Adaptive lenses – also known as photochromics – are entering a brand new era. Whilst fashion has set down rules for us to wear ever brighter coloured frames with colourful lenses, Transitions Optical, the makers of the most famous light-adaptive lenses has launched a new collection of style-driven colours for specs wearers demanding a stylish and sophisticated final product.
Fitted for my review by Kensington’s Eyeworks London (www.eyeworkslondon.com), the new Style Colours lenses in Sapphire are a fashionable match for the black frame colour I had selected, darkening to a point outside in full sunshine where they take on an intense bright blue. The other lens hues in the range – Amber, Emerald and Amethyst – also darken to produce statement tones that will enhance both a matching frame colour or provide a very stylish dramatic contrast.
Worn indoors the experience is that of wearing normal glasses, with a clear, high-quality lens. The tone changes quickly outside providing immediate UV protection with the trendy tinted coloration, chic and comfortable to wear whether gently faded (a popular look for summer) or at their darkest when the glasses transform ‘magically’ into shades.
Style Colours were launched in the UK in May. For more details visit www.stylecolours.co.uk. Pictured above: the new Style Colours lenses in Sapphire fitted in Kirk & Kirk’s model Warren from the Kaleidoscope Collection. www.kirkandkirk.com. CN
The CEO of Italy’s fast-growing independent titanium brand Blackfin, Nicola del Din, talked to Eyestylist about eyewear heritage and his passion for life outside optics.
Tell us about you as a “creative”. Your training, biggest influences in terms of aesthetics/details/colours and your interests such as photography.I have a deep interest in technology, graphics and imagery. I have had this interest since I was at school. At that time, we didn’t have anything like the technological opportunities of today. But I was still very much into computers and I remember my first pcs…a Commodor 16, then the 64 and the Commodor Amiga which I used with a camera to make videos at school! I also love digital photography and the opportunities we have now to modify imagery via apps and special programs.
Music is also one of my great interests, particularly with the multimedia aspects: video represents the perfect synthesis of all my passions: IT, graphics and music, all in one! My work is to produce excellent eyewear and my passions can therefore become a function of my work. I couldn’t ask for more. I am very lucky for that – my job has become a life focus which I can develop and grow thanks to the contributions of many people around me.
Blackfin is a young fast-growing company. What is the ingredient that been most important in allowing it to develop so successfully? Incredibly, the crisis. At the time and through the 1990s we were reflecting on our future, and what we were wanting to achieve. We realised that technical capabilities were not enough and that is was essential to have a strong communications strategy for the brand. So we started again. We are like a start-up but we are 47 years old! It’s a contradiction in terms but that’s what has happened: we combined our experience in production with a new fresh enthusiasm to start out on a new adventure.
Blackfin has its own design team, but you are clearly a creative “driving force” when it comes to campaigns and marketing? Blackfin today is the ideal realisation of the potential I could see 10 years ago. And this vision is not just about the product, but rather a precise image and method of communication. The amazing thing is it just keeps running: my head is firmly looking forward into the future.
Tell us about your collaborations which are far from ordinary? Our collaborations can be out of the ordinary and unexpected. This is because we go beyond the product to find shared social, geographic, moral and cultural values. This is the case with Cipriani: what we have in common is the constant research dedicated to offering excellence in Italian products. Excellence understood as authentic luxury which, as Arrigo Cipriani reminds us, is the expression of a complex simplicity.
We found a similar synergy with Andrea Bocelli. Andrea is a great artist, and an Italian man of great integrity. Our collaboration with him and his Foundation represents sharing a vision towards Italian excellence and authenticity. Continue reading “Nicola del Din, Blackfin”→
Illustrator and photographer Clément Louis is a newcomer to the eyewear scene. In a experimental liaison with the Barcelona brand Alfred Kerbs, the Parisian multidisciplinary artist has defined the complete SS17 series of sunglasses by Kerbs in a powerful portrait collection evocative of the style of Egon Schiele.
Above: Art + eyewear – model Billy by Alfred Kerbs illustrated by Clément Louis. Part of a series for the Barcelona eyewear label.
Model Billy by Alfred Kerbs is new in the acetate collection for SS17. Colour is underlined in fresh combinations and a play on tonal contrasts while the square 70s shape has intellectual overtones. Available in black, coffee (as seen in the illustration, top, and above), striped havana and the very chic tones of “toasty” or “cheetah”. More information about the artist and the new sunglasses at www.alfredkerbs.com CN
Mondelliani glasses, selected independent brands (Hoet and Theo) and bijoux accessories. The curated collections by the Mondello family have a new design home in Via dei Prefetti, an historic street with an abundance of chic stores located in the Campo Marzio neighbourhood.
The minimal interior, balancing bright colour and elegant white displays was designed by Claudia Campone of Studio THiRTYONE in Rome. An area for eye tesing has also been included as part of the project – allowing the team to offer state-of-the-art eycare as well as beautiful accessories.
Following the opening in December 2016, Rosaria Mondello commented: “Eyewear is the accessory that speaks about who we are, more than any other. If you wear black and choose a red frame, for me, you are all about “red”. If you wear a “statement” frame, such as a heavy rimmed black design, you need to be able to carry it off, with grit and a strong character, otherwise you will look like a member of the Beagle Boys. What gives us great satisfaction is finding the right frame for each person: this requires sensitivity, taste and attention to detail”.
