In April 1988 The Optician quoted Mikli as saying that his designs could take anything between five minutes and five months to complete, and that despite being a fully qualified optometrist he was now a full-time designer and had ceased to carry out sight tests. Some designs were retro-inspired, aswas the case in 1989 when Mikli introduced a thick-rimmed round frame (reviewed in the New York Times as ‘a modified John Lennon look is the newest old thing’). The extraordinary styles in this range sell to such personalities as Grace Jones and Jack Nicholson, and have price tags to match.” Mikli’s designs have sometimes been sharp and unsettling. Critics have suggested that Mikli did not really understand how best to exploit the pub-licity, but the fact remains that several of the outlandish, futuristic frames enjoyed commercial success, which is all the more remarkable since the film itself has not weathered well. No mere props, the spectacles in Untilthe End ofthe World set the theme fora story that revolves around eyesight. A remarkable side to Mikli’s work has been his willingness to design for his com petitors, concurrently with furthering his own brand – an increasingly common practice today, but one that he pioneered. He has designed Ray-Bans and Izzard for Sun Reeve of Japan, and co-signed frame ranges with Philippe Starck and Issey Miyake; his collaboration with the latter,which began in the late 1990s, is best known for the Dragonfly frame (2001), which folded away into a case resembling a cocoon.
Mikli’s frames have been worth the attention of criminal copyists, and he has been prominent in the campaign against counterfeiting of designer goods, going so far as to arrange for frames to be seized from competitors’ stands at the Italian MIDO trade fair.