‘Cognac expresses avant-garde and boldness’ says Julien Couture, co-founder and creative director of the emerging label Lunetterie Générale from Canada. The frame, pictured above in Tortoise with a gold clip and mustard lenses, is an example of the quality focus in the collection which is produced in Fukui, Japan, well-known as a centre of traditional expertise and precision in eyewear production. Each frame undergoes 48 stages of manufacture from start to finish, coordinated by several specialist craftsmen.
Stuttgart is a central oasis – a welcoming nucleus of palaces; parks; Porsche and Mercedes-Benz Museums; galleries and theatre. The city has its own unique identity, as does the yearly eyewear event that takes place at Motorworld – an expansive venue for unique frame display, and an opportunity to ogle luxurious vintage cars. Die Brillenmesse creates the stage for a two-day event with independent opticians presenting their latest collections. Co-organisers Nathanaël Wenger and Steffen Keil (above image) have long championed independent creators. Photo for Eyestylist by Patrick Müller/Die Brillenmesse All Rights Reserved
As Nath observes: “Independent designers and opticians belong together like the lid on the pot. They also need each other. I can see a clear division between the mass-market with mass-produced products, and niche opticians with beautiful handcrafted frames. You can see this division in fashion, food and many other domains. The positive thing about the Internet is that it also helps our customers to make mature decisions. The level of information is high, and the consumer IS king.
Nath adds: “Consumers want to know more about a brand; it is all about emotion, connection and good feelings. This is why story telling is a key element in the buying process. Being an optician means working with people, and people love entertainment. Craftsmanship and individuality are also becoming more important than it used to be. It takes courage for an optician to focus only on independent eyewear designs, but the results are often positive, and definitely make working more fun.
“It has always been our aim to strengthen independent eyewear designers, and to create a platform where independent opticians can meet them in a relaxed environment. We have to work together, and build awareness for artisan eyewear, and show the world how exciting eyewear can be. In Stuttgart we have interesting newcomers like Carin Eyewear, Düsseldorf Eyewear, Yuichi Toyama, and well established brands with new innovative lines including Andy Wolf, Götti and Orgreen. The Motorworld location is added value, and has proven itself over the past years.”
The variety of independent creators provides selections that are unique and innovative: Blackfin from Italy will unveil their luxurious titanium designs; Adrian Marwitz and his glamorous sunglass and optical frames; minimalist concepts by Andy Wolf Eyewear; the contemporary charms of eyewear by Miamai München; sculptural beauties by Didier Voirol; meticulously crafted designs by Von Arkel in Switzerland; vintage treasures from Lesca; and more! Note the date in your diary – Die Brillenmesse Stuttgart 28th and 29th October at Motorworld. www.diebrillenmesse.dewww.motorworld.deJG
Influential and progressive designs permeate the latest collection at KBL Eyewear with timeless elegance, graceful silhouettes, and trendy layering. The designs for men and women highlight the frames – crafted in Japan – in beautiful quality materials, and subtle, sophisticated colourations. Echoing modernity and detailing, the newest collection campaign was photographed at the Philharmonie de Paris – the innovative concert hall designed by Jean Nouvel. The unique basket weave design of the building reflects the KBL concept – eyewear with originality and flair. Eiffel – the sleek sun style (top image worn by the male model) unites titanium and acetate in a contemporary shape, with slender temples. Champs-Elysées (on the woman) is luxuriously enhanced with layered acetate on titanium.
Optical designs by KBL flourish with minimalist concepts in titanium and stylish spirit. The Lancaster (above left) is a full titanium frame with a double bridge – both discreet and distinctive. The Grant (above right) also in titanium – sports a Windsor rim, in the tradition of fine heritage eyewear. Discover the entire KBL collection 6th-9th October at SILMO Paris! JG
Photos: Elisa Teichtmeister; Styling: Pur Styl – Jasmin Teichtmeister; Photographed at Philharmonie de Paris
Versatility with materials is creatively expressed in Scott by Face à Face Paris. Advanced technical developments enable eyewear designers to experiment in innovative ways. Metal and aluminium combine in Scott with a voluminous shape and distinctive details – a bright splash of sunny yellow on the nose bar and temples, juxtaposed with black. Face à Face will present their collection of optical frames and sunglasses at SILMO Paris in October. www.faceaface-paris.comJG
Eyestylist.com begins an engaging new series today – Designer Domiciles – which will feature delightful conversations with international creators about where they reside, and their passion and enchantment for their neighbourhood and region. And what a great way to kick-off this series than with Claire Goldsmith – Director Oliver Goldsmith – London!
City where you were born: I’m a proud Londoner born and bred.
If you could live elsewhere…it would be: I would have to say, somewhere with better weather! Somewhere warmer! The weather is literally the only thing I would change about London if I could. If only it could be 9 months of summer and 3 months of winter. So I think I might want to live in New Zealand as the climate there is just about perfect for me.
