections. When it comes to jewellery, noble materials are carefully crafted using a combination of articulated ancient techniques savoir-faire and new technologies expertise.”  

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7. What three items must you have with you at all times? Why?

My iPhone so I can always stay connected with family, friends and work. A Moleskine notebook and a Montblanc Starwalker fineliner to pen down ideas and sketches.

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8. Please answer and elaborate.

a. What’s the best course you’ve ever played? And how close have you come to getting a hole in one?

Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. Closest to hole in one was at the Kau Sai Chau North Course, T3, three years ago right in! Since then I had a 2cm and 10 cm. Close enough but not good enough. Working on it!

b. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen paddle boarding?

A whale shark.

c. What’s your favorite vacation spot? And why?

French Polynesia. The reason summarized in one word: “Fenua.” A simple Maori word that expresses the place, the beauty, the scents, the colors and the life of the islands.

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The iRing – “Adding style to holding a glass of your favorite poison, Philippe V’s Index Ring is a statement piece that will make the most of every conversation.”

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Men’s No.4 – “When the brotherhood comes together, its members come wearing Philippe V’s No.4, the piece that lets you be who you really were meant to be. The full range of accessories help further make a mark that’s uniquely individual.”

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Malas – “Wrapped around your wrist, worn around your neck, Philippe V’s malas are designed and put together to create a daily harmonious environment.”

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All images and caption quotes courtesy of Philippe Vergez, Thierry Halbroth and PHILIPPE V.