Via dei Prefetti 11, Rome. Other stores are located in via del Bergamaschi and via dell’Oca, Rome. www.mondelliani.itCN
Energetic colour and new chic designs with consistent attention to the small details: the mood at Copenhagen Specs this weekend was upbeat and friendly as designers from Scandinavia and further afield brought new ideas for 2017. The fair showed its commitment to independent labels, and attracted more than 80 companies and a wide range of frame styles from Scandinavian innovators through to small start-ups from Italy (Viveur), Poland (Love Belford), Spain (Paper & Paper) and France (Plein Les Mirettes /PLM).
The Italian titanium specialists Blackfin showed their new collection featured in the 2017 campaign: Sky’s The Limit. The brand currently offers an eclectic mix of titanium styles including trend-focused thicker rims such as model Montego Bay (above). Further details: www.blackfin.eu
Plein Les Mirettes showed their colourful acetate range for women for the first time in Denmark. The uniquely crafted glamorous shapes have a bright energetic elegance and are made in Normandy in a prestigious traditional eyewear factory. Model Diva brings the camouflage trend into eyewear in a playful and elegant interpretation for the face. www.plein-les-mirettes.fr.
Italian start-up Viveur Sunglasses by Carlo Opice showed a metal collection produced in the Veneto. The frames revisit vintage styling but bring a modern “street style” to the look, creating a line that is youthful and wearable. Very narrow proportions and the variety of nice classic lens colours in the metal sunglasses line are on trend for the SS17 season. More details at www.viveursunglasses.com
Alongside bright primary colours, neutral eyewear tones are evolving in new ways. Model Nia by Salt. Optics has a thin profiled shape, the narrowest of temples and custom detailing. Nia comes in a super Oyster Grey / Black Sand combination with “Lovers Soul” gradient lenses. More details on the new entries presented by Salt. Optics at www.saltoptics.com
Lightness, technical know-how and an innovative take on materials are instantly noticeable in the Fleye collection, presented to us by co-founder Hanne Andersen at the show. Once again, the trend for extremely narrow proportions is beautifully played out in special ways with the addition of touches of colour and finely textured finishes in high-tech carbon fibre. www.fleye.dk
Copenhagen Specs returns to the same venue in 2018 from 3-4th March: for more details about the fair visitwww.copenhagenspecs.dkCN
Interchangeable eyewear systems are not a new thing and personalisation continues to be a highly desirable characteristic for eyewear enthusiasts. NOG frames by French designer Laurent Albouy – launched at the optical fair Silmo in 2016 – take the interchangeable concept up a notch with a modular system offering smart, contemporary shapes that can be put together by their owner, in a host of different modern design-oriented colour combinations.
The frames are made up of four pieces with two lenses (sun lenses are provided and optical ones can be fitted by your optician), and are completely screwless. The ease of assembly means that the wearer can change the pieces as and when they want. The pieces come in a minimal box and are standardised so that the consumer can order new coloured pieces to add to their “nogs eyewear wardrobe”. Find out more about the nogs start-up company from Lille, France, at www.nogs.frCN
From small first-time exhibitors to highly regarded international designers, the selection of frames at 100% Optical offered an exceptional opportunity to British opticians and international buyers last weekend. New launches by Tavat Eyewear, Gotti Switzerland, Kirk & Kirk, Silhouette, SALT. Optics, MonkeyGlasses and L.G.R, among others, ensured that diverse, fast-paced innovations in eyewear could be fully appreciated.
Tavat Eyewear, from Italy, returns to 100% annually. Pictured above: campaign for Tavat’s forward-thinking SoupCan Collection AW16/17 – a unique “sandwich” frame design with rimrock closing and watch crown mechanism. More details at www.tavat-eyewear.com
neubau eyewear launched several new frames which will be available from April. The designs are created in natural PX, a high quality eco-friendly polymer that is light, flexible and durable. The frames (above, model Valerie) come in delicate natural colours including crystal clear versions and trendy shades of green. www.neubau-eyewear.com
Italian titanium specialists Blackfin, who have just started to make their mark in the UK, showed their innovative new optical and sunglasses collection. Designs such as model Loven by Blackfin show their achievements in decorative work on super light Japanese titanium. www.blackfin.eu
Mouet Eyewear, created in 2014, exhibited for the first time at 100% in London. Carlos Martin and Fran Penalba, a designer and an architect, have developed a range of artisan acetate designs, made in one of the last remaining traditional frame workshops in Spain. www.moueteyewear.com
MonkeyGlasses, one of the notable design-focused eco frame brands, based in Denmark, launched a new eyewear collection with colourful sustainable leather coverings. The eight colours are inspired by the Nordic night sky and include silver or gold coated stainless steel with a natural horn/wood look for spectacle temples. www.monkeyglasses.com
The judging of the excellent RCA x 100% eyewear design competition took place during the fair. Congratulations to Becky K. Hong – the overall winner, and all the shortlisted RCA students whose eyewear projects showed innovation, imagination and a detailed understanding of today’s eyewear trends and new directions. 100% Optical takes place from 27th to 29th January 2018. For further details visitwww.100percentoptical.comCN
The optical fairs are about to get underway, and Eyestylist looks forward to exploring some of the leading European events highlighting independent brands and expertise in artisan collections. Denmark’s Copenhagen Specs, on 4th/5th March 2017, will take place at Lokomotivvaerkstedet just outside the city centre in a warm, welcoming venue with a relaxed atmosphere. A growing number of independent labels from across Europe attend including Danish brands LINDBERG, Falvin, Orgreen Optics, Fleye and Monoqool as well as specialists from further afield. Newcomers this year include Plein Les Mirettes (France), Kaleos (Barcelona) and Yuniku 3D tailored eyewear, by HOYA – produced in collaboration with Materialise and Hoet Design Studio. (www.yuniku.com).
