Most Wanted: Will.i.am Collaborates with Acclaimed Artist Xu Zhen to Create These Sick Shades

They're based off the Shanghai artist's 2013 geometric painting series "Turbulent."
November 3, 2015, 4:13pm

Black Eyed Pea, talent show mentor, and a man who once busted out a freestyle during our interview to the beat of a hotel fire alarm going off, has launched a sunglasses range in collaboration with acclaimed Chinese artist Xu Zhen. We say range, but they're actually two pairs of shades, but they are super sweet and they were released today under the moniker ill.i—a creative partnership between will.i.am. and designer Graz Mulcahy, which launched in 2014. Previousy they've collaborated with Slick Rick.

Several years ago the Shanghai artist created a series of abstract paintings entitled "Turbulent" which served as the inspiration fot the two acetate frames under the ill.i brand. They're slick and monochrome and very limited edition: a 200 spec run available at select retailers such as Harvey Nichols in London and LA's Traffic, and online at ill.i.am, of course. They'll set you back $300-$400, so try not to lose them.

In addition to the commercial run, Xu made a dress and sculpture (shaped like shades) to honor the collaboration. The artist replaced each lens with gritty, hand-carved stone, bringing their shared creative process full circle.

Here's a lady wearing the dress and the frames and a dude wearing said sculpture: