Eyestylist joins in the holiday festivities with beautiful Fantasy Frames in Reviews. Our Designer of the Month is based in the Netherlands, and we sleigh-ride to Alpine Austria for an inspired Boutique. London hosts a memorable exhibition on an eclectic style icon; click on CITY GUIDES. Throughout the month, we’ll bring fashion updates on original eyewear, accessories and how designers celebrate! Happy and peaceful holidays to our loyal readers and sponsors!
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30th December 2013If the seaside – not snowy slopes – is your idea of a winter holiday, here are two ravishing sunglasses with style and glamour to enjoy wearing in sunny climes. Christian Roth’s dashing design has a vintage air with its beautifully curved shape. Pale blue acetate is accented with a cocoa insert on the frame front. And you can purchase this lovely frame NOW – through Eyestylist at www.christian-roth.com – click and order directly through their online shop.
Among holiday joys is having the time to leisurely browse in galleries, museums, and shops. Look particularly chic in LGR’s smart design – Reunion – in smooth acetate. The round shape in elegantly crafted acetate is gracefully voluminous – all handmade in Italy. www.lgr-sunglasses.comJG
28th December 2013 Eyestylist is delighted that Joao Cruz of Cruz Oculista contacted us this month to introduce an exciting new retail space in historic Coimbra, Portugal – a city with a glorious past, a unique fado and one of Europe’s earliest universities, founded in 1290. Iris by Cruz Oculista is a concept store developed by Ipotz Studio. Inspired by the original design of the historic facade in a street called Ferreira Borges, the shop space – inside and out – creates the illusion of a jewellery box, and houses some carefully chosen alternative eyewear brands from across the globe, among them, Claire Goldsmith, l.a. eyeworks, Kuboraum and Mykita.
The window was sculpted by artist Fernando Coimbra Lardosa, and transforms a simple retail window into an art gallery where frames are displayed at a single level. Immediately attracting attention from the street, this is a store for eyewear connoisseurs and fans of unusual brands offering originality, quality and striking achievements in design and is set to be a new reference for luxury optics in Portugal.
Already a hit at Eyestylist, we just wish we were on our way to Coimbra to step inside this little design haven for eyewear connoisseurs! We hope to soon. See more at http://irisbycruzoculista.com/CN
27th December 2013The Sydney Opera House is one of the architectural icons of the 20th Century. Set on Sydney Harbour, with its soaring white roof and shell shaped sails, the building is a dramatic vision from the air, ferry or on foot. This year the Opera House celebrated its 40th anniversary, and Danish Eyewear Specialists Lindberg participated in the notable event by creating an amazing frame with 40 pink diamonds. The frame is constructed of 18 Carat solid gold from Greenland, and the fabulous pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Western Australia. The special diamond frame was presented aboard a yacht in Sydney Harbour, and subsequently at a gala music event at the Opera House in the presence of HRH Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. www.lindberg.comJG
1st January 2014 “My background is in apparel design and manufacturing, a somewhat logical extension of my lifelong interest in fashion and the technical construction of things,” says Ti Kwa, Creative Director of the buffalo horn specialist label, Rigards. “I started Rigards with my business partner Jean-Marc Virard, a French recording artiste, currently based in Los Angeles. Jean-Marc and I share a vision that combines the love for design and an appreciation for handcrafted eyewear. We met doing what we both enjoy— snooping around an old antique store, and now we’ve joined forces.”
Rigards first came to our attention in 2012 and since that time we are delighted to have seen the brand shooting to the attention of the optical sector, as well as the fashion industry, with specialist stockists appearing across the globe.
“I have been wearing glasses since I was 8 so I guess it’s no surprise that I’ve parlayed my boyhood fascination with how to make things into Rigards,” explains Ti. After a ton of research—we don’t claim to be experts but we certainly have learnt a few things,
having also experimented with acetate and wood—and we took the plunge with horn. With horn, we saw an opportunity to produce our eyeglasses under conditions we felt were optimal: traditional craftsmanship, exclusivity, and sustainability.”
