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Bulgari, Thélios Ink Eyewear Partnership

The deal, coming into effect in 2024, replaces the former eyewear license the Roman jeweler had with EssilorLuxottica.

The Bulgari store in Rome, Italy. COURTESY OF BULGARI

MILAN Bulgari is the latest luxury brand to hand over design, manufacturing and distribution of its eyewear collections to Thélios, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned eyewear manufacturer.

The deal will come into effect in January 2024, replacing Bulgari’s former licensee EssilorLuxottica, which first linked with the Roman jewelry house in 1996.

“Bulgari and Thélios share the same penchant for constantly pursuing excellence, both taking the exceptional Italian craftsmanship into the world. We’re sure that this partnership will boost and enhance Bulgari’s eyewear segment, in perfect sync with our iconic jewelry collections,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, the jeweler’s chief executive officer.

The first collection of Bulgari eyewear to bow under the deal will be for spring 2024.

Alessandro Zanardo, CEO of Thélios — a role he has held since February 2022 joining from the Luxottica Group and replacing Giovanni Zoppas — described Bulgari as “the emblem of Italian luxury” and shared ambitions to “capture the essence of the Bulgari brand’s DNA, zeroing in on innovation in the eyewear sector.”

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, took full control of Thélios in 2021 after agreeing to purchase Marcolin’s 49 percent stake in the business for an undisclosed sum. Separately, Marcolin bought back the 10 percent stake LVMH owned in that Italian company.

The step allowed LVMH to strengthen its presence in the eyewear industry, leveraging on Thélios’ expertise. Thélios produces collections for Dior, Fendi, Celine, Loewe, Stella McCartney, Kenzo, Fred, Berluti and Rimowa. Givenchy was the latest LVMH brand to join the Thélios portfolio, in January last year.

Thélios began operating in 2018 as a joint venture between LVMH, which at the time had a 51 percent stake, with Marcolin owning the remainder.

The year 2021 saw the arrival of Dior in January, and Fendi in July, bowing for fall 2021.

The general consensus is that Thélios will gradually produce eyewear collections for most, if not all, the brands under the LVMH umbrella. Thélios also partly produces for Louis Vuitton, whose eyewear is sold only through its own boutiques.


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