Evan Dale // May 14, 2020
For a brand whose name pulls time itself in two directions, RetroSuperFuture’s 2020 line of sunnies is defined best without time in the picture at all. The Italian sunglass brand is timeless and has been defying years since its founding in 2007 by creative fountainhead, Daniel Beckerman. Ever since, Super has become only more eternal, spurred by the same thing that makes life itself unending even at time’s best effort to destroy it: evolution. Where once stood a playful, but near-classic collection of enduring frames, stands 13 years later arguably the strongest purveyor for the global obsession with charismatic eyewear. RetroSuperFuture has changed the game by always allowing change within themselves.
A simple scroll through almost anyone’s Instagram feed will yield intermittent photos of celebs and artists rocking eyewear once reserved only for them. A scroll at first past A$AP Rocky and then to profiles of friends and family yields the kind of near-equal vibrant self-expressionism rare before the RetroSuperFuture present. And so much of that is thanks to the collective creating zany, outspoken pieces, not cheap, but not unaffordable either.
And now, with fashion at a macro scale evolving parallel with RetroSuperFuture, exploring more the outer boundaries of self-expression, experimentalism, and risk-taking, a question comes to mind: did this evolution of style come cyclically, or was it spurred by designers like RetroSuperFuture pushing their limits?
It’s got to be both. When RetroSuperFuture was getting things going in 2007, personal style was a very different game than it is now. Through the late 2000’s and early 2010’s a move towards the more classic, minimalist, basics-staples edge of fashion was taking place. There was room for explosions of statement pieces here and there, but a lot of monotone color schemes and classic cuts were being worn by the artists and musicians whose stylistic decisions act as motor for the consumerist world to follow.
In 2020, those same artists and musicians are taking more risks, making statement pieces part of their staple collections and merging them with other, wilder pieces of self-expression. Following that same timeline, the evolution of RetroSuperFuture from a brand edging away from the classic wayfarers and aviators to a brand making frames as wild and experimental as the Ottanta speaks for itself.
Beyond the Ottanta – a brash mellow yellow one-piece lens with a wire-thin yet sturdy gold frame taken from their Fall-Winter, 2019 line – Super’s SS20 collection boasts of the same boldness yet class, absurdity in harmony with quality and function. If anything, the Ottanta evolved into the Teorema – one of only two wire-frame options available for the months that see more sunglass use and thus ask for sturdier frames (the Medea). Predominantly in all seasons, Super works with acetate, handcrafting bold silhouettes with from their plastic of choice all from their office and workshop in Italy. The material provides flexibility, strength, and shape molding from the sleek and contemporary like the Giusto to the classic, feminine, Hollywood starlet look of the Lira and the Amata.
In their words, the line is ‘led by conceptual functionality, utilitarianism, and a modern aesthetic…’
But there is no reason to deny their name and the source of an Audrey Hepburn influence that dashes across Super’s SS20 retro entirety.
More now than ever, the sum of the collection, from what were once considered effeminate framing in shape, orientation, and ultimate style, is par for the course for the hip-hop artists of the world. St Louis hip-hop star, Smino in particular, in accompaniment of artists like The Weeknd’s latest plea for musical relevancy through new signature frames, have been leading names in promoting the popularity of bigger, rounder, shapelier silhouettes that made themselves signature to the actresses of mid-century progressivism. Today, RetroSuperFuture is designing a series of frames that again, pulls time and culture in two directions: paying homage to some of the most notorious sunglass-sporting heroines of the past while paying service to some of the most genre-bending musicians of the present who also want to bend unnecessary, preconceived values elsewhere in culture.
At the hand of RetroSuperFuture, the timelessness of the starlet frame is thriving now even arguably more than ever. At the hand of RetroSuperFuture, self-expressionism has never been as boundless and accessible as it is today.
Always living up to their name and their standard, the small but mighty frame Italian collective that could is evolving yet again, both next to and the partial cause of culture’s greater overall evolution. The RetroSuperFuture SS20 line is not only the most dynamic, fluid, and experimental line in accessible sunwear this season, it’s also the most wide-ranging and brimming with options. Every selection is fit with more personalizable takes on a given silhouette. From translucent Crystal acetate bringing a standout progression on the classicism of clear, plastic frames, to the opaque pastels native to the Lira and the Amata, there is something in the line for anyone and everyone willing to give something new a try for the sake of paying respect to what has been done best before.