For 30 years, Jean-François Rey has been dressing the faces of men and women with his elegant and highly original eyewear. Director of BLI-DBP, a company he founded in 1995, he is first and foremost a designer. Always following his instincts and passions for design, he has imposed his style and brand on the international glasses scene. Moving away from the beaten track, daring to take risks, breaking down the codes to boost innovation, rejecting trends and fashion… These elements have always motivated his work. These values are the very DNA of the JF Rey brand. And have broadly contributed to his global success.
Jean-François Rey: a success story
Originally from Jura, the birthplace of French eyewear manufacture, Jean-François Rey conquered his passion for eyewear design. An international law student destined for a career in the diplomatic service, he had fun designing frames for his father’s company. In the purest tradition of French eyewear manufacture, which he has always defended (he owns a factory in the Jura, Ellaps), he learned the skills and decided to turn his passion into his profession.
Always one step ahead, he proposed a new creative approach to glasses. His very particular way of working with shapes, fabrics and colors opened up new possibilities in eyewear design. He was one of the first designers to dramatically change the eyewear world with a drastically different, new and off-the-wall style: the “JF Rey style”. It is partly thanks to him that prescription glasses became a fashion accessory in their own right. The designer imposed new codes and quickly got himself noticed.
He signed his first collections in Marseille as part of the company IDC, working with two associates. He earned a reputation in Paris where the company had its own showroom on rue du Jour, collaborating with major ready-to-wear labels of the time like Agnès B., Bensimon, Marithé François- Girbaud and also Issey Miyake, who influenced his work and his attraction to Japanese culture. The JF Rey style was established and was an immediate success with innovative, creative and modern collections.
Jean-François met his wife, Joëlle, in Marseille. Today she is the Creative Director. The colorful signature and stylistic daring of the collections are her domain. Together, they founded BLI-DBP which we know today in Marseille, where the designer and the teams set themselves new challenges and produce exceptional pieces. Technical innovation works alongside artisan expertise. The models’ originality comes from the innovative use of noble materials such as titanium, ceramic, wood or more recently leather, in the Au Masculin line.
The rigorous manufacture, meticulous detailing, high-tech resources, impeccable aesthetics, improbable colors and pioneering styling have received many professional awards in France and around the world, where the brand today has a presence in over 50 countries.
Jean-François Rey is today relaunching his most emblematic models and taking a look at three decades which have made him a benchmark reference in high-end eyewear design. Thirty years later, the models are still current and timeless, testimony to the designer’s avant-garde spirit. The DNA and vintage codes of the line are are preserved and updated with today’s comfort and technology. A very successful ploy, to the point where it is not always easy to spot the difference between the adapted versions and the original models.
The 1985 line pays tribute to a period which rocked our world and that of the designer: economic prosperity, creative freedom, liberated youth, frivolity, daring, crazy chic, etc. Not forgetting the legendary figures who revolutionized artistic creativity like Serge Gainsbourg, Madonna, Prince, David Bowie, Jean-Paul Goude, Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld, Edwige Belmore, David Lynch, Roman Polanski and so many more.
“In the 1980s, artists were honored and had a great deal of freedom to create without limits, without constraints. They took risks, they were daring. Anything was possible. Every eccentricity was allowed. Young people were free, with a certain lightness to their lives. Nightlife and the legendary Parisian clubs like the Palace and the Bains Douches where I used to hang out electrified the creative world. I was lucky to live during New Wave and the night-clubbing era,” explains the designer not without a touch of nostalgia.
The collection revolves around 25 models: 8 prescription glasses and 17 sunglasses. The models are very original, with cult shapes and an off-the-wall style. The proud and daring design in the current collections highlights the unrestrained spirit of the 1980s. The range fully embraces the vintage style, right down to the choice of evocative names such as Magneto, Super 8, Viper and Kino. Highly sophisticated materials come in honey, amber, black and tortoise shell colors. Modern technology has enabled improvements to the models and adapted them to the present day: removal of the “little flaws” inherent to older technologies and improving comfort in terms of lightness and wear. The frames are beautifully made with an impeccable finish and clever chic details such as the 1985 signature and the metallic rivets on the temples. The line comes in exclusive high-end packaging. Everything to appeal to those nostalgic for the 1980s.