The Rookery, Clerkenwell, London

An elegant hotel where kids are welcome

7th April 2011 I recently met a friend for tea at The Rookery; she was staying and I rather wanted to see how it feels inside. The hotel is out of the centre of London in Clerkenwell, a popular area slightly to the North of central London with plenty of interesting bars and restaurants. Housed in a converted row of Georgian buildings, the interior is filled with fine furniture and accessories creating a warm, homely yet stylish setting.

'Mary Lane' room at the historic Rookery

This is a hotel that gets recommended by word-of-mouth and the sort of place that you can look forward to staying in.  And I love the way they are very accommodating to children. Cots and rollaway beds are available, and this is not always the case in hotels. Babysitters can also be pre-arranged.

Should you be looking to stop over in a more central location, I would choose Hazlitt’s, the sister hotel, which is perfectly located for the theatres near Piccadilly and Oxford Street, and equally as exceptional in terms of comfort, individuality, and elegance. CN




Lunch in central London

The Gallery, Fortnum & Mason

4th April, 2011 I recently had lunch with Joan at The Gallery in Fortnums, which is one of a number of places to eat inside London’s famous luxury food emporium. I arrived practically out of breath after a much delayed train journey, so I was really looking forward to a quiet lunch in the airy restaurant which overlooks the ground floor food hall. The menu includes some excellent main courses such as wild sea bream  as well as classics such as risotto and homemade tagliatelle. I chose the burger with tomato and basil relish and chips, given that I was hungry after the journey, which left me stranded on a train for an extra hour and a half without any snacks! And it was perfectly yummy, with everything you would hope for in a classic dish such as this, delicious crispy potatoes, and fresh garnishes with the meat which I really enjoyed. There are lighter choices, and Joan had one of these….her preference for seafood is well catered to here, and the smoked salmon and scrambled egg on sourdough bread is a favourite, she says! We booked in advance on the internet which is a very practical idea, I’d meet friends or have lunch meetings here for work, it’s an ideal place to stop in the busy streets of Piccadilly. In fact I’m planning to take the kids soon, I think it would be a great treat for them; but they will have their eye on the choice of puddings and the Banoffee Pie I expect. CN

April issue: eye on children’s design


This edition features children’s frames, and nowadays kids love to wear glasses — it’s so grown-up and cool! So for the past weeks, I’ve been researching designers and companies who have children’s collections that kids will enjoy wearing, and that parents will approve of.  Meanwhile, Clodagh has been on a fact-finding mission with her children to check out fun, creative places and shopping ideas for kids in London. We now update Eyestylist regularly – so be sure to check out Boutiques, Design & Inspiration, and City Guides for what’s new and happening in optics and other events during the month, for kids and adults too.  Enjoy! JG


Royal Wedding Day

29th April 2011 To celebrate the wedding, and to pay hommage to British couture brand Alexander McQueen, and Sarah Burton, the designer of Ms. Middleton’s wedding dress, a gorgeous fairy tale design, featuring elegant handmade lace…

This is one of the McQueen sunglass styles currently in the shops….it’s a clean simple design, that would make a wonderful memento of the occasion, with the classic McQueen skull head featured in miniature. CN


Model TD15703

Trussardi 1911

26th April 2011 The May edition of Eyestylist focuses on beautiful sunglasses, however, with the wonderful weather that most of Europe is experiencing this Spring, we thought readers would enjoy an advance preview.  It’s time to celebrate sunglasses!

The acclaimed Italian company, Trussardi, is recognised for their luxurious accessories, with meticulous and subtle elegance.  These  sunglasses are a perfect example.  The metal frame front is sandwiched between two layers of smooth acetate, which is gracefully sculpted into a chic, modern cat eye design.  I’ve tried various styles in the collection – these are my favourite! The Trussardi 1911 collection is named to commemorate the founding year of the prestigious fashion house. JG

Cazal Legends

Limited Edition of favourite 1980s styles

23rd April 2011 I have followed Cazal for years. Designer Cari Zalloni has a unique style, and is particularly popular for his very individual designs of the 1980s. So this Limited Edition will become sought after..the company is re-releasing its four top sellers of the 80s, models CAZAL 623 – 856 – 901 and 904. The drawings of the models by Zalloni are great examples of the designer’s attention to detail, exuberance and passion for eyewear.

