28th June 2011 A new exhibition opens at Somerset House this week, highlighting some of Italy’s mega fashion brands. Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Gucci, Prada and Missoni are represented through the years in a photographic display commemorating the passion, flair and creativity of Italian style. The images are accompanied by personal stories, reflections and anecdotes of the Italian designers themselves. CN
Pictured above: Gucci S/S 1991. Picture supplied courtesy of Gucci. Exhibition opens 1st July to 14th August at Somerset House, Embankment Galleries, London, UK
For our June edition, we explore the intriguing aspects of global eyewear materials. Clodagh and I are always fascinated at how science and technology enhance the realisation of luxurious and unique eyewear. Remember to check out Boutiques for savvy eyewear shopping, and Design and Inspiration provides market and trend updates. Throughout the month, we’ll also bring you current events in City Guides. Welcome to new discoveries – and June Eyestylist! JG
28th June Today I have Gold and Wood’s sunglass model Galaxy 2 in my hand, and it’s really quite something. I have seen nearly all the wood eyewear collections this year and each one is unique. This particular style from the luxury brand Gold & Wood is lightweight, and very sophisticated, produced in ebony with an incredible geometric 3D decoration in amourette wood – this detail reminds me of a medieval bas-relief, except the style of the patterning is timeless. It’s certainly a classic sunglass design and the use of wood will have great appeal to connoisseurs of fine craftsmanship and minute attention to detail. CN
21st June 2011 The onset of summer reminds me of this wonderful French chateau I stayed in this time last year. And I can’t resist featuring it here, and am hopeful I will soon get a chance to go back. It is just off the motorway which many travellers use to go from Normandy to South West France…and it’s everything you might want from a luxury stopover with a very intimate atmosphere that makes you feel like you turned up at a friend’s house – although it’s a very large rambling place with stunning furnishings, a mix of French country house, bohemian elegance with some lovely eccentric touches.
We arrived as a family after 6 hours driving on the motorway; my boys went straight for the pool and enjoyed their early supper in the garden. They were particularly intrigued by their wood panelled room – adjacent to our room, the Chambre des Canards and the very ancient bathroom (with modern fittings of course). This place should be kept a secret, it’s the perfect chateau for unwinding, and the unpretentious hosts make you feel extremely welcome. I have stayed in many other chambres d’hotes and chateaux in France and this is the very best I can recommend. There is very little doubt that you could feel anything but delighted to visit this wonderful hotel and well-loved family home! www.chateau-saintpaterne.com CN
Iconic Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto can always be relied upon to deliver the unexpected in his creations. His visionary approach to clothing overlaps art, fashion and celebrity, and he blends strong hints of his native culture with modernity. This retrospective at the V&A, also includes his revolutionary menswear. Yamamoto loves fabrics that flow, and then he uses his fertile imagination to create unanticipated cuts, drapes, folds, pleats and sculpture, to captivate the wearer. He challenges the fabric to do what he demands. His other accomplishments include costumes for Richard Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde, performed at the Bayreuth Festival, plus he achieved a law degree before embarking on his fashion career, and he is advanced in karate. Truly a Renaissance Man. This exhibition features stunning examples of Yamamoto’s work,and is an exciting celebration of an idiosyncratic and skillful fashion creator. At the Victoria & Albert Museum through 10 July 2011. www.vam.ac.uk JG
Children’s fashion and design from every corner of the world
24th June 2011 This is a great show for kid’s fashion, inspiring and always very friendly. The mix of fashion, accessories and design and homeware includes some of the most interesting international and home-grown labels for infants and children. I have put together a few of the beautiful things that caught my eye, and some of the labels have provided me with some wonderful images to share with you. First, and pictured above, is Folk & Flora stationary by Norwegian label Darling Clementine, which of course I had to bring up, for its little spectacle motif; I love the 50s illustrative mood of this design and i’ve seen they do a print of it too (available at www.darlingclementine.no).Other products include pretty notebooks, cushions and tea trays.