Rigards represents not only artisanal craftsmanship, but also a desire to try new and different techniques. “Horn is a material that translates our aesthetic into a physical object, yes, of course,” – explains Kwa, “it’s also a medium that presents unparalleled textural possibilities—the freedom to go where our creative imaginings can take us. Each piece of horn is absolutely beautiful in its own way and as unique as your fingerprint. Horn is warm to the touch and allergen-free, and therefore very comfortable to wear. Working with horn is a painstaking, labour intensive and time-consuming process, but the result is incredibly satisfying. Understanding the aesthetics and behaviour of horn has enabled us to use a conventional material in unconventional ways, to create frames that are both compelling in their beauty and complementary to the times.”
“In the Japanese spirit of “kaizen”, our emphasis is also to improve on what we’ve done previously, to refine our collection on all fronts: superior lenses, hinges, techniques. Gradual steps rather than abrupt leaps. We also have a couple of collaborative projects in development—the who and how of which I’m going to keep under wraps for the moment.”
Rigards exhibits at Paris Fashion Week at least twice a year. The fashion forward audience appreciates their avant-garde designs and showing in Paris helps them to maintain a good relationship with the fashion industry. “The pleasures enlivened by traveling,” says Kwa, “and meeting old friends and new ones, and the city during the buzz of PFW, of course, never fail to be an enriching source of inspiration too.”
Asked about his interests outside eyewear, Kwa has many that are linked to design. “I have an obsession with collecting vintage finds: modernist furniture, 1940s phantom heads and, of course, antique eyewear. Travelling is what I do quite a bit these days and as tiring as that can get, it’s also invigorating to step out of my everyday routine to see and experience something foreign. I also enjoy discovering independent labels (a long-time favourite is Sarpaneva Watches from Finland), perhaps because we ourselves are an indie label. I like the idea of small-time designers with a stronger dedication to originality and quality being quiet revolutionaries in a culture of consume-and-discard. So my design aesthetic, I suppose, is influenced by a conglomeration of them all: my eclectic taste, my quasi-wanderlust, my affinity for good old craftsmanship.”
“We will be kicking off 2014 with a presentation at Opti Munich (Jan 10-12, Messe München, Hall C4 Booth 608). There’s always something special about the first time so we’re eagerly looking forward to the event—even if the weather forecasts suggest it will be bitterly cold. We’re also equally excited to be returning to our private showroom in Paris— please join us at Galerie de Thorigny on 1 place de Thorigny from January 16-20 2014. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. Happy 2014 to everyone, may all your new ventures be a galloping success!
24th December 2013 Jacob Kilsgaard describes a Danish Christmas – with food, fine wine, family and friends.
“Being Danish, and thereby a Viking, you can image all the eating and drinking we have. We get together with friends and family you only see in December, and we talk about all the things we didn’t have a chance to over the past year. We celebrate Christmas and open the gifts on the evening of the 24th. We eat crispy pork with red cabbage, oven cooked duck, and Christmas sausages. We flush it all down with rice pudding and hectolitres of red wine. Good times ahead for sure…..Our traditions are more or less the same for Christmas Eve and day – we prepare the food for the day, go to church, go home and watch the classic Disney cartoons, eat a huge dinner, light the candles on the tree, listen to carols and dance around the house, and open the gifts. At midnight we eat again – and the same procedure is for Christmas Day – only without church and gifts.
“As an only child, I was always drowning in presents on Christmas Eve. My best friend Morten Bast lived down the street from us, and we always put on all of our presents and met on the hill between our houses, packed with our new clothes, ski-goggles, wearing ski boots and carrying whatever ‘Santa’ had brought us….Silly spoiled 15 year old boys! For the merry season, hold your head high, be a good host, remember people we’ve lost over the years, and remember it’s all about the kids.” www.kilsgaard-eyewear.comJG
Buon Natale: Luca Gnecchi Ruscone at LGR Reminisces
20th December 2013“My family and I always reunite in my grandparent’s house in Florence for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We eat fish on Christmas Eve, and my grandmother spoils us with salmon and various traditional cakes and sweets like dried figs, nuts, panettone, pandoro and torrone. We have a Christmas tree, and we open our gifts after dinner on the 24th. We don’t have our own traditions, but there is one thing that always happens that could be called a tradition, which is eating a fish soup at my uncle’s house on 26th December. We also drink a lot of great wines. My uncle is a great connoisseur and we pass from the stiff and uptight atmosphere of my grandparent’s house, to the more relaxed, laid back of my uncle’s.
