LULA PACE Presents: Dreams and Nightmares

by Larry Armstrong-Kizzee

Debuting this past April, LULA PACE is the Hollywood-grit inspired eyewear line dedicated to what founder Dani Drasin describes as “the strong creative female.” The brand most recently showed their first collection during Paris Market at  Galerie Joseph by way of Jo Knight of Knight Collective, featuring their premier product styles: the DOT, the LUX, and the SOPHIA. This first collection featured several color schemes of Italian Mazzucchelli acetate, sharp metal frames, and pop-colored lenses. We were lucky enough to get Drasin to answer a few questions regarding her industry beginnings, inspirations, and what might be next for the female-focused eyewear brand.

What is LULA PACE?

LULA PACE is a female-focused premium eyewear brand based in my hometown of L.A.—the land of dreams and nightmares. I have always known the darker side of L.A.—not just the beaches and sunshine. Early on I was captivated by now cult directors, like David Lynch, Harmony Korine, and Sofia Coppola—all of whom have portrayed scenes of latent desire by turning Hollywood’s lens on itself. I have woven these sinister visions of LA glamour into the underpinnings of LULA PACE.

Where does the name come from? Who is LULA PACE?

LULA PACE is the female leading character in David Lynch’s Wild At Heart. I have always been very drawn to that film! LULA is the epitome of a strong female who follows her heart – I guess she is a muse for the brand, and she also lives through some of the collection and might continue to do so!

Dani Drasin  |  Photo by Dana Boulos

Dani Drasin | Photo by Dana Boulos

Why did you start LULA PACE?

I was always fascinated by eyewear, I started wearing glasses at a young age, and they made me feel special in a weird way. This eventually led me to one of my first jobs at Oliver Peoples, where my affinity for luxury eyewear further developed. The founder, Larry Leight, remarked that I “showed a lot of courage and confidence” – and that I had “fresh ideas.” He enjoyed my energy and saw a great deal of potential in me.After working at Oliver Peoples, I studied and worked in London and then N.Y.C. Then I returned to Los Angeles to work as a merchandiser and product developer at American Apparel (pre-sale to Gildan). With Larry’s words still in my head, I started working on LULA PACE in my spare time, and began working with my design partner in London.

When did you launch?

We launched just 2 months ago in April 2019. I’ve been working on the design and development for around 2 years–really perfecting the product, quality, fit, and brand. It feels like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this moment, so beyond excited for the journey to continue to unfold!

What’s the strategy/plans for the rollout?

As of now, we are exclusively available on our website. We are currently  meeting with global buyers, so look out for us in retail stores soon. We have started developing Drop 2 and will continue to innovate and add more colors, shapes and new drops.

What is different about LULA PACE?

There are no premium fashion eyewear brands that lean ‘street-inspired’ – and none specifically for women–and I thought this was weird. And, most eyewear brands from the bigger brands are licensed. So I created LULA PACE with this in mind. My muse is the strong creative female, based in LA.

Dani Drasin  |  Photo by Dana Boulos

Dani Drasin | Photo by Dana Boulos

Tell me about the first collection

Our first drop consists of three product styles, the DOT, the LUX, and the SOPHIA, consisting of multiple color schemes featuring Italian Mazzucchelli acetate, sharp metal frames, and pop-colored lenses. Working with my design partner, we incorporated unexpected details and surreal elements such as shapes within shapes, curved temples, and wrapped fronts.

What was it like growing up in LA?

Growing up in LA, I was exposed to so much art, film, music, and culture, I really inhaled it during my high school years. I even took a film production class where students produced and filmed shows for the local Beverly Hills TV channel. I would go to an old silent movie theater on Fairfax that would show rare films like Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue, and Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny. Frequenting the Nuart Theater, I took all my friends to see the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show for my 16th birthday. I also recall, one of the most awkward dates I went on was to see Blue Velvet; after he kissed my ear, things didn’t go very far. The LA Weekly was my bible, scouring the music and events schedule; I caught some rare gems in concert such as Daniel Johnston at Amoeba, Jeff Goldblum at the Rockwell.

Tell us about your first LULA campaign, ‘Dreams & Nightmares’

L.A. based film director and photographer Dana Boulos created the campaign, immersing herself in the cinematic universe of LULA PACE. Dana shota dream-like sequence of images across disparate locations, such as a Hollywood nightclub, a sprawling 1960s Beverly Hills mansion, and in the trunk of a Mercedes G Wagon.‘Dreams & Nightmares’ was inspired by the contradictions of LA. The subversive and almost perverted images that only appear in the subconscious mind have been illuminated with a dream-like cinematic glow depicting both hard and soft, transcendence and abruptness, horror and desire, aversion and fascination.

Dani Drasin  |  Photo by Dana Boulos

Dani Drasin | Photo by Dana Boulos

Who is on your team?

I’ve been lucky to work with some great partners and assemble an extremely talented team; the LULA PACE brand was designed in collaboration with Kelvin Sohand his award-winning New Zealand design studio,“DDMMYY.” Kelvin is also the founder and editor of art publication titled Le Roy. DDMMYY lead stylist, Oliver Edward Guyon (based in Paris) lead the styling and creative direction of our first campaign photoshoot. Dana Boulos is our photographer and creative partner, for not just the campaign, but for additional photo series such as Lula Loves featuring our favorite girls wearing their LULAs around L.A. She also shot the profile series of me on Sunset Blvd. Jamie Duff is my business partner, and has been the glue putting us together.

Who is the LULA girl?

Dressed like Marie Antoinette, with her cat on a leash and sipping tequila at Chateau Marmont? Maybe in her dreams. Actually, maybe she works as a park ranger by day, and is a Hollywood character look-alike by night? All of these things.

Must see cult films to watch or re-watch this summer?

I gravitate towards the perverse and the macabre, the wild and humorous. If you haven’t seen them yet, start with David Lynch’s Wild At Heart, John Waters’ Pink Flamingos, and Larry Clark’s Kids. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette & Virgin Suicides. Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes; Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely; Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66 & The Brown Bunny; Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue; Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation; Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers; and for the 90s favorites: Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion, Clueless & Party Girl.