Eyestylist favourite Zoobug exhibited at the show for the first time, with its main collection (boy wearing wayfarer in black below) and new Official London 2012 sunglass collection for 0-12s (produced under licence), featuring models which promise to be iconic must-have accessories for the London Olympics. www.zoobug.com
Kid’s fashion labels that set the mood for 2012 included Jessie and James, a label that underlines high quality British manufacturing. I liked the nautical dresses and their eye-catching imagery, also on show at www.jessieandjames.co.uk
At very cute label Tootsa MacGinty, the emphasis was on colourful, hard-wearing unisex clothing – I was really impressed by the practicality and long-lasting qualities of these cleverly designed clothes which can be passed down to siblings or friends, both the girls and the boys!
Another favourite for me was Zee & Zo, a swimwear label from the Netherlands. Their girls’ collection brims with pretty colours and super teeny-tiny prints and their boys surfer shorts are everything a boy of 6 or 7 plus would consider cool and fun to wear. www.zee-zo.com
Ta Daa Baby is an inspiration and one of the trendsetters making beautiful clothes in France from recycled materials. www.tadaababy.com
General trends in kid’s clothing such as ‘green’ or recycled fabrics, vintage design inspirations, cute motifs and vibrant colour and fabric combinations are looking exciting for next S/S, judging by this show. I have just mentioned a few favourites in passing, I hope to find out more about some of the great collections for little ones that exhibit annually at Bubble, in the weeks and months ahead. CN
22 June 2011 Shwood Sunglasses are handmade in Oregon, using a manufacturing process which merges precision technology with traditional craftsmanship. This week I have tried one of their sunglass designs on for the first time; I am much more familiar with the European brands producing wood frames so this was a fun exercise. The style I have is chunky and you get an immediate feel for the lovely natural texture and pattern of the wood from which it is made. The frames are treated with organic waxes and oils to protect them, but are unpolished so they look as unprocessed as possible. The wood used comes from sustainably harvested resources and include Cherry, East India Rosewood and Zebrawood.
If you’ve considered a wood sunglass style then this is definitely a brand to look at. Wood is a very stylist material in eyewear this year and we expect this popularity to grow. Shwood does a nice job of layering the sheets of wood (2-ply for temples and 3 for the fronts) and this gives a practical flexibility to the sunglasses. Details such as the Carl Zeiss lenses with 100% UVA/UVB protection and attractive soft pouch in tweed and leather add to the overall effect of quality and quirky creativity. More coming up soon on the best wood frames and where to buy them. www.shwoodshop.comCN
21st June 2011 French magistrate and European Parliament member Eva Joly, is as well known for the distinctive red frames perched on her nose, as she is for her strong support of Europe’s ecology issues. The Norwegian born politician is a fan of the small, round frame with a horseshoe nosepiece by Pierre Cariven, designer and founder of Pierre Eyewear. His handcrafted designs are recognised for their quirky, fun approach to eyewear. Bright red acetate forms the front of Emma, and the sides are in tortoise acetate. Pierre Eyewear is available in Paris at Optique des Entrepreneurs, 39 rue Entrepreneurs 75015, Paris. www.pierre-eyewear.comJG
17th June 2011 Elegance, beauty and refinement have been the hallmark of stunning Trussardi accessories for 100 years. The Italian company’s eyewear collection in beautiful materials and superb colours is lovingly crafted, and there is a great selection of styles. This design I particularly like, with its voluminous shape that shields the eyes from the sun’s penetrating rays on summer days. Matte acetate comfortably caresses the eye area, and the frame is a pleasure to wear. Three desirable colour choices – the rich purple featured above, a soft “demi” brown, and a strong havana. Tru Trussardi frames are available at Piccadilly Opticians, 13 Piccadilly Arcade, New Street in Birmingham. Further info at www.trussardi.comJG
The Fantastic History of Eyewear by Dominique Cuvillier
15th June 2011 If eyewear and fashion are passions, make immediate space on your shelves for this excellent book. Dominique Cuvillier is a trend consultant, writer, and collector of eyewear. This well-researched book, with a preface by Alain Mikli, and richly illustrated with superb photos, traces the history of eyewear from its origins in the 14th Century to the present. Grand names – past and present – vividly reveal the evolution of eyewear and its status as a style statement. Le Grand Livre Des Lunettes is a grand celebration of eyewear. Published by E/P/A Hachette Livre – éditions du Chêne www.editionsduchene.frJG
14th June 2011 The variety of effects you can get in a plastic frame are close to unimaginable. But after looking at thousands of styles made of plastic over the years, I have come to learn how much this material varies in quality. For any consumers out there buying a chunky acetate frame or with that intention, be really sure you are getting a high quality one; you will see they hold colour and pattern better making them look a whole lot more stylish than the ordinary and rather tacky poor quality ones.