“Christmas was much more Christmas when I was a child. I would feel it much more and I would wait for it with much anticipation and excitement. The smells, the voices, the tree, the colours and the atmosphere will always be in my heart as the happiest days of my childhood. Now I have children of my own, and I hope to be able to make them at least as happy as I was when I was a child. For the merry season, be good to everyone, and remember that you are very lucky and that not everyone is. Remember to give to someone in need. We are living in a highly self-centered and consumer society, but it was not like this before. It is not what you give that is important, but the feelings you generate by doing so. Think and be close to older people: talk to them as much as you can; learn from them.” www.lgr-sunglasses.comJG
Images: Luca Gnecchi Ruscone has kindly shared photos from his childhood Christmas celebrations with Eyestylist.
17th December 2013We can’t get enough of the gold designs at this festive time of year. Following on from our gold theme from 1st December (http://www.eyestylist.com/2013/12/gold-fever/) we highlight three more exciting, stand-out frame designs with the golden glow.
From Mykita, the popular circular Janis style gets a makeover in a collaboration with Paris based fashion designer, Bernhard Willhelm. The hi-tech gold coloured stainless steel frame is a super lightweight design – with gold flash lenses that will pack a punch. www.mykita.com
The textured gold frames in the Vanni Surfing Collection by Nico Design are designs created in metal with a brand new surface finish. The series includes some oversized designs and classic cat eyes with the unique “stardust” 3-d colour lacquering and pretty “multiplayer” lenses. The mirrored lenses make a stunning counterpoint to the solid frame colour. www.vanniocchiali.com
Featuring soft gold gradient mirrors, and a warm golden honey toned acetate is Barton Perreira’s Rio Aviator Sunglasses. Their subtle shape and classic lightweight and thin design make these an ideal choice for a glamorous occasion this Christmas. Rio is currently available at Neiman Marcus priced at £310.72 – http://www.neimanmarcus.com
13th December 2013At the top of my Noël wish list is a Steinway – the piano of my playing days…the happy memories linger and the glorious sound and beauty of a Steinway continues to enthrall musicians to this day. From musical icons Arthur Rubinstein and Cole Porter to today’s artists – including Mitsuko Uchida and Lang Lang – A Steinway piano possesses history, expert craftsmanship, plus an amazing sound, and the keyboard responds with magnificence. I can feel my fingers on the keys now….www.steinway.com
Before Susanne Klemm focused her prodigious talent on eyewear, she created jewellery. Her creations are abundant with originality, as are the materials she uses – silver, polyolefin, epoxy, wood and calcite are among the materials found in her designs. Among my favourites is Oceanum – a ring in a concerto of blue created with epoxy and calcite. www.suzyglam.com
Père Noël – in the guise of Sven Götti – has already arrived with a bottle of this tangy, spicy fragrance created by Sven. The aroma is a sensual treat, mingling nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, cedar and more! Fragrance ’99 has great warmth and richness – and a joyous spirit! www.gotti-chJG
10th December 2013“The Rolf’s spend the holidays on the mountains. Christmas without snow and skiing isn’t Christmas for a Tyrolean. Many people spend their winter holidays around our base as well, so the ski slopes are crowded during Christmas time. We prefer a small lift in Weissenbach which is mainly used by locals – a kind of insider tip! Every Christmas Eve, we bake a special bread, with four symbols on the top. Each symbol has a meaning. The pig stands for money; corn for good earning, the moon for a sleepy person, and the barrel means someone who is drunk. This bread is eaten on Christmas Day, in a special way. It’s cut and turned upside down, so that you can’t see the symbols on top. Now everyone takes a piece of the bread and looks at what symbol is on it. That forecasts how your next year is going to be!
“Our Christmas traditions are based on family traditions and celebrations that are handed down from generation to generation. As children, we couldn’t wait for the Christ child to come and then open all the Christmas gifts under the tree”! www.rolf-spectacles.comJG
6th December 2013 Children will jump for joy when they see Zoobug frames among their gifts! ‘Tis the season to select comfortable, robust and stylish eyewear designs for the young set. Zoobug, the award-winning specialist brand for innovative children’s sunglasses and optical frames features a lovely selection of styles in snazzy block colours and combinations that kids love to wear. Above, Zoobug model Ollie is suitable for girls and boys, crafted from high quality Italian acetate. Available in black/red (featured) also in tortoiseshell, classic navy and blue/black.