Copenhagen Specs’ Founder/CEO Morten Gammelmark says: “We have expanded the exhibiting area a little so we can show more brands to our visitors. Look forward to a fantastic selection of established and emerging names.”
Newcomers at the Copenhagen event include Retrosuperfuture, the Italian label and their exotic new model Esther, characterised by an oversized round frame with an all-lens construction. www.retrosuperfuture.com
Returning to the show are some notable European artisan collections: Lucas de Stael (www.lucasdestael.com) handcrafted products combining stainless steel with wood, leather and stone, and young sustainable designer brand from Norway, Karmoie, by Kirsten and Lars Iversen who specialise in minimally styled acetate classics. (www.karmoie.com)
For the first time, Copenhagen Specs have created a guided sightseeing tour for visitors to the fair offering a mix of exclusive visits to leading optical shops and cultural sights in the Danish capital. More information about theCopenhagen Specs 2017 (trade visitors only) and brands attending is available at www.copenhagenspecs.dkCN
A tribute to one of the most influential thinkers of the western world, Sigmund by neubau eyewear is a new interpretation of the classical round shape, currently enjoying a significant revival. Inspired by the iconic glasses worn by Sigmund Freud, this version by the young Austrian brand takes a high-tech approach, using a polymer that is super flexible and lightweight. The overall effect is modern and focused on comfort, with temples that are adjustable. The choice of fresh contemporary colours brings a strong character to the design. Bright evergreen (trendsetting this season), sweet honey and clear crystal are among the choices for those seeking a bold new eyewear update for 2017. www.neubau-eyewear.comCN
More extreme proportions lend a dynamic look to eyewear for women as 2017 approaches. The rise of the oversized metal aviator as a “statement” has boosted this direction, and style influencers are continuing to sport the design as the ultimate fashion accessory, whether they require prescription lenses or not. New quality aviator shapes are a staple at many of the small and medium sized independent eyewear labels specialising in metal. One such example, the German independent label Coblens, produces distinctive aviator designs in high grade titanium: pictured above, model 30066 from their Luna Park line. www.coblens.com
In the acetate collections too, a broad offering of more substantial shapes include deeper, generous sized cat eyes and cool retro “geek-chic-revival” designs.
Spectacle Eyeworks have created several new designs in this vein, including the elegant Sierra in the Pussy Galore Collection. In subtle acetate colours, pretty striated versions, the style works the fuller shape with fine lines and the characteristic pointed top corners of the cateye.
Christian Roth, the iconic American “designer” eyewear label, now partnered with Dita, proposes a similar femininity in a large round sixties-inspired design. The designer describes the frame as “a look that is straight out of a beatnik Greenwich Village coffee shop” when fitted with optical lenses. It’s one of several frames in the new line that bridge the old and the new, playing with modern colourways and materials with expertise and know-how. More information on Christian Roth’s new line at www.christianroth.com CN
Intriguing design by a former jewellery designer, Birgitte Falvin’s new collection for 2017 is presented in exceptional imagery with Danish model Anna Edelfors.
The campaign includes the new Skycrystal Shades (part of the Black Crystal Collection for 2017) in lightweight titanium, a bold, luxurious concept that highlights the designer’s ingenious approach to eyewear. The beautiful, minimal titanium frame, pictured (below) with an elegant architectural shape, typical of Birgitte’s unique style, is complemented by lenses which add to the overall aesthetic: clever facet-cut details along the top edge, and, in some designs, cut-outs in the lenses – precision cut using an old-fashioned artisan technique only achievable by hand. The matte black surface is complemented by exquisite detailing in 24-carat gold.
Falvin Eyewear’s choice of luxury materials – including Japanese titanium, diamonds, 24 carat gold and platinum – is very carefully approached. While comfort and ease of wear is well considered, the clean yet paired-back aesthetics and attention to detail are typical of a strong Danish design ethos which has an immediate draw for the wearer.
Colours are harmonious and natural, selected to work seamlessly with clothing and skin tones, for men and women. “The palette is inspired by colours meeting the surface of the Royal Black Diamond Library,” explains the designer, “when the sunlight plays on it, creating special effects.”
The Black Crystal Collection includes 10 different shapes, which can be customised with diamonds and/or sun lenses. A choice of surfaces in rose gold, palladium and 24 carat gold are proposed in combination with a colour palette of black, brown, grey, blue, aubergine, or white. The customised handcrafted diamond setting is made with black, champagne, and white/transparent Wesselton diamonds. For more information, visit www.falvineyewear.comCN
Jen, from the French artisan label Vue dc, is one of the prettiest shapes I have seen for women this season. Not only does it represent a modern take on beautiful classic eyewear by proposing a very feminine version of a multi-sided shape, it also comes in an elegant colour palette, flattering (the red is soft and translucent) but not flashy. For Vue dc fans, this frame will represent an ideal balance of gorgeous artisan design and ease of wear with the narrow acetate frame. The hint of a glamorous gothic mood in the collection is also quite irresistible. All Vue dc frames are designed by Chris Mascré and handmade exclusively in France. CN
At the heart of the fast-paced, fast-expanding frames market, creative innovation is as strong as ever, with independent designers and makers taking new routes that require experimental techniques, new technology and, at times, several years’ research and development. Silmo Paris is an international platform for inspired new design concepts and this year’s show confirmed that leading directions in eyewear revolve around huge opportunities in high-tech alongside a return to artisan principles and impressively high standards in handcrafting.