What intrigues you most about London: I love London for its layers that have come about through hundreds of years of history. I love the idea that 200-400 years ago the streets I walk everyday were so different. I love the grime and the “secret London” that lies behind the frontage. London is a fascinating city with an incredible history wherever you go in it.
A fascinating London street you love: So…a little known fact – London has some amazing hidden alleyways often housing some of the most traditional and lovely little drinking establishments. These tiny old pubs literally transport you back in time. If you are lucky enough to stumble across one of these alleyways, you will never forget it. Here are a couple not to miss if you come here: – Newman Passage, Fitzrovia – is one of my favourites! – Bull Inn Court, Covent Garden – Lamb’s Conduit Passage, Holborn – Ely Court, Farringdon – Wine Office Court, City of London – Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden.
Your favourite London restaurant – and why? There are so many good restaurants it’s almost impossible to choose one! But I would have to say if I have to choose just one, it would be The River Cafe – a West London classic where you can sit outside on the river. It has a super casual vibe to it, but it’s a Michelin star restaurant. It’s so relaxed and comfortable and always without fail, you eat phenomenal food. It’s a total favourite.
Another city that holds a fascination for you…and why: I think I would have to say Tokyo. I went a couple of times for work but never for pleasure. I would really love to spend some time there just exploring it a bit more. That goes for cities in Japan generally.
Music that inspires you: I used to listen to albums of artists I liked. Now I listen to music I like. Spotify has changed the way we listen to music. I tend to play Spotify playlists on radio and listen to music I would not normally listen to, or even know about. As result I now like quite a broad spectrum of music. Spotify has opened up my music tastes a lot!
A book that influenced you: The Handmaid’s Tale – a story of a future I hope to never see. I studied it at A-Level (18) and never forgot it. And have just finished watching the TV adaptation of it and it was incredible! Dare I say it – possibly even better than the book itself. When does that ever happen…
Your personal style – describe in three items: Trainers. Black tapered trousers. Coats.
The most photogenic location in London: London is photogenic. It’s hard to take a bad picture of her!
Three objects that mean the most to you: The watch my dad gave me on my 21st birthday, but sadly never quite got to give it to me himself. The bracelet my grandmother left to me that I always loved, because she literally never took it off in all the time I knew her. My “Grisly box” where I keep the teeth that have fallen out of my kid’s mouths, because I am a gross mum who loves their grisly little milk teeth!
Who really inspires you: Usually it’s other women running businesses and managing their families effectively!
Claire will be presenting the new collection of Oliver Goldsmith and Claire Goldsmith at SILMO Paris in October. www.olivergoldsmith.com JG
Jono Hennessy’s latest creations include a graceful, contemporary style in pretty floral hues of crystal. The shimmering see-through design – Model 8414 – is accented with a distinctive bamboo acetate temple with a matt finish. Pale pink, tender green, soft lavender and clear crystal tones are beautiful additions to the Jono Hennessy collection. See all the newest Jono Hennessy releases at SILMO! www.jonohennessy.comJG
Eyewear creatives owe much to the international trade fair, SILMO, which takes place every year in Paris. Founded in the Jura, the traditional spectacle-making region of France, today the French show has grown into an international platform for designers and creators in eyewear, with fairs in Sydney, Istanbul and (shortly) Bangkok as well as Paris where the fair also boasts a strong alliance with the fashion industry via Premiere Classe, the Parisian fashion accessories fair.
Taking place in early October, the 50th edition of SILMO promises a large selection of exhibitors as well as celebrations, special events and what promises to be a memorable SILMO d’Or awards ceremony. As the climate of expansion in the independent sector continues, a significant number of newcomers are listed as exhibiting. They include Komorebi (Belgium), Stealer (Korea) and optician, Joseph Haver (Israel) who launches a brilliant eponymous sunglasses edition (image: above, new campaign by Joseph Haver).
Independent eyewear leaders returning to the annual event include: Ørgreen Optics. The Danish brand will showcase seven bold, yet elegant male and female titanium styles – photographed in a campaign by Philip Messmann. The shapes range from round vintage looking styles to contemporary square college inspired silhouettes. The colour combinations include timeless black, varying shades of brown, and stylish tones of blue and red.
