Since 1978, the Alain Mikli brand has been synonymous with distinctiveness and provocation, thanks to its unique design and exclusive color combinations. A union between a piece of art and a consumer product, the eyewear is practical but edgy.
An optician by training, Alain Mikli has often been credited with inventing a new profession: eyewear designer. Since 1978, Mikli has consistently defended the values he believes in—” correction and distinction,” never wavering from his philosophy: eyeglasses are “to see and to be seen.”
In 1996, Mikli began collaborating with Philippe Starck, a recognized designer, and architect, on Starck Eyes, a collection inspired by and dedicated to the human being, creating a new optical concept: vision.
Alain Mikli, born Alain Miklitarian, looks to his Lebanese Armenian heritage as inspiration for his eyewear designs. His eyewear is easily recognizable world-wide and renowned for the use of bold shapes and colors. From the beginning, Alain Mikli has been bending the rules of eyewear design and stretching the imagination of eyeglass wearers across the continents.
Born in 1955 in Sainte-Colombe new Lyon, Alain Mikli moved to Paris just before he turned twelve. At the age of 16, he decided he needed to dedicate himself to trade. His goal was to find a school not more than ten minutes by foot from where he lived. As fate would have it, a school that specialized in optical professions, the Lycee Fresnel, happened to be near his apartment. “Back then, eyeglasses were considered nothing more than an ocular prosthesis, a medical object needed by those who were myopic,” Alain says.
It didn’t take long for Alain Mikli to formulate the idea to design eyeglass frames that would be both aesthetic and comfortable. While still a teenager, Alain Mikli produced his first prototype and announced his aspiration to become an eyewear designer. In 1978, at the age of 23, Alain set up his own business designing and manufacturing eyewear frames under the brand name Mikli, his nickname since childhood. His goal was to introduce eyewear in a new way, to present a new way of thinking about eyeglasses, “in which the medical side was no longer at odds with designer style, and the prosthesis part disappeared behind a true jewel for the face,” he says. Implementing this business plan changed the world of eyeglasses forever. Eyeglasses changed from being viewed as utilitarian medical devices to beautifully inspired accessories, making their grand debut into the world of fashion.
Alain Mikli was the first person to achieve worldwide success as a designer of nothing other than eyewear; establishing the Alain Mikli brand in Paris in 1978. In the early 1980’s, Alain Mikli was the first eyewear designer in the world to open his own boutique – a chic eyeglass store on Rue de Rosiers in Paris. By 1983, celebrities like Elton John helped bring the Alain Mikli eyewear collection world-wide recognition by wearing and touting Mikli products. Many of the outrageous shapes and styles were worn by Elton John were custom-created for him by Alain Mikli; and with the presence of his eyewear on stages around the globe, Alain Mikli’s eyewear brand took the fashion world by storm.
“I don't care for fashion because it changes. I want to create something that stays for a long time.”
Alain Mikli devotes significant time to charitable projects. He strongly believes that “In order to be integrated into society, people must be able to work and to read.
For those who choose to wear Alain Mikli eyewear, the experience is like none other. Alain himself takes part in the creation and design of each and every frame in the collection; from formulating ideas to building prototypes to overseeing the handmade production process. According to Mikli “The language of the eyes is like music; full of feelings.” Eyewear can express your personality or be used as a veil to keep your privacy. “Eyewear can protect or attract. This is what my glasses do.”