Model 904 by Cazal

Cazal’s 1980s vintage frames are increasingly sought after and the original editions of these models are quite rare, so collectors love them; it’s likely the new interpretations will attract excitement all over again (the rap world loves the Cazal label especially – Jay Z wears some of the classic styles – as does Usher, the R&B star).

Model 623 by Cazal


For more on the German based Cazal brand and to view the full collection visit CN

Royal College of Art

Looking to the Future

21st April 2011 Potential budding young eyewear designers, students at London’s prestigious Royal College of Art – – were invited to submit their creations for the 2011 Optrafair, held in Birmingham this month.  The participants let their imaginations flow, and used materials normally associated with eyewear, plus they experimented with the unusual – rice, twisted wire-work, silks, textured weaves and boiled wool. First prize winner Claire Zeng was inspired by a visit to London’s Gagosian Gallery to see a light exhibition. Zeng said that the architecture and colours of the Arizona dessert also tweaked her creativity. Her winning entry in acetate blends geometry and modernity, plus Zeng said she wanted some “playfulness”. UK frame manufacturers Premiere Optical Services, produced the prototypes. JG

Chic and oh so cool!

Children’s eyewear

17th  April 2011 As the April edition of Eyestylist highlights children’s frames, we thought our readers would like to see how great kids look in their glasses. We’ve had lots of images sent to us that beautifully illustrate how comfortable, cool and chic the young set is wearing specs.  Style aware kids already know the power of eyewear as a fashion accessory! Pictured above, boy wearing Zoobug Aviators ( JG

Helsinki by Red Children's Eyewear (





Helsinki by Red Children's Eyewear in red (


Ophus by Lindberg (



Clara by i.c. berlin (








Marc by Marc Jacobs

14th April 2011 Stripes are fashionably prevalent this season.  In eyewear, Marc Jacobs introduces a new acetate sunglass collection with a jaunty, glamorous spirit.  This 1980’s inspired multi-coloured design features vertical stripes on the temples.  Available in a variety of chic colours, these frames possess both a modern and vintage feel.  The striking colour combinations add distinct zing to spring outfits.  Jacobs, who studied fashion in New York City at the renowned Parsons School of Design, is an award-winning designer whose clothing and accessories are sought after by an international following of style aware clients. JG

Trend alert: the iconic cat

Terry by Face à Face

12th April 2011 The catseye has been a major success this season, and it’s still right up there. I have a special fondness for this shape as it was the first interesting spectacle shape I wore when I started to report about frame design some 12 years ago. Face à Face has presented me with this marvellous retro cat shape today which oozes elegance…the extra touch I love is the charming little 1950s inspired metal insert on each side of the front which catches the light. There are plenty of ‘cats’ around at the moment but the quality ones such as model Terry here are a delight. For more styles by this Parisian eyewear design company visit the website CN



Julbo Eyewear

11th April 2011 The same family has run this distinctive French brand since 1888.  Julbo Eyewear focuses on technical innovations, and their children’s collection of fine quality sunglasses takes into consideration the delicacy of young eyes.  Double injection Polypropylene is soft and supple, and quality, shock resistant lenses and a wraparound shape insure perfect protection with Solan, shown above.  Little adventurers will like the soft touch of the material against their skin, and parents will be delighted that the frames offer comfort, and stay put on little faces! JG

Aviator (M03 and M03b)

Zoobug Sunglasses

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Dr. Julie Diem Le and following her career from the start in 2006.  In the intervening years, the company she founded, Zoobug, with its range of high quality children’s glasses, has won several prestigious awards, including a Silmo D’Or. As an eye surgeon, she understands that youngsters need sunglasses that protect young, vulnerable eyes. This dashing aviator, shown here in pink, is also available in green, blue and gold, and is available in two sizes, for 3-5 year olds and 6-12 year olds.  Made in Italy, in hypoallergenic stainless steel with flex hinges, and polycarbonate UV 400 lenses, these frames possess safety and style features that appeal to parents and kids. Zoobug frames can be purchased online at JG