Claire Goldsmith (UK) brings the iconic OG Sunglasses collection with new colour proposals and new lens details. “The Introduction of 2-base lenses into the Icons collection is giving some of these classics a completely fresh look. Combined with some luscious new acetate from Mazzuchelli some OG icons got a facelift!” Also showing is the new CG Optical Collection. www.olivergoldsmith.com / www.clairegoldsmith.com
US eyewear producers Kenmark return annually to Paris with their designer eyewear collections, Vera Wang and Zac Posen. Vera Wang’s fashionista sunglasses line will be available to view with the new ophthalmics, designed with superb references to directional trends and bold shapes in captivating acetate colours. www.kenmarkeyewear.com
Designer Ti Kwa of Rigards always delivers innovation and expertise in his exceptional artisan eyewear: the Sterling Silver Collection will be one of the highlights at the Rigards stand at SILMO, an expression of precise, luxurious design that is rare, exotic and always surprising. View more details about Rigards at www.rigards.com
SILMO Paris 2017 takes place from 6th to 9th October at Paris Nord Villepinte. For more information visit: www.silmoparis.comFurther Previews will be available on Eyestylist in the comingweeks.CN
Our friends at independent luxury eyewear destination, Eyespot, are launching a new series of in-store events, dedicated to emerging designers. EYESPOT X COLLECTION will be run as a Pop Up shop featuring exceptional designer ranges, selected from around the world for a limited engagement. Some of the exciting new labels with be making their first appearance in the US, allowing customers to get a very special taste of the most creative and innovative small labels and, in many cases, to meet the designers behind the brand at the opening events.
Appearing for the first boutique exhibition is Mondelliani Glasses from Rome, whose collection will be launched in store on September 15th and 16th from 10am until 5pm (open to everyone). Flying in from Italy, founder of the brand, Federico Mondello and family member and designer Roberta will be available through the weekend at Eyespot, to talk about the creation of the collection and their background in optics in Rome, where the Mondello family whose first optical store opened in 1975, now own several optical boutiques themselves.
Typical of the eye-catching handmade collection is the Eolie Collection, comprising glamorous sunglasses inspired by the beautiful, vivid colours of the Mediterranean and the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. These super sunglass styles have uniquely flattering shapes and fresh toned, matching high-quality lenses produced by world leader Zeiss for an “exceptional visual experience”.
Also exhibiting is the Birds Collection, inspired by the play of colours of the feathers of birds, and the brand’s avantgarde Rigadritto range, a tribute to great icons of international cinema. Minimalist lines and exciting lens shapes come together in this exclusive artisan series. The label will also show a super collaborative limited edition line with US textile designer, John Robshaw.
EYESPOT is the only retailer in New England carrying this prestigious collection from Italy. The collection will be available at the store following the Event this coming weekend and through to end of December 2017. The EYESPOT event takes place at One Boylston Street, The Street, Chestnut Hill, MA. For further information, visit https://eyespot.com/ – www.mondelliani.itEyestylist.com isdelighted to support the new EYESPOT x COLLECTION events. CN
Visitors to the autumn edition of Hall of Frames Zurich have the opportunity to explore new, expressive and exciting visual horizons. The two-day event – 15th and 16th October – will showcase independent designers and brands, with exceptional collections of beautiful frames. (Top image: Dante-S by Götti Switzerland)
Among the designers exhibiting are Götti Switzerland, Adrian Marwitz; Blackfin: Face à Face Paris; Miamai Eyewear; Neubau Eyewear; L.G.R; Didier Voirol; Johann von Coisern, Orgreen, and more! Over fifty brands will introduce their latest styles in a new, remarkable and architecturally impressive location.
The Umweltarena (Environmental Centre) in Spreitenbach – less than thirty minutes from central Zurich, is a fascinating ecological centre – an ideal location when sustainability has become a global challenge. The optics sector is aware of the need to care for resources, and increasingly, frames are being crafted in sustainable materials.
In addition to fabulous frames, visitors are invited to participate in the “Think Tank” sessions, given by experienced professionals, and include short talks on topics relevant to optician’s needs and interests.
Save the dates! 15th and 16th October – and discover innovative eyewear that exudes style and statement design, plus enjoy visiting the fascinating, dynamic Umweltarena ecological centre.
A great fit and avantgarde style: Sandra Kaufmann and Monica Fink, the founders of award-winning Sol Sol Ito, who come from outside the eyewear sector, told Clodagh Norton about their approach to design, as their new styles launch for the coming season.
“As designers we need to be aware of our role in creating personality”
How did you come to set up Sol Sol Ito? We both wear glasses – me for distance (Sandra) and Monika for better close-up vision. We happened to be searching for a perfect frame which would fit correctly and then we started to create our own ideas. With our different optical prescriptions we felt this was a good starting point. The name of the brand came from Sausalito, the seaside town north of San Francisco.
What are your backgrounds as you are both from outside eyewear? Monika studied sculptural art in Barcelona and Geneva after an apprenticeship in design engineering. I am an industrial designer with years of experience in the Swiss watch industry. As a student, Sandra wanted to work at the Philippe Starck studio and ended up, by chance, working for Alain Mikli, a close friend of Starck and the eyewear partner of the Starck collection, where she learnt a lot about glasses.