When a few opticians point out a collection they like which is doing well, it must mean something! The current Paul Smith optical and sunglass line is one of these that has been brought to my attention a few times over the Spring. This unisex optical example above, with the eloquent literary name ‘Tennyson’, is one that caught my eye at a recent press day…primarily owing to the interesting effect of the purple and black patterning which is best seen close up but this image represents it fairly well. A classy, easy-to-wear optical range, with some leading trends incorporated such as the patterning of this unisex frame, or other retro details such as keyhole bridges, and evocative round and rectangular vintage shapes, this is great statement eyewear. www.paulsmith.co.ukCN
10th June 2011 On my hunt for pretty pale pink and nude tones, I have come across the unusual model Coco by the Swedish designer Oscar Magnuson in this sweet pink tone. While it’s not a label I know well, I like the combination of quality and sophistication. Magnuson’s designs are usually inspired by individual expression. Often the starting point will be a colourful character such as Arthur Miller or even a fictional character such as Dorian Gray. More on the A/W styles by Oscar Magnuson coming soon. CN
8th June 2011 Glasses featuring maths symbols? This is a limited release by the Belgian designers at Theo which plays on the trendy “geek-chic” look. There are four titanium and four plastics in the series which are now available in some of Theo’s most popular stockists. Taking the mathematical theme as its starting point, the designs have minute, fluorescent mathematical symbols contrasting with the black of the frame, from the easily recognisable “equals” sign to less well-known symbols such as the one for disjunction. Theo has injected humour, whilst creating frames with a strong identity. The use of fluorescent tones is on-trend but not garishly flamboyant, a fun touch. CN
June 2011 A conversation with Shane Baum is always a rewarding experience. The American designer of supremely elegant, luxurious Leisure Society, has astute viewpoints on eyewear, design and business that he shares with Eyestylist.
Design philosophy: “I don’t rely on the eyewear industry for inspiration, but search in other creatively driven industries. Furniture design, watch manufacturers and electronic products often inspire me. I also feel it is important to be honest with yourself. As a ‘designer’, you must reflect and disassociate yourself from your finished drawings, and judge them with harsh cynicism. My best design decisions often involve a trash can and fresh sheets of paper.”
Preferred materials: “I like working in gold-plated titanium. It is such a luxurious material and completely inert. It lasts forever. The inherent flexibility of this combination of materials allows one to engrave it, shape it, mould it and texture it in a very detailed manor that permits limitless possibilities. Platinum would be interesting too. We are working with Tigers Eye, Ruthenium and Buffalo Horn for Spring 2012. History has shown that luxurious materials hold their value better over time. This is the essence of Leisure Society’s ethos of “Heirloom Design.”
Creative inspiration: “I maintain a ‘child like’ enthusiasm for designing eyewear. The eyewear industry is unique: part fashion; part engineering; and part medical device. For me, the key to success as a company and as a designer is to create proprietary brand attributes that are distinctly my own, and quality attributes that only reveal themselves systematically over time. It is simply a matter of remaining true to my personal paradigm of open mindedness whilst remaining true to our corporate commitment of excellence and self-involvement.”
The future: “I believe the world is entering a period of reverse globalization We are noticing a trend towards locally made products crafted by classically trained artisans. The preservation of cultural traditions is increasingly important to consumers, especially our youth. This demographic wants meat from a butcher, watches from a watchmaker, and shoes from a cobbler. For eyewear, a brand focused on quality and innovation should enjoy ‘just rewards’.”