EK 5055

EK Emmanuelle Khanh Junior Collection

During the 1970’s, French designer Emmanuelle Khanh beamed into the fashion limelight with her superb ready-to-wear clothes, accessories and the most exciting, super-sized frames.  Her devoted fans included Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve.  Ms. Khanh has subsequently retired, but her tradition of glamorous, edgy frames lives on for adults, and luckily, now for children as well. The EK Junior Collection includes both optical and sun styles, with the model above inspired from frames beloved by Mum and Dad.  Beautifully hand-crafted in France in silken acetate, this bold rimmed design is certain to be a favourite with young fashionistas.  The frames can be purchased online at Little Fashion Gallery for more information: JG

Style 48 Junior Chic

Linda Farrow Luxe Kids

London based Linda Farrow is known for her exquisite accessories with vintage flair.  Now she brings the same creativity to LF Luxe Kids frames for boys and girls, in luxury materials including 24k gold, and the flexibility of spring hinges. These super-retro sunglasses in smooth acetate with shatter proof lenses, are an exact translation from an adult style,  crafted to fit small faces.  The mink and white gold colouring is sure to please youngsters who like to follow trends.  LF Luxe Kids can be found at Go British (, and at L’Eclaireur in Paris ( JG

Sally (M3101)

ic! berlin

Nowadays, youngsters are very fashion aware – they know what they like – and don’t – from a young age.  German optical company, ic! berlin knows how to tap into what kids want, and what they are comfortable wearing.  These really cool sunglasses, in chrome with trendy green lenses, and cut out nose piece and temples, are sure to be a hit with style conscious youngsters.  The frames are lightweight, yet robust, and can cope with wear and tear.  Fur further details, visit JG


Karavan Kids

These colourful, fun sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses for babies provide style and protection against the sun’s potentially harmful rays to developing eyes. Prunelle is an environmentally friendly product as well – the frames are made out of castor oil.  Yes! Castor oil! The French based company wanted to make a “green” product that would be safe for baby’s fragile skin and eyes, and they have succeeded with this snappy little design.  Spring hinges and silicone nose pads ensure that the frames stay in place. Further details: JG



The Kid/Teen frames from Lindberg enable youngsters to have a positive eyewear experience, with their ultra-light, flexible and adjustable designs, that fit comfortably on a child’s face.  The architectural concept of Orion is an exceptionally high-quality frame that is nickel-free and hypoallergenic.  Although very stylish and extremely lightweight, the frames are strong and sturdy, and can withstand virtually anything. Over the years, Lindberg has amassed 47 design prizes for their imaginative, innovative frames. JG

Further details at

Model Barcelona

Red Children’s Eyewear

Round shapes are trendy for adults now, and children love them too.  This is a fun design by Netherlands based Red Children’s Eyewear, who launched their first kid’s collection in 2008.  They produce funky and original styles that children can relate to, in high quality materials.  Barcelona, in stainless steel and acetate is available in bright, fresh red (featured) plus a great purple, muted pink, grey and black. Red Children’s Eyewear designs are available in Brussels at SPRL Sonkes and in Munich at The Eyewear Store. For more information go to JG

Vanni Tribe 3403

Nico Design

Italian style and flair are evident in this acetate and metal frame by Vanni, with its elegant shape that is strong and durable.  Parents particularly appreciate those traits! Colours are classic for more serious tastes, like the black and white frame featured, or they are available in snappy lime/black or fluorescent yellow/black.  Other colours in the new Vanni Tribe collection include red, purple and fuchsia, to adapt to the wide range of  teenage fashion demands.  Vanni is part of Nico Design, an optical company based in the cultural and historically rich city of Turin.  Their trendsetting creations have captured a Silmo D’Or and a design award from Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. JG

Alfrik and Bumber

Fleye Eyewear

Colourful, innovative and kid-tested! Fleye Eyewear is a Danish company whose latest collection was inspired by youngsters who gave their ideas on colours, shapes and design.  Colour was high on the list of the children’s demands, so the collection includes bold, hip tones of lime, turquoise and lilac.  Materials are completely free of nickel and other potentially allergenic substances. The styles above are in acetate and beta-titanium in snazzy lime green and black.  You can find Fleye Eyewear for kids at Auerbach & Steele in London and at Kidzz Eyezz in Amsterdam.  Further info at JG

Eye’DJ JO91

Eye’DC Junior Collection

The children’s collection Eye’DJ from Marseilles based Eye’DC merges uncluttered design with child-friendly materials.  Winners of a Silmo D’Or in 2009, the current collection is modern and free flowing, with sculptured shapes in stainless steel.  The colour play of the featured design between the top bar and the rim is a distinctive touch. Shape selections include oval, rectangular and round.  These frames are incredibly lightweight, yet designed to cope with playground antics. Eye’DJ can be found at Optique Vie in Roquebrune Cap Martin and more details at JG


The big city with kids

As this is our kid’s edition, I have been looking into a few places that aren’t as well known as some kids destinations in London but definitely offer lots of fun and interest.