Ollie is a modern design for discriminating youngsters that introduces them to quality frames, builds their confidence and creates a love for fine eyewear from an early age. www.zoobug.com JG
3rd December 2013 Winter celebrations and festivities come in many varieties. Eyestylist asked several designers to share with us how they mark winter celebrations. The series begins with American designer Shane Baum, at Leisure Society. – Above: Shane’s daughters enjoy the snow at Jackson Hole Wyoming.
How do you usually spend the Christmas/winter holidays? “I spend the holidays with family and friends in Palm Springs, California. It’s two hours from my home, but significantly warmer and sunnier.”
Do you have particular traditions that are part of the celebrations? Food? Decorations? “In the United States, we love our Christmas trees donned with ornaments and Santa Claus is really big, no pun intended! One tradition our family has passed on for generations is the making of a drink “Tom and Jerry’s” (a variation of eggnog) on Christmas morning. My grandfather, John Breen, was a great family patriarch and insisted that it was a position of honour to make, and taste the batter as you make this drink.”
Have you and your family/friends created your own traditions? “Well, in Palm Springs, I have a lot of friends that are in the desert over the holidays, and we typically play golf and tennis, and soak in some sun.”
Is there a particular celebration with special memories that stands out for you – as a child? As an adult? “As a child, we would always go to my grandparent’s house for Christmas. I have very fond memories of this; I loved them very, very much. My grandfather would always sleep on his fold out chair while we played with our toys. I think maybe enjoying the Tom and Jerry’s helped this process!”
Is there anything else you would like add about the merry season? “I think it’s always a great time to be thankful for all the gifts we are given in life. I am so grateful for all the talented, kind people I get to work with, my sweet and loving family, and my great friends that always make the holidays a memorable time.” www.leisure-society.comJG
Photo above: Shane Baum and friends pretend it’s Christmas in Newport Beach, California – where there is no snow – with a “Gefälshte” – a fake ski party!
Plenty of fantasy here! With Anna-Karin Karlsson’s stunning Lioness silky black acetate sunglasses. The lioness and brow trim feature 24K gold plating with fine etching details, and gold plated end-tips. There is a hint of retro in the shape and wide sides. An outstanding statement frame from the award winning Swedish designer. Available on line at www.annakarinkarlsson.comJG
For elegance and supreme simplicity, Lindberg’s Precious design 939 is a work of art. The classic frame shape harmonizes the mixture of white and yellow gold, further highlighted with two exquisite diamonds on each side…and diamonds are many women’s fantasy! The surface of the temples is available in matt or polished gold. This Lindberg Precious frame is true jewellery for your eyes! www.lindberg.comJG
Fancy a bit of clubbing? A mad night on the town? Look the part in Punk It – a no-holds-barred exotic frame that is fun and designed to be noticed! The shape features a retro mood with silver “spikes” that lavishly decorate the frame front. Crafted in fine acetate, this is the frame to wear to release your inner goth/punk/wild self! Also available in sleek black and silver. www.faceaface-paris.comJG
1st December 2013 This month Eyestylist visits with Suzanne Klemm, designer at Suzy Glam, who launched her label earlier this year.Why did you decide to create eyewear? “My first education was as an optician. I was seventeen, and listened to my parent’s advice not to study (like I wanted) design, but instead learn a “real job” where I could be financially independent. I used this profession as a side job next to my later profession as a jewellery designer. I studied jewellery and exhibition design at Zurich University of Arts, and I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utrecht. In the optical shop in Amsterdam where I work part-time, I met Etienne Frederiks. Quite soon it was clear that we wanted to start our own label. We combined our interests and talents, and developed over a period of more than one year our first collection. Now it seems very logical to us that we took this step.” Inspiration: What are your sources – travel, art, architecture, your jewellery background? “Nature is an endless source of inspiration to me. I try to materialize my observations. On the other hand, visiting art installations and sculptures gives me a drive to work. Some of my ideas are going in the direction of jewellery, some in the direction of eyewear. Sometimes I use shape or technical solutions for eyewear from my jewellery experiences. I create a concept that helps me to give a sense to each creation, and a coherency between every single piece. In other words, I like to think in series.”