The Italian label LGR is one of the Italian leaders in small production artisan-quality eyewear. Founder Luca Gnecchi Ruscone (above right in model Scorpio) incorporates attentive details and finishes, noteworthy not only for their refined aesthetics but also for comfort and fit – the mix of classic and directional statement eyewear provides something for everyone who appreciates good design. Look out for their new “hammered” effect finish in the metal range – “it’s a little gothic,” says Gnecchi Ruscone with a smile. Very delicate metal profiles with high bridges connect each lens gracefully. www.lgrworld.com
Gotti Switzerland, a brand that specialises in quality, technical precision and beautiful quality materials, launched their first 3d printed collection: Dimension, at the show last weekend. Sven Gotti told Eyestylist he has been working with his team on this line for around three years with the aim of providing the same levels of detail, finish, comfort and fit in the cutting-edge material that they have mastered in acetate, horn and titanium. Further information at www.gotti.ch
RES/REI’s Oliviero Zanon continues on the artisan path with dedication to design finesse and innovative aesthetic detailing in Mazzucchelli acetate. The new frames with tiny perforated decoration are ingenious and make a wonderful addition to the core collection. www.resrei.com
With metal sunglasses booming in terms of prevalent trends, several directions were quickly identified at the Paris show: very fine profiles, continued attention on the zero base “flat” suns lenses, and all kinds of ideas for double bridges and lens shapes. The Vera Wang collection from Kenmark is a luxury capsule line that embodies these particular details with subtlety and flair. www.verawang.com / www.kenmarkoptical.com
Named after American actors – including Woody, Quentin, and Scarlet – the sunglasses in the Rigadritto collection are a first delightful step for the Rome-based brand Mondelliani towards an all metal construction. The frames are very light, easy to wear, and minimal in a design that speaks volumes on the face. www.mondelliani.it
Finally, collections using natural materials continue to expand with speed. The Silmo show had several highlights: Monoceros frames in buffalo horn, made from a single piece of horn, free from metal and plastic (www.monoceros.cc), Rigards’ buffalo horn creations by Ti Kwa, incorporating brilliant material mixes and exceptional textures, polished surfaces and coordinating colours – (www.rigards.com), and a new luxury eyewear collection in marble from the Italian Marble Inlay experts Budri, designed by Valerio Cometti in collaboration with Gianmarco Budri and a team of craftsmen. The collection has taken two years to come to fruition and includes marble, onyx and semi-precious stones. www.budri.com
Eyestylist looks forward to sharing further highlights, details and observations on the new collections in the months ahead.
Silmo Paris takes place from 6-9th October in 2017. For more details on the Silmo fair visit www.silmoparis.comCN
Bold colour, edgy eye shapes, a mix of exotic combinations and favourite touches of retro….the new trends are emerging as SILMO approaches at the end of the week. The show promises cool eyewear designs by a selection of the leading independent designers who set the agenda for creative trends and artisan quality at an international level.
They include Danish brand Ørgreen who present innovative ophthalmic and sun designs in a campaign by Casper Sejersen. The frames appear on models in a cold, concrete environment where solid surfaces and clean lines resonate simplicity and functionality. Each exclusive design offers the minimal edge of an Ørgreen design with a new colour scheme that embraces the opportunity of innovative finishes in slick titanium. Further details: www.orgreenoptics.com
Based on its masterful award-winning Soupcan design, Tavat launches “TAVAT SoupCan Collection 2.0” – a new extra light edition with pantos and round shapes available in “all-metal” or “combination” versions.
In this new series, TAVAT strives to reinterpret its brilliant design for every-day, all-day wear whilst staying close to the original. SoupCan 2.0 “C” features all acetate temples allowing for more adjustment and has removed a lot of material to give the overall aesthetic a more refined look. The adjustable nosepads and optional clip-on with melanin lenses makes the design ultra-wearable and suitable for all men and women. www.tavat-eyewear.com
British luxury label Finest Seven return to Paris to unveil new sunglasses in their luxurious heirloom collection known for its pristine elegance and well-tuned production which results in a great blend of lightness and design. www.finestseven.com
Timeless and breaking with convention, acetate model Kot from Vue DC shows energy and impact in a characterful shape, highlighting a brilliant upbeat combination of red and black. Made in France, the statement frame is also available in black and white, and two single colours with a polished/brushed finish. www.vuedc.fr
Sometimes classical with a refined colour palette is the most elegant and desirable choice for an eyewear wardrobe in the winter months. Akiko 2 by Face à Face draws its creative inspiration from the expressive qualities of Japanese ‘manga‘, displaying true elegance in its unique assembly of circles and arches. It demonstrates technical flair using a single nylon thread instead of screws. The lightweight aluminium in matt colours adds the exciting contemporary feel. www.faceaface-paris.com
Silmo Paris – the international eyewear and optics fair – takes place from Friday 23rd-26th September at Paris Nord Villepinte. For further details and registration visit www.silmoparis.com CN
Vintage overtones with the introduction of painted elements by watercolourist San Siguenza are eye-catching highlights of a new RVS x San Siguenza collaborative sunglasses collection launched in New York this month. Tia, one of two pieces in the special edition is eloquently configured to show the exotic hand-painted colours of a watercolour of Madonna – created as a hologram for a performance during the singer’s 2015 Rebel Heart World Tour.
