It’s not everyday that a fashion house puts up one of its identifying features, like a logo or an emblem, for artistic interpretation. Hence the freshness of Max Mara’s latest enterprise, which saw the Italian label invite the artist Maya Hayuk to reinterpret the iconic stud details that grace its sunglass and optical offering, especially for the Autumn/Winter 2015 season.

Under Hayuk’s creative control, the studs have been reimagined as an energetic prism formation in a hue of rainbow colours that adorns a modular artwork – a geometric diptych that can be assembled in numerous formations and is scheduled to travel to boutiques around the world over the next few months.

‘Max Mara invited me to create a painting inspired by a new prism shape that symbolises strength, femininity and progress,’ says Hayuk, who is based in New York City. ‘The original intention of Max Mara's invitation was to simply make an artwork that could translate well as a graphic for the packaging of their sunglasses, not for sunglass frames themselves.'

Indeed, the colourful pattern, which Hayuk christened ‘Optiprism’ will be featured on three different styles of sunglasses, bringing a bold touch of whimsy to their architectural and cat-eye silhouettes. ‘In the process, I inadvertently created a re-contextualised graphic pattern that very fortuitously translated beautifully to a miniature "stained glass" sunglass frame. Max Mara has now produced a very small edition of these special little objects. Who knows what's next!’

The project did not veer too far from Hayuk’s own productions – eye-catching geometric murals that have appeared anywhere from on a billboard in Chelsea, New York to walls in Brussels, Baltimore, Portland and even the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. (The artistic partnership is not Mara's first, having recently teamed up with the king of canine conceptualism himself, William Wegman.) 

‘It happened quite organically. When I was making the painting itself, I couldn't have foreseen the art applied to sunglasses. I wasn't even thinking about designing sunglass frames! But once I made the repeating pattern and placed them into the sunglass templates, little surprises, like [how the] light refracts onto the viewer's face in unpredictable and beautiful ways, sparked up.’