One of these is the V&A’s Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green (pictured above) which houses an impressive collection of children’s toys, games, clothing, furniture and other exciting artefacts relating to little ones through history. I went to the museum with my four year old to while a way a Sunday morning. First we came across “Doll Face”, an eye-catching exhibition of photographs by portrait and still-life photographer Craig Deane depicting dolls from the extensive collection owned by the museum. (The exhibition ended 27th March but you can see the whole series of images at, they are really incredible images and slightly creepy but my boy was fascinated by them). Continue reading “London”

Children’s stores, London

Shopping recommendations

London has some great shops for kids, here are my favourite boutiques and shops for clothes, toys and furniture. (Pictured above: Their Nibs).

Caramel Baby & Child This exquisite shop is growing, there are branches in Brompton Road, Pavilion Road (Sloane Square) and Ledbury Road (Notting Hill). The store prides itself on very individual items, and paired down everyday clothing with a touch of luxury.

Green Baby, Notting Hill My babies may have grown up a bit but they spent their early years in cotton baby grows and pyjamas from this cute environmentally sound store.

Igloo, King’s Road The ‘it’ boutique for kids in the King’s Road. A branch can also be found in Islington. Expect to find brands such as Ikks, Petit Bateau, Mookie, even Hunter Wellies.

Jigsaw Junior, 190 Westbourne Grove I have a very fond memory of this store in Notting Hill as this is where I took my bridesmaid Lucia to choose her outfit for my wedding….back in 2002. The shop is as wonderful today, with particular emphasis on fashions for girls, and the all important party dress or frock as my grandmother would have called them.

Habitat Home ideas and accessories for kids such as baskets for practical, fun storage to encourage tidying up. Also love the kid’s bedding and wooden toys here.

Marie Chantal Beautiful upmarket classics for children. Luxurious therefore pricey, but there are lots of lovely accessories and it’s a great place to look for outfits for special occasions.

Continue reading “Children’s stores, London”

Little Opta, Paris

An eyewear boutique ‘just for kids’

Tucked away in the atmospheric environment of Montmartre is an adorable children’s optical boutique, the inspiration of Parisian optician Annette Hoffmann. The enterprising Hoffmann has three other optical locations in Montmartre, but she has a particular philosophy for youngsters.  “Children have their own shops for clothes, shoes and toys, so I thought ‘why not a boutique just for children’s optics?’ I believe that children need a special place of their own to try on eyewear.”

Display of sunglasses, Little Opta


Hoffmann opened the little jewel of a boutique – it’s just 25 square meters – four year ago, on a lovely tree-lined street in Montmartre, an area beloved by painters Renoir, Van Gogh and Picasso. The shop’s sparkling white interior is enhanced with antiques, another passion of Hoffmann’s. As the leading optician in the area for decades, she knows the value of offering superior quality frames and personal service.

“We like to make appointments and spend time with parents and their children; kids love to look at the frames and then pick out what they want to try on.  Children like to wear glasses now, because it is really cool.” Little Opta offers only the crème de la crème from companies, as Hoffmann points out that creating quality frames for kids requires technical knowledge of a child’s face. The boutique stocks Lafont, ic! berlin, Karavan Kids, and Eye’DJ, among others. Little Opta is a charming oasis for kid’s frames, and opticians Jennifer and Victor are on hand to provide a warm and professional optical experience for both parents and their children. JG

Little Opta, 81, rue Caulaincourt 75018 Paris Tel: +33 (0) 1 4254 12 60

Remy Charlip and l.a. eyeworks

A dance for the eyes

6th April 2011 During a meeting in Milan, l.a. eyeworks ( introduced me to the books of the American author and illustrator Remy Charlip, of which Arm in Arm is a true classic for children, and most often cited. Remy is now in his eighties, and rather wonderfully he has collaborated with the Los Angeles eyewear designers to produce a design for their lens cloths this year (image above). The commission brief was for a design that would be a “dance for the eyes”.  This is one of the first drawings that Remy has created since he suffered a stroke some years ago, making it all the more incredible; it is likely to become a highly sought after accessory.

