Brando Eyewear has announced it has acquired joint ownership with Westlicht Gallery in Vienna of the entire archive of Udo Proksch, one of the most creative and notorious designers in the history of eyewear. The archive will remain housed in Vienna, pending a major museum exhibition in late 2016.
Coming from humble beginnings and making his way through art and industrial design, Proksch began designing eyewear for the famed Wilhelm Anger. As Anger’s first designer at Optyl, he was the creative force behind Viennaline since 1957, which was the world’s top selling eyewear collection, selling more than 14 million pieces in a single year.
In 1961 he designed the first Carrera ski goggles for brand ambassador Niki Lauda, launching the brand into world attention.
Most notably he was the designer and alter ego behind the “Serge Kirchhofer” collection, well known for its classicism, eroticism and surrealist designs; in his own words “a cross between Dior and Dali”.
He remained the designer for these brands until late 80’s.
His success as eyewear designer was overshadowed by his involvement in the tragic deaths of 6 people in 1977, for which he was arrested and sentenced to life prison in 1991.
Udo Proksch is considered one of the most creative and prolific eyewear designers in history. Many books and films have been released about his life, and the Westlicht archive has provided much of the material, most notably for the film Out Of Control.
Brando Chief Dreamer, Michael Jardine, recently explained the acquisition and Brando’s plans for it.
“I have long been a serious collector of vintage 20th century eyewear and no collection is complete without a good representation from Serge Kirchhofer. We were fortunate to be able to acquire the Serge Kirchhofer trademarks and we have been quietly working towards the relaunch of the Serge Kirchhofer brand. In our research on the life of the designer Udo Proksch, our Creative Director Luisa Cooper, managed to connect with the Westlicht Gallery who are famous for vintage photography but who were the owners of the Proksch archive as well, which is also rich in photos from a number of famous Austrian photographers.
The body of work discovered is notable not only for his art, but his design process revealing over 6000 drawings and 1000’s of eyewear samples as well as original marketing materials. Udo was a compulsive drawer and every sketch, every finished design, every prototype, note, display, photograph is completely intact. We have made more than 5,000 photos of separate items and are still not finished.
Brando now has everything it needs to bring Serge Kirchhofer back to life in a way that was beyond our wildest dreams. Our target is to officially launch our first Serge Kirchhofer collection next SILMO, contiguous with the launch of a major exhibition at a prestigious Viennese museum, celebrating the creative genius of UDO.”