The link-up between Vidal Erkohen and painter San Siguenza represents the first eyewear edition by RVS produced in Japan. Erkohen, who set up the label in Turkey in 2007, and originally produced hand-finished designs in his own artisan frame company there, is now based in NYC. Passionate about imaginative design and authentic, handcrafted production methods, Erkohen has selected Japanese artisanal expertise to take the collection forward into a new phase for 2017.
An RVS pop-up store is now open, and the big launch night is on 17th September at 312 Bowery, NYC. The collection for those who can’t get there goes online at www.rvseyewear.com on 30th September. CN
Expectations are running high for exciting trends, original colour combinations and new-found inspirations for pattern and details. As the international eyewear fair Silmo (www.silmoparis.com) draws near our attention is on the finest sunglass and optical collections, and highlights that spark new beginnings and a fresh perspective for the frame wearer.
At JF Rey, the eyewear design label from Marseille, uplifting colour is the central focus in a visual series entitled Life is Color: the optical frame JF1402 (above) is a new combination of metal and acetate with a casual feminine elegance, and smart easy -to-wear eye shape. Further information at www.jfrey.fr
Australian designer Jono Hennessy always brings warmth and vibrancy to the Paris show. Their preview of frames highlights exotic Mazzucchelli acetates: inspired by the Australian landscape with matt stone finishes, opal like stripes and exciting tones reminiscent of desert sunsets. Pictured is model 8388, a typical example of Hennessy’s magical irridescent colour schemes where the graduated look comes into its own. www.jonohennessy.com
As 3D printing grows in popularity, so are the eyewear collections using this sophisticated technology, which offers endless possibilities for lightweight design and a multitude of colour and shape proposals. Denmark’s Monoqool presents its new collections for Silmo: model Moondance in charcoal grey is lightly textured, finely proportioned, and features the standard screwless hinge in this collection: practical, versatile and designed for a nice fit, Monoqool has a talent for balancing tech with stylish design. More details at www.monoqool.com
Titanium remains a leading material in the metal eyewear selection, both for its excellence in performance and clean minimal aesthetics. A great range of high-end designs in this material have emerged in recent years, bringing about a consistent fine-tuning in terms of the quality, detailing and finish.
The young Italian eyewear company Blackfin, experts in titanium designed with Italian finesse, will show their range of opticals and sunglasses in Paris – the collection favours rounded shapes and unisex designs such as model Saint Martin (BF769), with its arched double bridge and curved lines in a two-tone combination. Available with a natural shiny or satin titanium finish, the model represents an interesting mix of 1980s influences with modern, high-tech appeal. www.blackfin.eu
Inspiration from nature and a desire for intriguing pattern suggests an ongoing interest in creating effects on the surface of the frame, something to watch for at the eyewear fairs: in the new R Collection, young French designer Caroline Abram plays with the effect of natural leather and python on a nylon frame front: model Ruby in bright blue features signature curvy titanium temples teamed with the bold and glamorous butterfly shape. www.carolineabram.com
Silmo Paris – the international eyewear and optics fair – takes place from 23rd-26th September at Paris Nord Villepinte. For further details and registration visit www.silmoparis.com CN
Vera Wang’s beautiful sunglasses collection pinpoints classical elegance, contemporary detailing and strong shapes that ensure exceptional desirability, and – quite naturally – an excellent celebrity following. Cue Gemma Styles, Krystal Rodriguez, and Aimee Kritikos, influencers with edgy fashion credentials and the ability to mix street style and high-end fashion quite effortlessly.
In the group pictured, Styles (pictured left) wears Wang’s new model Osa, a design that combines the fashionista circular eye shape with a chic interpretation of the double bridge.
Friends Aimee Kritikos (above, centre) and Krystal Rodriguez (above, far right) wear Hesse, a strong, solid oversize black acetate flattop with discreet logo engraving and Lido, the dazzling new zyl cat eye style of the collection, bejewelled on front and sides.
World-renowned fashion designer Vera Wang is known for exquisite taste and a modern approach to feminine glamour and beauty. Her new eyewear releases, translated from the fashion collection, show an exciting twist on current trends and a taste for the dramatic with exotic flourishes of embellishment completing the picture. Find more details on the full collection including models Hesse, Lido and Osa atwww.verawang.com / www.kenmarkoptical.comCN
What feeds a Creative Spirit? For Brent Zerger, Director of Communications at l.a. Eyeworks in California, it’s the arts, architecture, eyewear and food! Insightful, curious, blessed with a deliciously wicked sense of humour, and a passionate eyewear advocate, Brent shares his views on life and living with Eyestylist.
Please give us a brief profile about your professional career. “After graduate school, my professional career began in the contemporary art world. I worked for nearly a decade in a curatorial/programming capacity with The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) here in Los Angeles; also as an independent curator; and as a public art officer helping to oversee the artworks in the MTA transit system of L.A. county. The second big chapter of my career began as the manager of a retail store for l.a. Eyeworks that opened in 2002. I became Director of Communication for the company in 2007 and the story continues!”
What sparked your passion in eyewear? “True story: my passion for eyewear began as a passion for l.a. Eyeworks as a brand. Growing up in the relatively rural Midwest, there weren’t a lot of cultural avenues to explore – and I was hungry! But I remember somehow getting my hands on Interview magazine and taping the l.a. Eyeworks portrait ads to my bedroom wall. I was hypnotised by their glamour, mystery, and incredible energy. That I would one day stand in Greg Gorman’s studio to watch him shoot one of those portraits is such a meaningful completion of a circle for me.”