Leisure Society designs are available internationally in high fashion shops and eyewear boutiques. www.leisure-society.comJG
4th June 2011 The Catalan brand Etnia has produced this limited edition exclusively for the music event Sonar this year (which takes place on 16th to 18th June). The model is available to those attending the daytime events, who take part in the brand’s Facebook promotion – there are 300 being given away each day. From what we hear and from the pictures we’ve seen, it looks like a very cool sunglass style in fluorescent fuchsia and white acetate – it features Zeiss lenses in four colours of which the blue gradient is our favourite choice, and clever, understated detailing….a very hip sun style for Summer 2011, but unfortunately not available in the shops. CN
From “down under” in Australia, Graz Mulcahy creates edgy, distinctive eyewear. It’s always an adventure to view his collections at the eyewear shows. He believes in statement frames – designs that are bold and distinguished. Experimenting with the unusual is something that he particularly enjoys – such as the sunglasses shown above in matte acetate. The frame is handmade, blasted with a very fine sand to create a non-reflective surface. After the blasting, the matt is left untreated, which allows the frame to take on its own character. With wear, the frame becomes slightly darker in different areas, which Graz likens to what happens to jeans. This frame has a feeling of strength and substance, yet with its smooth matte finish, possesses subtle and understated beauty. For more information, visit www.grazstudio.comJG
Unusual materials to be found in eyewear include the unexpected use of snakeskin, favoured by Dutch designer Ralph Vaessen. I spotted these sunglasses at jlc opticien on chic and fashionable Rue de Bac in Paris, and liked the oversized shape, strong brow and linear movement. The fit is superb too. Vaessen’s entry into eyewear came about as a fluke – he couldn’t find frames that he really liked, and an optician suggested that Vaessen design his own frames. The optician knew a small atelier that could make them. Already passionate about music, art, fashion and architecture, Vaessen has found his true metier in creating luxurious, unique eyewear, and was nominated for a Silmo D’Or in 2010. More details at www.ralphvaessen.com and www. jlcopticien.com JG
This is a real New York collection – spirited, sharp and sleek – created by a real New Yorker, Jeff Royce. I haven’t seen this collection yet, but a chat with Jeff and studying photos confirm his goal to design eyewear with flair, precision and superb craftsmanship. Royce works in beautiful Italian and Japanese acetates. No Mercy, shown above, illustrates acetate’s flexibility, with the front colour contrast giving a robust quality to the modern retro shape. This frame is also available in black and tortoise – stunning! Intrigue NY frames are not yet available in Europe, but we hope they will be soon. www.intrigueny.com JG
Prizes – a Silmo D’Or in 2010 – and plaudits are well deserved for Rolf Spectacles. The Tyrolean based brand has chosen a centuries old environmental material – Bamboo – for this beautiful, green and sustainable frame. Clodagh and I are both fans of the emphasis on Bamboo this season. The material has the ability to withstand pressure with its natural strength, making it very effective for eyewear. Rolf Spectacles uses an intricate process that is required to achieve the smooth elegant surface on the frame. The wonderful texture of the bamboo and the gentle curved shape ensures a distinctive character. Each Rolf frame is handmade, and can be equipped with buffalo horn temple tips. Rolf Spectacles is a young, creative firm – definitely one to watch in eyewear. www.rolf-spectacles.com JG
When I look at these lovely frames, I want to pack my bags and head for the seaside! The azure blue design in silky acetate triggers happy memories of the sea, sand, sunshine, and seagulls. The flow of the frame shape demonstrates the versatility of acetate and its shimmering beauty. These glasses are perfect for sunny outings at the beach, with polarized grey gradient CR39 lenses, providing superior protection from the sun’s rays. Salt is a California based company, and the handcrafted, stylish collection is available in Europe. www.saltoptics.com JG
I love the bamboo trend, and here’s a great frame from the luxury collection by the UK’s Linda Farrow, which uses bamboo temples. The frame pictured here has a graduated black to clear plastic front teamed with clear lenses, but there is also flexibility to fit the style as a sunglass. The bamboo sides are quite chunky, making a feature of the texture of the material and producing a clever contrast with the smooth front of the design. Other colours I like in this are the tortoiseshell frame with gradient sun lenses which match with the natural bamboo tones. Linda Farrow Luxe uses titanium finishings plated in 24-carat gold, another sophisticated detail which shows the attention paid to every small part of the design. CN
This collection started with just a simple line drawn on a piece of paper. Then another. Then another. The designs grew in this way, instinctively, and creatively. The colour combinations of the acetate temples are exclusive to ProDesign. (Rather than taking the easy option and working with pre-manufactured acetate sheets.)