As a newcomer to the optical world, were there any challenges/obstacles to start? “Starting is always hard and uncomfortable. At the same time, it was one of the reasons why we took this step – starting something new is extremely exciting. Every step is a step on unknown territory. The fact that Etienne had so much experience and contacts in the optical world helped us a lot. Everyone we knew supported us and we are very thankful for that.” What materials are your favourite in which to create frames? Do you have a “wish list” for materials that you would like to use? “I love acetate. I love plastics in general, also for jewellery. It’s warm, colourful, soft to touch, translucent and it gives me the possibility to shape it very three-dimensionally. I know it would be a good time to create in metal, but at the moment I express myself the best in acetate.”
What advice would you give to designers/students who wish to enter the optical design world today? “What advice? Hmmm…same as for every design direction student; keep it close to you. I don’t believe in marketing research. Sure it can work out for earning money, but for satisfaction…..besides that, you can compare it to fashion: a trend is always coming out of a fresh, creative mind, and never out of marketing.” Anything else you would like to include? “About your site: I’m happy that this kind of platform exists, before I designed eyewear, I wasn’t aware of that. It helps to pull the optical world out of the traditionally, dusty profession, where it sometimes still is.” www.suzyglam.com JGPhotos: Image of Susanne Klemm and Etienne Frederiks exclusively for Eyestylist by Gilles Stüssi Frame photo: Dick Kikstra
1st December 2013When I arrived at the Innsbruck train station, I was gallantly whisked off with Bernie Wolf to visit the new boutique – Wolf Meister Optik – owned by his brother Stefan. After only a few years in the business, the Wolf family are already an Austrian eyewear legacy – Roland, Bernie and Christian form part of The Rolf Team in The Tyrol, and Stefan is an optician. Earlier this year, he opened this smart little shop in Innsbruck. The location is a rejuvenated area that is enjoying a renaissance with chic shops, galleries, restaurants and cafés. The neighbourhood is drawing clients who appreciate quality and individualism – and for Stefan’s shop – customers who appreciate finely crafted frames.
Stefan’s concept for the boutique is to present “la crème de la crème” of eyewear, and he features Jérémy Tarian, L.G.R., Persol, Silhouette, and of course, Rolf Spectacles winning designs, plus others. An eco-friendly atmosphere prevails with the décor in lovely natural woods. Many of the display items have been made and polished by the family. The “eye catcher” is an antique cabinet from the 1950’s, with multiple individual drawers – perfect for holding frames – practical and unique. www.wolf-optik.atJG
1st December 2013Elegant Somerset House in London is the venue for a major fashion exhibition celebrating the extraordinary life and wardrobe of Isabella Blow – the late British fashion icon and muse. On show are over one hundred items from her incredibly rich fashion collection, one of the most important private collections of late 20th Century/early 21st Century British fashion design, and now owned by another style icon, Daphne Guinness. This includes garments from the designer talents Isabella discovered and launched, including Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald amongst others.
Blow was born in 1950’s post-war Britian, with a family history that can be traced back to the 14th Century. Highlights of the exhibition include family photographs and the sculpture entitled “Isabella Blow” by Tim Noble and Sue Webster. At the graduate shows from Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, she discovered Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy. Isabella had an amazing eye for spotting talent, and then wore the designer’s clothes everywhere to showcase their creativity. Her collection included designs by McQueen, Fendi, Dior, Prada, Viktor and Rolf, John Galliano for Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Marni, plus wonderful hats from Treacy – all on display at the exhibition.
Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is a fitting tribute to a woman who loved fashion and did so much to promote British designers. Until 2 March 2014. www.somersethouse.org.ukJG
Photo: Isabella Blow and Philip Treacy 2003 by Donald McPherson
1st December 2013Completely irresistible chic gold items for the festive season…we think we’ve found some really splendid ones, each one showing off the luxurious quality of this elegant precious metal that is very much in vogue again. Meet two special jewellery companies – creative uber-chic designer Kirsten Goss – www.kirstengoss.com, and the acclaimed Belgian designers, Wouters & Hendrix – www.wouters-hendrix.com. In eyewear, we found many different expressions of the gold theme including exceptional hand-finished gold designs that revisit the refined elegance of precious metal in spectacle design. CN