If you could have been born in another era, what century would you choose, and why? “Truly, there isn’t one I would choose. I’m happy in this time and place. BUT…if I could have misspent my young adulthood in southern California in the 1960’s, I imagine that would have been a very fine thing.”
l.a.Eyeworks is based in Los Angeles – do you think the city continues to be an international, inspirational source for art, fashion, etc.? “For many reasons, it’s hard to comprehend the breadth of Los Angeles and the scale of the things that are produced here. It’s a full spectrum show. From the scientific geniuses working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to the worst reality TV, from superstars of the art world to Star Wars-branded non-dairy coffee creamer, love it or hate it: what L.A. ‘says’ is incredibly influential. Los Angeles is so engaging to me because it’s constantly reinventing itself with little regard to the past, and an anxious grasp for the future. It can be daring, gorgeous, audacious, and horrible all at the same time. Whatever the case, it’s intensely visual and I love that. At this moment, what’s particularly interesting to me is watching these huge production fields – television, film, music – as they pivot to adapt to the realities of the proliferating on-demand economy. While this dynamic is being felt in every field (including fashion, travel, transportation, and so on), I’m keeping a keen eye on Hollywood because the stakes are so enormous. It’s a sea change of operatic proportions!”
Nowadays, who do you think most influences eyewear styles and market appeal? “I doubt my answers to this question would surprise anyone. Whether it’s celebrities or red carpet designers, or massive ad campaigns by mega-labels, I pay attention…and then I don’t. There’s the influence of those who know how to meet all the expectations, and then there’s the influence of those who startle the world by going their own way. Personally, I’m so much more interested in any person I meet who sees their glasses as a way to stand out from the crowd. I don’t care if the frames came from a yard sale or a boutique; when I see anyone who’s wearing glasses to express their individuality and not their allegiance to trend, that’s when I get excited.”
Please select a favourite fashion moment that inspires you. “What comes immediately to mind is the Apollo 11 spacesuit worn by Buzz Aldrin to walk on the surface of the moon in 1969. That helmet with the gold mirrored shield? Now that’s a radical, avant-garde garment! To me, the space suit says everything about the future we’ve come to live: the integration of apparatus and the body, not to mention the role of outfit as a metaphor for the complex relationship between humans and their environment. Right behind that as a close runner-up would be the fishtail gown that Divine wore in John Waters “Pink Flamingos,” which today looks almost like a prophecy!” www.laeyeworks.comJG
Top image: “Los Angeles is a fertile ground for amazing architecture.” Brent attending an event at the Fitzpatrick-Leland House in Laurel Canyon, designed by architect R.M. Schindler (1936). https://makcenter.orgThe MAK Center for Art & Architecture oversees the Fitzpatrick-Leland House http://www.hereslookingatyoula.com/#hlay
Spotted in Begur Optica (Costa Brava, Spain), a specialist boutique offering an interesting mix of quality independent labels, Folc Eyewear is a young label from Barcelona focused on acetate sunglasses – designed in Spain, and made in northern Italy. Model Agari is one of the label’s first styles, and part of the collection launched in April this year. Features include quality Zeiss lenses, Italian acetate and a clean, classic shape that has a small twist in the form of a a coloured block at the temple. Generally, this unpretentious and stylish collection experiments with shapes, colours and textures in a subtle way, combining modern elements with a classic and versatile look, for holidays or every day. Agari is available in several easy-to-wear colours including a matt or shiny exterior finish and pale pink or yellow detail at the temple hinge – priced at 205 euros. For more information on Folc eyewear, visit www.folc-eyewear.comCN
Porsche and Mercedes-Benz draw auto fans from around the world to the historical city of Stuttgart. Acclaimed botanical gardens and a rich cultural legacy are among numerous reasons to visit Germany’s sixth largest city. For eyewear enthusiasts, a visit to Die Brillenmesse – held at prestigious Motor World and chock-a-block with fabulous vintage autos – is postively another reason to be in Stuttgart on October 15th and 16th.
Die Brillenmesse enables visitors to view beautiful eyewear from international, independent labels. Award winning designer Adrian Marwitz will present his refined collection – crafted in titanium – that unites high tech implements with traditional spectacle production. The Loving Strangers collection includes streamlined designs for men and women. In the above photo – he wears Lover 9 in loving grey, and his companion wears Lover 7 in loving Bordeaux. www.adrianmarwitz.com
Danish state-of-the art craftsmanship is expressed in Orgreen’s innovative designs. Among the frames being presented in Stuttgart is Lupita – a striking shape in matt aqua titanium with sandblasted gold sides. Unique and chic! www.orgreenoptics.com
Italian artisan detailing is found in all Blackfin designs, and San Diego for men displays a distinctive personality with its large, angular lenses and bold double bridge. Super sophisticated in a sleek grey/black combo. www.blackfin.eu
The Denali frame by You Mawo derives its inspiration from the seven mountain summits. The North American Mountain was originally called Mount McKinley. However, last year, the name of the mountain was changed as a tribute to the original settlers – and now proudly called – Denali. The ultra light You Mawo frame that pays homage to this natural mountainous wonder is composed with polyamide and weighs only fourteen grams. You Mawo is an innovative German brand and one to watch. www.youmawo.com For more details on the Stuttgart show with the exciting roster of independent labels, visit www.diebrillenmesse.de JG
New York based textile designer John Robshaw on travel, textile design and a sunglasses collaboration with Mondelliani
“I am travelling regularly in India, Asia and now Africa and South America,” explains John Robshaw, the textile designer who has linked up in collaboration with Mondelliani in Rome, the independent label co-founded by Federico Mondello. “I met Federico through a mutual friend who had given me a pair of Mondelliani sunglasses. We started to think about a collection that experimented with my textile designs. A meeting in Rome, one in NYC, and we had come up with these incredible sunglass designs. It was interesting and fun. I hadn’t imagined there were so many things to know about eyewear, it is a fascinating world.”