For anyone who is lucky enough to be close to Parma in Italy in the next weeks, there is an exhibition about Remy’s amazing designs and illustrations entitled “Remy Charlip, danzare il mio libro” which is on until 25th April (Galleria San Ludovico). Some of Remy’s original editions are on display, as well as drawings and the many books that he has written and illustrated. The exhibition is part of the Festival Minimondi. For more information visit CN


Boudoir, Venice

Launch on the web

4th April, 2011 One of our favourite stores in Venice, which sells frames by brands like Reiz, TD Tom Davies, l.a. eyeworks and Lindberg but also jewellery and other interesting accessories and furnishings, has launched a new website at

One of the reasons we have been following this store is that the owner, Alessandro De Lorenzo has launched a project to find a young eyewear designer called the DES-EYE-N Award, organised by LAB30100. Collaborating with prestigious stores around the world (see list below) the competition, which is designed for MA students studying fashion, product or industrial design, is open until end of April (30th) this year and entry is free of charge. For more information visit

The ten optical stores collaborating in the project LAB30100 are:

Boudoir Venice; Optic Extrascharf, Berlin; Nathalie Bladt, Leuven; Oliver Goldsmith store, London; Optika Eclectic Eyewear, Saskatoon, Canada; Gogosha Optique, LA; Bruce Eyewear, Vancouver; Visual Culture Optical, Hong Kong; Loonen Brillenmakers, Oosterhout, the Netherlands; and Optica Toscana, Madrid.



Colour blocking for children

With so much on colour blocking in grown-up fashion, I’ve been looking around for how this trend is coming into its own in childrenswear. It has filtered in to some of the coolest kid’s clothing and sunglass collections. Go totally mono colour if you dare! We think it’s a great choice for Spring/Summer. CN

YUMMY YELLOW 1. Leather Ballet Flats (buttercup) from Boden, from £26, 2. Stella McCartney Henry T-shirt, in sunshine from £21.00 3. Ruffle Jersey Dress (sulphur flower) by Boden, from £24.00 4. Daisy 3 by Zoobug with CR39 UV 400 cat 3 lens, from £25,


BOLD BLUE 1.Oscar coat (sharp blue), 100 euros, from Finger in the Nose 2. Sunglass model VL1071 by Vuarnet, 3. Dalton Sharp Blue Shark Short Sleeve Tee from Finger in the Nose 4. Canvas shoes from Bensimon,


HOT RED 1. Icon slim fit jeans, Finger in the Nose, from 75 euros, 2. ZB4 by Zoobug, from £29, 3. Trainers by Veja, 4. FC72 T-Shirt £12 to £14, French Connection,


Where to eat

There are lots of places in London that are used to kids, and lots that prefer you not to venture in with noisy under 7s! I have been testing the waters a little more now my kids are getting a bit older and more used to eating out in different types of restaurants. I regularly choose to eat in Spanish places in London. One of my favourites is Tapas Brindisa in Borough Market. The Brindisa shop is just a few steps away, and this is where I stock up on Arbequina Extra Virgin olive oil and chorizo and may be some delicious Ortiz tuna. Tapas Brindisa is a reliable choice for fresh, authentic Spanish tapas, using ingredients sourced from the Brindisa storecupboard and UK producers including some of the Borough Market food specialists. When I visited last week with my 4 year old, we chose a large selection of hams, which included Serrano, Recebo and Carved Iberico de Bellota, my favourite. We also tried the traditional tortilla. A fine looking vanilla ice cream was served up for pudding and my little companion was delighted. Had we wanted to be a bit more adventurous there were lots more enticing hot dishes I would have liked to have tried including pork belly and quince and prawns al ajillo. I will be making a trip back soon, probably with the whole family. Brindisa currently has 4 restaurants in London including Casa Brindisa, South Kensington, pictured above, and the very centrally located Tierra Brindisa in Broadwick Street.