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