“When you look at my textiles it is as if you have been on a world tour alongside me.” John Robshaw
Available at www.johnrobshaw.com, sunglass design has been a new departure for the John Robshaw Textiles emporium which specialises in bedding, wardrobe, tabletop, curtains and travel accessories. The frames have unique decorations and all the benefits of the quality artisan finish of a Mondelliani design. The frame shape Sanganer, one of the first styles created in the collection is inspired by an old Indian frame, recovered by John during one of his trips in Asia.
The John Robshaw brand continues to expand through new collaborative projects, although Robshaw’s passion for the world keeps him on the road as much as possible. “By working abroad I became a minor character in the lives of the people I work with, and get inspired by what I see and do there. I go to their weddings, celebrate their festivals, get sick with them. I develop relationships with the people who are teaching me.” For more information about John Robshaw and Mondelliani, Rome, visit www.mondelliani.it / www.johnrobshaw.com/fashion/sunglasses.htmlCN
Produced for the exclusive Yacht Club in Capri, Italy, the dapper limited Edition Pearson (BF730) by Blackfin delivers all the attributes of a hand-finished technical titanium frame in an exciting new colour way: an exterior in opaque charcoal grey and interior in ‘Serendipity’ blue, the official colour of the anchor in the Yacht Club’s logo.
Created ahead of the Rolex Capri International Regatta last month in a run of just 50 styles, each of the styles was customised with the wording, “Yacht Club Capri 2016”. Blackfin frames are exclusively produced in Agordino, Belluno, Italy, in line with a specific ethos referred to as “neomadeinitaly” – a term that is designed to underline authenticity, Italian provenance and commitment to its local team and environment. www.blackfin.euCN
The elegant gardens of the Villa Da Schio and its much loved flower show – “Oltre il giardino” – provided the perfect surroundings for designer Lucia Pasin’s collection of Flower Glasses and Sunglasses the weekend before last near Vicenza. LU.PA studio welcomed friends and opticians to the event which takes place in May each year and features flower stalls and exhibitors specialising in antiques, artisan gifts and handmade jewellery.
The original designs by LU.PA Studio, inspired by Pasin’s brightly coloured floral paintings, include statement cateye shapes and bold round frames – for men and women.
LU.PA studio – from Belluno – was created in 2012 and the first collection, Antheia, was launched in February 2015, featuring six individualistic models in 24 colours/patterns. All the frames are designed and produced from start to finish in northern Italy. The 18th century Villa da Schio is a historic Venetian-style villa – home to the Trento and da Schio families for over 300 years – with splendid gardens and sculptures by Orazio Marinali. For more information visit www.lupastudio.it / www.villadaschio.itCN
The man behind the luxury label Finest Seven has designed international eyewear collections as well as setting up his own British label in 2011 – with Ainjali Fine. Since our first interview with Jesse Stevens in July of that year, the label has become sought after for its authentic luxury style and attention to technical detail and precise handcrafting, a focus it has upheld and developed throughout the last five years.
What is your view of eyewear and how it has changed since you started working in it? I love the eyewear industry. I am constantly learning and take great pleasure in gaining knowledge from the old makers of the eyewear world – when frames were literally made by hand. I have a small workshop where I make frames by hand for friends and family. There is an increasing number of new brands coming to the eyewear market compared to when I first started over 10 years ago. The main point of change is the amount of fashion brands wanting to expand their accessories ranges to include eyewear or fashion brands wanting to do collaborations with existing eyewear houses under license.
You are an innovator and design expert in eyewear….how did you get to that point? I have always had an affinity towards a simple but beautiful design aesthetic, first gaining a degree in sculpture, I then obtained a scholarship to attend a product design school in Paris. I became friends with the son of famed Spanish sculptor Miguel Berrocal. He made it sound like his dad did it for a hobby but in fact he was a highly achieved artist who had made a very successful career out of being a sculptor. I ended up working as his apprentice for two years.
I then moved back to New Zealand to finish my 2nd degree in Product Design. After working on various design projects including furniture, interiors, architectural fittings and lighting I finally found work with Cutler and Gross as a production manager and designer working under Marie Wilkinson, where I learnt my craft.
I have found that my combined skills and experiences have shaped the way I design. I see eyewear as design objects as well as sculptures in their own right. I am very interested in the idea of functional sculpture and eyewear definitely fits into this group of products.
You have worked for top level eyewear companies including Roland Mouret, Oliver Goldsmith and Kering. How has that experience enriched your work? Working with different brands means that I get to experience building and contributing to a wide range of styles and concepts. This strengthens the scope of my design work and also allows me to be flexible and robust within my design thinking and problem solving. As a consultant designer I am very happy to have a wide variety within my client base, some production work, some smaller niche brands as well as the larger commercial projects. An ideal stable of clients includes a broad mix of projects and this is when I am happiest.
What most inspires you? Are you an archive fanatic? I really enjoy referencing the past and am a keen vintage eyewear collector. I love to learn about the history of eyewear and have recently been studying the Anger family from Austria and their contribution to the eyewear industry. One of whom owned Silhouette, another owned Viennaline that went onto become Optyl, producing collections for Carrera and Serge Kirchhofer. The third developing the first automatic machinery for cutting out eyewear from acetate revolutionising the whole industry. A truly great family achievement. As a starting point I always start with a brief or a description of the desired outcome supplied by my clients. Sometimes this is very much based in historical context, other times I am able to develop a completely separate narrative that allows me to design a collection without reflecting on vintage product at all. Complex brands like Alexander McQueen require a profound knowledge of the brand and a very close working relationship with their internal team to produce something that resonates with the brands DNA.
