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“At Etnia Barcelona we craft our story through our work with the legends of the world of art and photography”

Nobuyoshi Araki (Tokyo, 1940) renowned Japanese photographer whose work has often proved controversial.
The main body of his work hinges around his place of birth, Tokyo, the relationship between life and death and female eroticism. Indeed it is the latter, his erotic imagination, that has caused him to be surrounded by an aura of controversy and fascination. His most famous pictures are those of subversive subjects, such as Kibanku, the Japanese art of erotic bondage, featuring naked women tied up with rope.
From the very beginning of his career back in the 1960s, Araki has proven one of the most prolific of contemporary photographers and has published numerous books of his work. Araki is a real star in Japan where he is known as “Tensai Araki” (Araki the genius). His work is also appreciated in the west and everyone is familiar with the admiration singers such as Bjork or Lady Gaga feel for him.
“Satchin” (1964), a series of photos with which the young Tokyoite portrayed post-war Japan, won him his first public acknowledgement in the form of the prestigious Taiyo Award. In 1971 he published his first photobook, “Sentimental Journey”, documenting his honeymoon with his wife Aoki Yoko. Years later he completed the work with the publication of “Winter journey” (1991), in which he tackled the demise of his wife after her battle against terminal cancer.


We gave Araki a totally free hand and allowed him to express his work to the full for our collection of glasses.

Araki worked with us on the campaign for our Paris-Tokio sunglasses collection, featuring over 138 different colour references.

Araki arrived at our photoshoot with one of his favourite fetish objects: a plastic dragon

Araki’s muse was the model for the photoshoot. This was the required condition if Araki was to take on the project.

Our Chief Creative Officer went to Japan to work with him. At the end of the photoshoot, Araki invited him to a classical Japanese Karaoke joint.

Yves Klein (Nice, 1928 - Paris 1962) was a French artist of international renown, a person of the greatest importance in the world of conceptual and performance art.
During his brief career as an artist, foreshortened by his untimely demise at the age of 34, Klein defined the path of western art with his passion for colour. His love of colour was so profound that, after experimenting with an ultramarine blue pigment, he patented his own colour in 1960: his famous International Klein Blue. He used it for one of his most significant pieces “Blue Monochrome” (1957).
The artist started to use his colour on all sorts of object, including his “living brushes””. Klein rejected the use of brushes to enable him to distance himself from his art. Instead, he decided to use naked models, coated with blue pigment, who would mark the canvas with the imprint of their own bodies. Using this technique, in 1960 he presented his most renowned piece of performance art in Paris: “Anthropometry”.
In June 1962 Yves Klein died of a heart attack. His son was born in August of the same year and inherited his father’s name: Yves. The artist’s life closed a perfect art circle: legend has it that, bearing witness to his passion for colour, the autopsy found his organs to be stained blue from inhaling the pigment he himself had patented


The frames mix flecks of gold with the famous Klein blue. Gold was another of the artist’s favourite hues

We used the blue pigment patented by Yves Klein to create the unique colour for the acetate of our International Klein Blue collection

The presentation took place in Paris, at the archive of the heirs of Yves Klein

Many celebrities have worn our Klein eyewear and his unique blue finds itself back in vogue this season.

“La Marseillaise”, Yves Klein

Steve McCurry (Philadelphia, 1950) one of the most universally applauded of contemporary photographers.
Distinguished for his evocative colour photography, the American photojournalist leapt to international fame in 1985 for his picture “Afghan Girl”, featured on the cover of National Geographic and still, today, one of the most recognizable pictures in the world.
But his career as a photojournalist had taken wing years before, back in 1978, during the War in Afghanistan. McCurry disguised himself in native garb to cross the Pakistani border into the part of Afghanistan that was in the hands of the rebels, prior to the Soviet invasion. He left the country with his rolls of film sewn into his clothes. His images were the first to portray the conflict. They won him the Robert Capa Gold Medal for the best published photographic reporting from abroad. This was to be just one of the many accolades that McCurry was to receive throughout the course of his career.
His camera has continued to cover international conflict and has focussed on how war affects the lives of ordinary people, portraying not only the mark the battle leaves on the land, but also the effects wrought by it on the human face. His work has been published in journals all over the world and he makes regular contributions to National Geographic.


We suggested to Steve McCurry that he worked with us on our Wild Love in Africa Collection. After speaking to his manager, the artist called us personally and told us how interested he was in our project.

Steve’s favourite camera is his Hasselblad, which is what he used for the whole African photoshoot.

Our Wild Love in Africa Collection stands out for its animal prints, the bright colours used to decorate the frames and for its natural acetates

The star of the picture is Johannes, who works as a painter in a small South African town. On first meeting him, we were instantly hooked by his hypnotic eyes, and asked him to be our model.

We spent 10 days with Steve McCurry in the African Savannah, which is where our photoshoot took place.

This is the CD the team listened to in Africa.

Jean-Michel Basquiat (New York, 1960-1988) was an American painter who revolutionised the New York art scene of the 1980s. A forerunner of the contemporary graffiti artist, he brought street art into the gallery.
Emerging from the NY Punk scene as an urban artist, in contact with the underground culture of the great metropolis, his first artistic excursions were into street art. At the beginning of the 1970s, he started using Graffiti as his chosen form of expression. Together with a friend, and under the name of SAMO (Same Old Shit), their work was painted on station and building walls around Manhattan. With their anti-system slogans, they were soon to draw the attention of the media.
In the 1980s, Basquiat swapped the street for the gallery. At a mere 20 years of age, the youthful Basquiat held his first art show in a Soho gallery. From then on, the transgressive nature and expressive force of his work gained him international acclaim. His work focussed on subjects such as racism, politics and social hypocrisy. It was at this time that he worked with the pop artist Andy Warhol and soon became one of the most famous, and most commercially exploited of American Neo-Expressionists.
Professional fame coincided with the personal decline of the artist. His drug problem eventually led to his death, from an overdose, in 1988 at the tender age of 27.
Jean-Michelle Basquiat’s life was short but his work endures and continues to bear great influence on the international art scene.

Jean-Michel BasquiatBio

Jean-Michel Basquiat Portrait

We felt compelled by the rebellious mould-breaking attitude of the artist and by how he marked a before and after in the art world. That is why we felt bound to pay homage to Jean Michelle Basquiat.

The sunglasses in our Basquiat collection bear a gold inlay of his iconic “Crown”, in honour of the crown recurrently featured in the work of the artist

We worked with the rap artist and producer Oddisee and the urban artist Elle on the launch, seeking to convey the transgressive character and street art of Jean-Michelle Basquiat.

The collection was presented in Brooklyn, the city in which the artist was born and the launch drew celebrities such as Solange Knowles, amongst others.

Three of Basquiat’s pieces were used for the patterns of our “Fallen Angel”, “In This Case” and “Glenn” glasses