You are keen on craftsmanship and quality – how did this come about and tell us a little about the frames – where are they made and what materials do you prefer? Traditionally, Swiss design is quite minimal, smart, adhering to a high quality standard. We are both innovation driven in our fields, and that’s why we started to work on a special hinge as a USP. For weeks, we were bending and cutting wire in Monika’s art studio. In the Swiss watch industry, we found a small manufacturer who was able to produce our metal parts. It’s difficult to produce our temples, although they look so simple. The acetate comes from Italy, and we put everything together in our studio in the centre of Zurich. We can check every detail of each frame ourselves, and that’s important to us.
Can you talk about the “open” design of the temple – the origin of this and how it has evolved since you started the collection? A strong, unique brand recognition is helpful for a newcomer in the market. We searched for an eye-catching design element that would be functional and aesthetically interesting. As we use the same temple shape for the different fronts, opticians can easily exchange the temple colours. Logistically this is interesting for a start-up: it’s the concept of an ‘eyewear kit’. Our first collection had very thick temples and was quite extreme; subsequently, we made the frames lighter and thinner and easier to adjust. Swiss people do not tend to wear heavy frames.
How does your use of colour represent the brand – you use some daring citrus and very bright tones, what inspires this mood? We don’t have a particular source of inspiration for the colour palette. We are inspired by many things, throughout the day – even with closed eyes you get wonderful inspiration. Monika is working on the colours, it’s her passion. The combination of a functional, technically inspired frame concept and an extreme, often elaborate colour range is our speciality. It’s a ‘feeling’, and something that’s in the air.
What is coming up in the collection? Cool new feminine pilot sunglasses in flashy colours. That’s what we will be wearing next season! Sol Sol Ito will exhibit at #SILMO50 in October. For more details visit www.solsolito.comCN Still life images by Hans Hansen.
Explorers and their adventurous spirit inspire Orgreen’s expressive frames that celebrate great navigators. Among those honoured is Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea. The Vasco frame combines modern and vintage elements with square lenses and a low nose bridge. The colours are luxurious – deep blue matte (above), pale green and warm tortoise – all echoing textures and colours of foreign forests and seas – plus exotic spices like pepper and cinnamon. Explore more visual horizons by Orgreen at www.orgreenoptics.comJG
Striking new creations with design inspiration infused with the contemporary, technical excellence of IC! Berlin, will be presented at SILMO Paris in October. Experience and capture the imagination of individualistic and passionate frame wearers with minimalistic styling; durability; comfort; and special characteristics. The beauty of durable, stainless steel – in which the frames are crafted – is further enhanced with a patented, screwless spring hinge. Top image: Left Mona sun; right Leon sun
Family history plays an important role in the creation of SEEOO. Gerald Lasnik, founder and CEO, discovered hidden treasures in his Austrian grandfather’s attic, including a pair of reading glasses. Lasnik was so delighted with this vintage find, he wanted to bring this eyewear back to life…with a modern, reinterpretation of a distinctly unique – and legendary classic.
The result is SEEOO MONALEON – a progressive and harmonising concept – complimented by traditional and evocative styling. Expressed with modern flair and avant-garde high tech innovation, the collaboration with Ic! Berlin and the sleek SEEOO MONALEON designs will be treasured by many creative and enthusiastic eyewear consumers. www.seeoo.atJG
Striking new designs in the Volte Face Collection by the designer Jean-François Rey will be launched at SILMO Paris in October. Joy is a delicate, streamlined silhouette in Emerald Green acetate and marbled tortoiseshell, further distinguished with colour play on both sides of the top. The feminine, sophisticated frame enhances autumn chic in women’s fashions. Discover more F/W frame news at www.volteface.comJG
Tom Herrington’s enthusiasm for handmade eyewear has led to the addition of new RockOptika Sports designs in 2017, dedicated to the needs of the road cyclist, and balancing traditional craftsmanship, vintage-inspired design ‘with style’, and subtly integrated technical attributes – an ambitious project. The collection has launched at RockOptika HQ in St Leonards (UK), a vintage-inspired store presenting the brand’s full collection of opticals, sunglasses and limited edition sunglasses as well as a few hand-picked designs from other British eyewear designers.
Careful research and detailed conversations with ex pros and amateur cyclists led to the production in France of two models, Jet-Pac and Allez. “Our goal was to design the most stylish glasses on the road. They also had to be totally fit for purpose,” explains the designer, who is also a cycling enthusiast.
Each model is produced in bespoke Italian acetate alongside classic tortoiseshells with a vintage feel – quite different from an average sports frame. A high-quality back coated anti-reflective lens and leather temple grips ensure the frame offers UV protection, comfort, and a stable and snug fit on the face – factors that contribute to enhancing the experience of the cyclist (and their style) in variable weather conditions.
