In Conversation with Francesco Carrozzini
Francesco Carrozzini oozes charisma—even over the phone, his soft-spoken and humble nature transmits clearly and instantaneously. The Italian-born award winning filmmaker and photographer has a new accolade to add to his rapidly growing list. Carrozzini has teamed up with eyewear brand, Children of Ra, which operates like a “record label for eyewear” to design a limited edition pair of sunglasses. Carrozzini is no novice. This is not his first foray into the fashion industry as he has shot his fair share of editorials and campaigns for top fashion publications and brands, but this is his first time getting his feet wet in the design sphere. Carrozzini notes that because his film work is so abstract, working on something tactile was a welcomed change. This endeavor in some ways is like kismet: Carrozzini has entered the family business.
In other ways, Carrozzini feels this experience has brought his life full circle. His sunglasses are now for sale at an institution that is his second home. Carrozzini grew up frequenting 10 Corso Como Milan, visiting his aunt, Carla Sozzani, with his mother, Franca Sozzani. Like his aunt, Carrozzini has a love for vintage and classic styles, which informed his design inspirations. He looked to Old Hollywood to create his limited edition frames, a series of 330 pieces that are available in two shades of black, a matte and shiny silk black, a warm lucid honey, and burgundy shades. Each frame is handmade in Japan, individually numbered, and has Carrozzini’s name etched into one side. The luxury shades are truly a collector’s item.
Carrozzini’s collaborator, Elizabeth Hirsch, founder of Children of Ra, explains that her company “stemmed out of a passion for creative interesting people who are influencing culture.” Fittingly, the brand’s name is derived from Ra, the Ancient Egyptian Sun God, who was believed to rule all parts of the creative world. Hirsch adds, “Francesco’s the real deal.”
Read our interview with Francesco Carrozzini below to learn more about his creative process:
How has your creative upbringing informed your career path? Do you think your upbringing in the fashion and art worlds informed this project?
It was more the desire to do something that had an actual physicality to it. I wanted a product. I wanted to make something. It’s very abstract what I do, and [I wanted] the tactile feeling of making something physical because I’m not an artist, I’m a horrible sculptor, and I’m a horrible writer. I am good with images and emotions. It gave me the idea, ‘why can’t I do something that I can touch?’ That was something maybe coming from my background.
How did you meet your partner, Elizabeth Hirsch, founder of Children of Ra? Tell us about the collaboration.
I met Elizabeth through a friend. [The company operates like ] a music label (for eyewear). It gives a chance for people who have never designed anything to design. I thought what a cool idea. Everyone will expect a picture or film from me, but no one will expect me to design. I don’t want to call myself a designer because I worked with people on this, like Richard Walker. They are really the designers, and I’m more like a creative director. It’s a very, very exciting project that triggers [questions such as:] what a brand is, and how do you brand, and what’s the story behind the brand. So that is what I’m really getting into right now. It’s me, there’s nothing artificial to it. It’s my story being a photographer, filmmaker, traveler, food fanatic, music enthusiast, and bon vivant.
Is it at all intimidating to now be going down the road of fashion and design?
Super. Again it’s intimidating to start into movies, and it’s intimidating to start into photography. It’s intimidating to start into anything that there’s so much of, but in the end who cares. You have to believe in yourself and think I have ideas, I have feelings, and i’m going to express them like any other artist.
What influences/images did you look to when designing? Talk us through your creative process.
I looked to people like Sean Connery, Mickey Rourke, and some Steve McQueen. They always wore glasses that had a femininity to it just because they were such men. There was no misinterpretation there, there was no problem playing with sexuality, and I liked that very much.
Are the glasses unisex?
I created a frame that has that feminine vibe and because of that, it fits women, so that was a kind of funny accident. This was not thought of as a unisex brand at all.
What was your first experience of 10 Corso Como?
Half of it was still a garage and an auto repair. I remember my aunt had just started the left side when you come in and I remember it very well. I had my 10th birthday dinner there. It’s really a place of my childhood.
How does it feel to now have your line carried here?
It’s strange how things kind of come back. If anything I would have thought of having a picture in the gallery, but not a frame in the shop, but that’s what’s really cool, I think. It’s unexpected. It adds to the story.
Are there any design collaborations in the works for the future?
We might do another color in this style, and we are working on model two and three. I’m taking it one day at a time. I do love design. I love clothes, mostly men’s clothes. I love interior design. I love any form of design, so who knows. I am really busy with making my second movie, my first feature film, and I really want to focus on that because I feel a lot of what I am and what I’ve done will end up in this piece. So, for now it’s a day at a time.
Francesco Carrozzini’s limited edition sunglasses are now available at 10 Corso Como New York until supplies last.
Text by Rachel Glicksberg