Full spectrum: Max Mara collaborates with artist Maya Hayuk

Artist Maya Hayuk is working on a painting in the studio. The painting is made out of different bright colors.
The New York-based artist Maya Hayuk has reinterpreted the iconic stud details that grace Max Mara’s sunglass and optical offering, especially for the Autumn/Winter 2015 season
(Image credit: TBC)

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.’ 

Black, "cat eye" sunglasses sit on a box designed by Maya Hayuk. The design on the box is made out of colorful geometrical shapes.

The design not only adorns the glasses, but the packaging for the collaboration as well

(Image credit: TBC)

"Cat eye" shaped sunglasses, made out of geometrical shapes in a hue of rainbow colors.

The ’Optiprism’ print is an energetic prism formation in a hue of rainbow colours, inspired by femininity, strength and progress

(Image credit: TBC)

Art piece by artist Maya Hayuk. The piece is made out of rectangles and circles overlapping, in many bright colors.

Hayuk created an energetic, modular artwork that can be configured in different ways

(Image credit: TBC)

Art piece by artist Maya Hayuk. The piece is made out of bold, bright, contrasting colors, that are splattered on the canvas.

’I was thinking about how a large-scaled painting can function in a variety of ways. The original image had to hold up and be spectacular visually on any scale,’ Hayuk says. ’By keeping the shapes loose and bold, but with vividly contrasting colors, a strong, "graphic design" version of the painting emerged for the sunglass case design’

(Image credit: TBC)


The ’Optiprism’ print will be available in Max Mara’s Gem I and Gem II sunglasses, as well as the MM 1246 optical frame, around $320 each, in January 2016


Max Mara


Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.