RockOptika frames are designed in the UK, and made in France, in the traditional spectacle-making region of the Jura. The frames are available from selected opticians and the flagship RockOptika store in St Leonards (UK), as well as online at www.rockoptika.comCN
School checklist: backpack; pens and pencils; notebooks and binders; and most importantly – eyewear with punch and personality! From tiny tots to teenagers, this season’s selections abound with appealing frames in sturdy materials, beautiful colours and streamlined shapes, ideal for little faces. Ophus (above) by LINDBERG is crafted in hypoallergenic titanium that is lightweight, strong and flexible, with superb fit and comfort. www.lindberg.com
Sophisticated colourations highlight Merci by Lafont Paris. The charming butterfly shape is ideal for young girls from 4-7 years old, and the frame features Lafont’s exclusive spring hinge. www.lafont.com
Summer holidays may be over, but Indian Summer weekends can be a delightful time for outdoor adventures – and strong sunshine. Protect vulnerable eyes with chic sun specs from Olivier Goldsmith Mini Icons. Lord was originally created for Michael Caine; the Mini Lord is a faithful replica for children in Fresh Mint. www.oliviergoldsmith.com
Children respond positively to colour, and will find Papillon by JF Rey an enchanting design with its melange of different acetates in rich hues. A delightful detail is the little butterfly that is inserted in the temples. www.jfrey.fr
Trendy, hip styling is the hallmark of The Mungarutal Jr by Original Penguin Junior. A retro mood is embraced with the round shape in crystal acetate.http://www.kenmarkeyewear.com
Lafont Paris has just launched their first sunglasses for youngsters – fun styles infused with Lafont’s long history of quality, fit, superb colours and shapes in frames for children. Aloha shown in vivd red – autumn’s hottest colour – is also available in Ocean Blue and Tortoiseshell. www.lafont.comJG
Culture and cuisine combine in FLEYE’s newest eyewear collection that will launch at SILMO in October. The tempting ingredients of the famed Smorrebrod – the textures, colours and layers that make the open-faced sandwich so much a part of the Danish heritage – inspired the Scandinavian brand. The layered construction of the Smorrebrod is applied to the frames (as seen above in Cole) – in a variety of components in many colours, with textures placed on top of each other. FLEYE plays with the layers, mixing solid and transparent acetate, with neutral colour combinations and sleek shapes that are contemporary and sophisticated. A Nordic delight! www.fleye.dkJG
Creative eyewear accessories – chains, cases and cleaning cloths – bring flair, as well as practical care, to looking after your glasses. Striking chains are the raison être at Frame Chain in London. Designers Annie and Vanessa create stunning chains that are trendy, supremely stylish, and crafted in beautiful materials. Drop Pearl (above) features a brass chain plated with 24 Caret gold, and is hand strung with luscious fresh water pearls…the tiny jewel a must-have this autumn. When not in use for eyewear, the chain is a chic necklace. www.framechain.co.uk
Lens cloths have come into their own with stylish, intriguing designs to clean your glasses. “Night Office” by Kirk & Kirk portrays an artistic ambience in vivid colours. www.kirkandkirk.com
A teenage adventure trip to London was inspiration for Austrian designer Mona Moore, when she discovered “a shop that was a little wonderland, with all kinds of beautiful beads in rare, unusual colours. I wanted to take everything with me. The beads are great quality, as they never lost colour over all these years.” Style BR5 unites pink and crystal beads in various sizes. Explore more at www.monamoore.at
Nature and the preservation of the planet is the core of SALT. Optics philosophy. Their new cleaning cloths reflect this with beautiful renditions of nature’s beauty and bounty. The sea scene is featured here – discover additional images highlighting nature from the California brand at www.saltoptics.com
Colour is always a special highlight at Kirk & Kirk with unique impact in their eyewear designs. The same principle applies to their sleek eyeglass cases – Limited Edition designs in powerful colourations – and easy to find in a tote or computer bag. www.kirkandkirk.com
In l.a. Eyeworks signature series of artist-designed cleaning cloths, visual innovators – artists, illustrators, graphic designers – are commissioned to explore the cleaning cloth as a space for art- making. The latest design is from London-based artist duo Huntley Muir (Su Huntley and Donna Muir) who experiment across an impressive spectrum of mediums. Their groundbreaking and deeply influential style depicts an ecstatic world of fleeting fragments from the urban landscape, free-wheeling wordplay, radical shifts in scale, and a visual wit laced with anarchy. www.laeyeworks.comJG
Etnia Barcelona released official images of its flagship store by Santa Maria del Mar (El Born, Barcelona) in April. Remodelled by Jordi Tió, the project also involved interior designers – Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the design studio behind some of Barcelona’s most fashionable hotels and restaurants, including Boca Grande, El Nacional and Soho House Barcelona. Eyestylist visited the building in August 2017.
Etnia’s flagship store extends the brand identity of the Barcelona label in a stylish design focused building with two shop floors, showrooms, workshops, a terrace and a bar/entertainment space at the rooftop, with beautiful views over the city. Owned by David Pellicer, and created over 17 years ago, the Spanish eyewear label has become a top-selling European brand across the world – after particular success in France, as well as further afield, in the US and S. America.
