Vuarnet joins Thélios, LVMH Group’s eyewear subsidiary

Thélios, the French eyewear manufacturer and subsidiary of the LVMH group, has acquired Vuarnet from the investment fund NEO Investment Partners.

Thélios, the LVMH group’s manufacturer of optical and sunglass frames, is embarking on external growth. On Tuesday, it announced the acquisition of the Vuarnet eyewear brand.


Thélios’ acquisition of Vuarnet, the legendary brand of high-end mountain and snow eyewear, marks the company’s first acquisition since its creation in 2017. The amount paid to the current owner, investment fund NEO Investment Partners, was not disclosed.


A summit meeting and synergies in sight


As announced in the official press release, this transaction marks an important step in the development of Thélios, strengthening its presence across the entire eyewear value chain. Thanks to its unique positioning at the crossroads of outdoor and fashion, Vuarnet will perfectly complement the portfolio of LVMH brands under license.


Alessandro Zanardo, CEO of Thélios, welcomed the acquisition, making Vuarnet “the first brand owner” of this subsidiary of the LVMH group.


Behind the House’s remarkable history, Alessandro Zanardo praised its “iconic design, unrivalled expertise […] and recognized values of innovation, performance and elegance” which “perfectly match our philosophy and positioning.”


Joining Thélios will guarantee Vuarnet access to its resources, particularly in terms of research and development and technical expertise. In addition, the eyewear brand will be able to benefit from the international presence of the LVMH subsidiary, promoting the brand’s growth and global expansion.


An iconic brand for extreme situations


An iconic brand specializing in high-end eyewear for high altitudes, Vuarnet has a rich heritage spanning more than six decades and is a pioneer in the production of mineral lenses.


The adventure began in the French Alps in 1957 with Roger Pouilloux, an avant-garde optician determined to create lenses “capable of enhancing visual acuity and accentuating relief on snow”. This was to be the Skilynx™ ski-specific lens.


It wasn’t long before the brand enjoyed unrivalled popularity thanks to French skier Jean Vuarnet, who equipped with the famous bi-graded lenses, model 02, won the gold medal in the downhill at the Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, California, near Lake Tahoe. It was a seminal victory that marked the union of optician and sportsman through a licensing agreement.


This marked the beginning of a golden age for the brand, which was chosen as official partner of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. By the 1990s, the brand was generating sales of nearly $100 million and selling 1.5 million pairs a year.


Since then, Vuarnet has accompanied countless outdoor enthusiasts, including celebrities immortalized on the silver screen, such as Alain Delon in La Piscine (1969), Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski (1998) and Daniel Craig in James Bond – Spectre (2015).


But the brand has also succeeded in establishing itself in the eyewear sector thanks to its expertise in combining innovation, performance and timeless style.


Behind its timeless success lies a rare process: the in-house manufacture of mineral lenses.


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Front cover photo: © Vuarnet

Picture of Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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