What makes the independent eyewear niche interesting now? Independent eyewear is getting better and better – the design, the quality, the passion. A few years ago, 3D modelling was a bit of a dream, but now many top brands are using this technique. Another obvious development in niche brands has been the sheer number of them in the market. It is a buyer’s market now with a vast number of exciting small brands starting up. From the public’s point of view the market is offering a wonderful range of eyewear for every taste.
What is your focus now at Finest Seven? What has changed since we first interviewed you in 2011?
We still appreciate clean minimalist lines in our eyewear and are now moving towards superlight metal, in shapes that are interesting and at the same time very easy to wear. We have streamlined our packaging and been thinking a lot about the future and how we can make Finest Seven memorable in a very full market. We still enjoy working with a small family brand that is able to offer a level of personal service and care that are impossible to achieve on a larger scale. As we grow, it is important to focus on this and make sure we continue to make eyewear that we are proud of and reflect our core values.
Where can we find Finest Seven glasses? Is your distribution expanding? Up until now we have simply visited stores that we liked as we travel around the world for work and pleasure. We are only a small family team this has been fantastic but unfortunately we are not able to physically get everywhere we need to be. We have finally begun to look into using agents. If it were possible, I think we would both prefer to work out of our studio in east London and stay small, but business doesn’t work like that so we are working to grow in the best way possible. www.finestseven.com CN
“Ottica Urbani started to produce eyewear in 1953, with a collection in cellulose acetate by Mazzucchelli 1849, handmade in Cadore,” explains Fosca Urbani, one of three siblings who run the eyewear business today.
“Today we have two shops in Venice – one at the Lido, by the Des Bains Hotel and one just steps away from Piazza San Marco. We are stocking brands like Kuboraum, JF Rey and BOZ as well as our own collection of handmade designs.” The business has a simple yet precise philosophy when it comes to its own line: to bring inspiration from the lively artistic and cultural context of Venice and the city’s magical beauty. The Urbani frames are made from water buffalo horn, wood, stainless steel and high-quality acetate with inserts made of fabric and – incredibly – Venetian glass. “This eyewear,” explains Fosca, “is the result of our creative experimentation; it is designed to “dress” the face, a symbol for a lively, colourful and optimistic personality.”
During our visit to the store, we saw the Pantos style worn by Sir Elton John, frames decorated with small animals, as well us some “limited edition” designs with a special connection to Venice.”Tondo Murano is the classic round dedicated to Le Corbusier inset with unique embedded Murano glass “millefiori” beads produced the famous Ercole Moretti company.”
Model Ice, on the other hand, is a statement design produced by hand with an uneven outer rim that is elegant, expressive and perfectly Venetian in spirit.
For further information about Ottica Urbani or to purchase their Venetian frames online, visit www.otticaurbani.comCN
Behind with an upgrade for summer? Our eye is on the classic sunglasses with a twist where overtones of iconic designs mix with modern details and luxury materials.
From Australia, AM Eyewear proposes instant beach style. The round statement model Chico has a double bridge, a quintessentially flattering round eye shape and milkwhite (pictured) acetate temples. Custom materials including Japanese titanium, leather and handmade acetate are a feature of their Salt on Skin 2016 Spring/Summer line. www.ameyewear.com
French label Vue DC unites French expertise in artisan production with creative excellence. Model Neo offers effortless elegance with a polished refinement that eyewear aficionados will appreciate. The honey shade is soft on pale complexions and very pretty with the subtle green vintage-feel lens. www.vuedc.com
Shapes are diverse this season – for men and women. Norwegian brand Karmoie has released the fine unisex silhouette – model Star – where the balance of old-school charm, a modern colour palette and a pale lens tint brings an up-to-the-minute finish to the design. Karmoie is a buy one give one company: they donate a pair of eyejusters for every pair of sunglasses sold. www.karmoie.com
For those who are passionate about a classical shape, Super Man 1 by Woow is a lovely modified option – fantastic colour ways give a fresh dynamic style that is attractive and easy to wear. www.wooweyewear.com CN
Italian artist Lucia Pasin has produced another unique and evocative eyewear collection, launched in Milan in March. Model Esperia – in the designer’s EOS optical collection – is a feminine, oversized cat eye shape, bold and inimitable with its lush floral motif, a watercolour design by Pasin, transformed with exceptional results onto eyewear. Made in Italy, every frame is slightly different in the design and colour featured, in keeping with the handpainted works by the artist, who says the flower theme was inspired by Frida Kahlo. Wear with coordinating florals or statement colours and stand out in the crowd. For more information about the collection, visit www.lupastudio.it CN
A series of statement sunnies by the US label Smoke x Mirrors plays with acetate and clever combinations of colour and shape for instant impact and fashion-led flair. The Sodapop collection includes five quirky shapes: model SM142 layers a circle over a modified softened triangle in silky acetate with an old-world 50s infused pattern similar to mother-of-pearl. Colour combinations offer a welcome solution for the transition into the warmer Spring days: as well as a pretty grey/white pairing (above), find exclusive tortoise with a bright pop of yellow and super soft pale pink with white. For full details visit www.smokexmirrors.comCN