The remodelling of the building was led by Jordi Tió, a design expert related to the design world of Vinçon (a former retail company in the Catalan city) and architect of the Barcelona and Berlin Camper Hotels, amongst others. The work involved the demolition of several bearing walls to create diaphanous spaces in the old building, as well as the lift well, running from top to bottom, with views of the different floors of the store. The façade has been strictly preserved, right down to the colours, respecting the original appearance of the building.
The shop interior speaks for itself. As well as some ‘Catalan’ touches in the colourful details – the elegant lift is based on a classic Barcelona ‘ascensor’, the individual spaces offer a pleasurable experience for browsing and trying on frames, with recurring themes: furniture and mirrors with the feel of an old-fashioned barber’s shop, and central “bar” areas with mirrors and vintage “objets” – recovered from old optical stores -, flowers and glass dome displays.
The furnishings and lighting portray a 1940s style, referencing different trades and spaces. From old operating theatre lights to a jeweller’s work bench or theatre dressing table with its light mirror, to create a kind of backstage feeling. The store also stocks art monographs and photography books, to underline the brand’s relationship with the world of the arts, a focus for many of their limited edition sunglasses. www.etniabarcelona.com Eyestylist.com wishes to thank Noemi at Etnia Barcelona for arranging a tour of the store. CN
Pairings in eyewear are increasingly complex and, for future seasons, colourful and bright. For the wearer, the mix of colours or materials should flatter and enhance features without overpowering the face – it’s an art of harmony and balance, where the interplay of texture and colour can be subtle and harmonious, or bold and striking.
JF Rey – the French design house – is creative in combination work and their Destruct line clearly illustrates the opportunity to play both with colour, material and volume on the frame. The concept focuses on the cutting of the acetate to uncover the metal below the surface. “The metal unfolds and redraws the aesthetics of the frame, creating a new graphic balance,” explains the designer. Find out more at www.jfrey.fr
Model Viggo – a smart men’s design by Face à Face – combines classic colours of tortoise and bright blue, in a popular mix that is easy on many complexions. In the photo, the frame is fitted with the newly released Transitions lenses, Style Colours, in their bright blue tone – Sapphire – personalising the colour combinations of the design, and enhancing the points in blue on the bridge and temple when at their most intense tone in the sun. A stunning combination! www.faceaface-paris.com / www.stylecolours.co.uk
Colour combinations at the innovative Italian artisan design label RES/REI are often inspired by nature. Magnolia, from the Flowers Collection, is an example of the label’s new custom designed acetates which feature a geometric use of three different colours on the front face – a magical re-interpretation of the petals of exotic flowers. www.resrei.comCN
We were looking for a sunglass style for a 13 year old who loves fashion, who knows about brands, and who is starting to value the comfort and feel of a well-built design frame v. a mass produced one. One or two obvious brands had caught his attention. The choice, however, seemed limited – most of the frames were too large for his face in the adult lines – and focused on the branding more than the frame itself.
The High Pockets – from Original Penguin – is an adult frame, but in size 53 19-140, fits a growing teenager. The lightweight design and clean details – without embellishment, offer the right balance of style, comfort and design, with a retro feel that appeals to a youngster who notices the design. The frame is available in several colours including black (pictured), cargo and gunmetal and is fitted with Polarized Tri-Acetate sunlenses with 100% UV protection.
Original Penguin produces a men’s sunglasses collection – featuring the Highpockets, and a special selection of “youth” frames – ideal for boys with a developing sense of fashion. Find more details at www.kenmarkeyewear.comCN
While crystal colorations often get more attention in the warmer months in the sunglasses lines, next season, the transparent effect will linger on as a mood for the winter months. Some of the transparent frames have a tinge of pink or grey, while others offer an edgy see-through effect that can look very modern, even if the crystal tone first appeared decades ago.
The shapes of the crystal frames vary enormously with classic and unconventional proposals coexisting. Berenford, from Switzerland, has a nice square interpretation with a 1960s reference – Francoise (Absinthe) in their L’Avventura Edition – is made from vintage Mazzucchelli acetate. The frame is inspired by style icon Francoise Hardy, the French singer, and is fitted with Zeiss sun lenses for excellent UV protection. www.berenford.com
SALT. Optics often features crystal with a very chic polished finish. For next season, their Kiani frame combines a shape with retro details such as a key hole bridge and a very clean, transparent acetate material with a gentle hint of grey. www.saltoptics.com
The lightweight simplicity of the Arbesser sunglasses, a collaboration with Silhouette Eyewear, is further enhanced in the crystal version, teamed with gold temples. The beautifully shaped lightweight frame and circular lens – pictured here in a graduated green – are the perfect finishing touch for the luxury looks in the new season collections. Find more sun styles at www.silhouette.comCN
Our love for eyewear design always leads us to the small yet creatively minded enterprises in the frame business: Sol Sol Ito is an independent label from Zurich, Switzerland, with a unique perspective on design and a fastidious passion for craftsmanship. Each frame style, including the elegant Sol Sol Ito 032BF (above), has signature exchangeable twin-steel arms – created in a huge choice of colours – a design feature which also offers a comfy, custom fit. 032BF, like all the styles by this Swiss label, is a limited edition – just 50 are produced of each one. The fluid curves of the front are reminiscent of details in the art deco design movement and reappear in different ways in several of the designs across the collections.
Available at selected boutique opticians including Fueter & Halder, (Baden), Parici, (Paris) and Bruce Eyewear, (Vancouver) – the award-winning Sol Sol Ito label was created by designer Sandra Kaufmann and artist Monika Fink. Photo credit: Hans Hansen. More details at www.solsolito.com CN
An avantgarde shop rarely passes us by and while Eyestylist hasn’t yet managed to visit, we look forward to this experience in the future. Monica Albanese agreed to talk to me about Iconaocchiali – Italy, and her new project with MiN New York.
What is your background?
Our store project was born in 2011 when I joined my sister Barbara’s company. The idea was for me to enhance her great technical know-how, with a new and different aesthetic direction. I am a collector of clothing, handbags and glasses. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years with a lot of different brands. I was also a teacher at the Istituto Marangoni, in Milan and Shanghai.
My family is important to me. They have taught me a lot about respect, beauty and a beautiful style of working. My sister taught me to entertain customers with professionalism and courtesy. She also taught me her love of taking care of the customer’s vision by being very careful to match the technology with beauty. My uncle is Paolo Seminara, who has taught me everything I know about eyewear. He is an important eyewear designer – he created the Vogue eyewear brand in the ’70s. It became a very successful brand – and was sold to Luxottica in the ’90s. Image above: Barbara and Monica Albanese
What is currently available in the shop?
Our store is unusual and unexpected. I like it when people ask “what do you sell?” We like to amaze in a gentle and discreet way, choosing elegance and cultural “references” in eyewear. In our store, you can find niche brands. Some are strong on image, some are more valuable in the construction of the glasses and the choice of materials. Among the brands we have selected are Linda Farrow, Lotho, Platoy and Frency & Mercury.
We also love Kuboraum and Slave to Ancestors, the collection made entirely in leather. We work with many more, including Jacques Durand, Sama Eyewear, Portrait, Robert La Roche, Lunor, Jean Francois Rey, and Orgreen.
You are also involved in a sunglasses collection with MiN NYC – how did this come about? Are you the only stockist of MiN in Italy?
This is a funny story. A young man entered my former shop in Florence. He was very enthusiastic about the brand selection and the elegance of the store. From that moment on, we became friends, and this has developed into a working relationship. Matthew called me in the summer asking me if I wanted to work with him and Chad to create the MiN NEW YORK glasses line. I immediately accepted, and began to seek the right language that respected the aesthetic aptitude of their brand.
I am not the only stockist in Italy, but our store is like a “brand” showroom for MiN in Italy – since I’m directly involved in the creative side.
Last summer we presented our first part of the Eyewear Collection in Florence at Pitti Uomo; we also did Pitti Fragrance, and we went to New York for Vision Expo. We are brand new in eyewear, but already strong in the fragrance business.
What are the MiN Eyewear designs like and why has the perfume brand moved into eyewear?
Presenting fragrance and eyewear as a part of the same story is a completely new idea.
One by one we have created and translated every scent story into a spectacle in the form of glasses.
When we created every single style, we sprayed a cloud of perfume into the air and carried our emotions back and forth and went back to every place visited in Chad’s mind at the time of creating the scent.
The MiN New York fragrances are created to celebrate a moment, a minute of life (MiN as a dime of minute). We think that a better product can make life fuller and that through an authentic experience something of us is revealed, that was previously hidden. Physics and metaphysics. A journey within ourselves but with a propensity to life.
As a designer, what are your most important influences in Italy or outside Italy?
Usually my personal feeling is my starting point. My background is like a ‘chest’, filled with tastes and things that I choose and are the only thing that make me unique and special. As an italian woman I usually live among the flame of florentine architecture, I can see all the best painting exhibitions in Milan, where I live alf of my week (as a designer), I can travel north and sud for a week end, smiling and testing all the “colours” of life.
Mention anything else about your shop in Signa regarding the styling?
I love change. The store has taken shape in time and that it suits the flow of life with changing needs and what seems important or new at that time. For this reason we have not created any fixed structure, excluding a wall cabinet. Our project is born of the need to express in a simple and universal way (hence the choice of the ICONA name), the idea of the beautiful as a manifestation of an instantly recognizable functional aesthetic.
All the eyewear collections and the objects we sell (Grottaglie Ceramics, Monica Albanese Handbags, Bijoux bought in many travels, Objects of various nature and Pieces of Art) have been chosen through a careful search of what we really consider as the Icon and thus representing a style and elegance that will be an integral part of the customer who will choose them.
We like to think that we can present glasses and other products as small artistic masterpieces and design objects. CN Iconaocchiali, /29, Str. Vicinale Vecellio Tiziano, 2, 50058 Signa – Florence
Do a Diva this summer in Plein Les Mirettes Diva 7 with its sculptured, curvaceous silhouette, and the frame front intricately textured on sleek black acetate. The artisan frames created by Christophe Morcamp are handcrafted in a Normandy atelier to the highest standards. The collection is available in both sun and optical designs. Explore your inner diva at www.plein-les-mirettes.fr JG
Summertime is at its peak – a sunny occasion for rest, relaxation, fun and fashion! Make the most of summer escapades with sunglasses that combine tradition and trends, with a dash of adventure and spirit. Negus (above) is crafted in Italy in sanded metal alloy with mineral glass lenses from L.G.R’s splendid sun collection. View the beautiful sun selections for men and women by Luca Gnecchi Ruscone at www.lgrworld.com
Star light…star bright…for Anna-Karin Karlsson glamour enriches all seasons. Black Moon in luxurious acetate sparkles with Swarovski star-shaped crystals in a dramatic cat-eye – the definitive summer eye shape. www.annakarinkarlsson.com
The latest collection from RIGARDS by Ti Kwa highlights the exquisite beauty of fine sterling silver. The Sterling Silver collection – including RG0091 (above) is available with custom finishing options – polished; textured; matte; oxidized; or a unique chiselled surface…all lovingly handcrafted. www.rigards.com
Kirk & Kirk’s Sunglass Collection is handmade in France in lightweight – yet extremely durable acrylic; a Kirk & Kirk speciality. Justin – worn in the above photo by actor and model Martin Mednikarov – is a chic blend of contemporary styling and elegant, natural Earth colouration. www.kirkandkirk.com
The Bocca Collection by Face à Face Paris is such fun and so cheerful! Bocca Joy 1 is all that – plus. Emerald green acetate meets long, curvy legs in textured colours for a distinctive summer signature. www.faceaface-paris.comJG
Aviators are a perennial favourite. This year has been a particularly fab one for this shape with it surging much like it did in the 70s and 80s. In particular, the very narrow aviators in metal have been a hit, glazed with prescription lenses, pale coloured tints – yellow in particular – or in-your-face mirrors, take your pick: the colour palette is infinite.
The shape itself can be edgy. Model Praph by Grey Ant takes this line, emphasising the vintage feel of the classic shape – using acetate with a soft graduated colour shading. Contrasting essential details in metal create a special highlight, and are conveniently designed to adjust (as are the nose pads) for a comfortable fit – a huge bonus with an oversized shape. Grey Ant frames are designed by Grant Krajecki, eyewear innovator and member of the CFDA. The brand is based in NYC. www.greyant.comCN
neubau eyewear from Austria has teamed up again with Hien Le, as part of the designer’s S/S 2018 catwalk show in Berlin. The sunglass models, scheduled for release in Autumn, include the new Eugen, Ruben, Carla and Fabio, which seamlessly blend with the designer’s mens’ and womenswear looks on the runway.
Stylish and eco-friendly, neubau sunglasses are made from the plant based material “natural PX”, and boast an acetate look, while being very light and resistant. The material is very pleasant to wear, and the variety of surface finishes are interesting and unique, with matt effects – which are particularly on trend – and ‘linear’ textures coming into the range for Autumn.
Hien Le’s S/S 2018 collection is a homage to dance in general and explores specific synergies between bodies and materials that compliment and support each other in seemingly fragile movements. The classic silhouettes and pleats in fabrics such as light silks, cottons and linen are reminiscent of dance costumes. Nuances of greige, rosé, sky-blue and accents of saffron yellow mirror the subtlety of the body movements. For more details: www.neubau-eyewear.com – www.hien-le.com / CN
Sailors and yachting enthusiasts particularly embrace this time of year when they can be on the water. SALT. Optics and North Sails – the American lifestyle brand – have established an exciting collaboration that makes life on the water even more exhilarating – and safer. North Sails founder – Lowell North is an accomplished sailor – winning a Gold Medal in the 1968 Olympics, plus Gold Medals in the Sailing World Championships, so he understands the need for performance and safety on the sea.
SALT. Optics are eyewear specialists committed to technology, craftsmanship and exceptional performance – complimented by a love of Nature’s natural beauty. Aesthetics; lenses that adapt to water; secure, long-lasing fit; and durability highlight the frames. Sleek minimalist styling is resplendent in the designs – the Lowell and the VMG. Mazzucchelli acetate highlights the Lowell, and Japanese Titanium silhouettes the VMG.
The lenses on both designs spotlight contrast lenses that are best for water; a hydrophobic lens coating; and an inner flash-mirror coating. Ships ahoy! www.saltoptics.comwww.northsails.comJG