The monotone fronts are quite unisex to look at but the powerful colour combinations on the temples make the frames more feminine. In this series, there are two shapes, in six colours each. CN http://prodesigndenmark.com
I’ve never worn Lindberg’s Acetanium, but I’ve always seen it as a collection that offers great comfort, along with very classy contemporary styling. If I needed to wear specs all the time I’d definitely try it out. The aim was to combine titanium and acetate in one design, using both to their greatest potential. The result is a design that is light, comfy, and hard-wearing particularly around the bridge and hinges. Model 1235 has a deep rectangular eye shape; there are overtones of the so-called “geek chic” look, but it’s subtly done…and it comes in a wide selection of timeless colours. CN
I like the simplicity of this model, from the Mech-Flex range by Vanni, produced by the Italian design company Nico Design. This model combines thin steel and plastic, and it comes from a range that brings together bright fun colours and clean, practical design. The style above features a special hinge, the Mech-flex, which adds flexibility and extra wearer comfort. Offered in four colourways, my favourite is the on-trend matt violet and purple version, but you can also choose a patterned front teamed with black, a dark violet with turquoise, or brown with fuchsia. The enthusiasm for detail here sets this optical range apart. Very well done. CN
1st June 2011 An inspiring retail initiative by Selfridges is a call to action for people to recognise the danger of overfishing and pollution, and be aware of the urgent need for marine protection. Designers Katharine Hamnett, Philip Treacy, plus The Zoological Society of London, Greenpeace, WWF and others are participating in order to address the issue of sustainability and to defend the fish in our seas. Creative window displays, in-store entertainment, lectures, cooking demonstrations and films illustrate the fragility of global seas. Not to be missed is the magnificent coral exhibition that usually lives in the Aquarium at The London Zoo. These exquisite symbols of marine life are also endangered. Selfridges has published an informative booklet to identify fish at risk, (free to consumers) which also suggests alternatives to those under threat. Project Ocean at Selfridges is the best reason ever to “go shopping.” Until 12 June. www.selfridges.co.uk Check out www.fish2fork.com for a list of sustainability-minded restaurants. JG
Part of the fully rimmed Undostill Collection designed by Lucas de Stael, this frame is made of a Swedish stainless steel sheet of just 0.5 mm wide, which is then folded and formed to achieve the perfect balance between comfort and aesthetics. The textured temples are made of silicone and exist in three different patterns, crosses, stripes or lines. They are exchangeable which allows you to modify the appearance of your frame by yourself, a clever touch. The highly flexible memory steel allows you to fold the frame by crossing the temple and locking them together in a closed position. A very practical optical style for fans of minimalist design. Undostrial is a French technology oriented label which takes an interest in the research of materials, colours and shapes, and produces all its frames, unusually, in its Paris workshop. CN
1st June 2011 Just a few steps from the acclaimed Plaza Athénée Hotel, and numerous prestigious fashion boutiques, is the recently opened stylish and stunning Les Plus Belles Lunettes du Monde. The Who’s Who of frames can be found here in beautiful surroundings – Tom Davies, Alain Mikli, Emmanuelle Khanh, John Vavatos, Linda Farrow, Loree Rodkin by Sama Eyewear, and more. Situated over three floors, the lower level is an eye treatment spa (more on that delightful pleasure in a future edition!), and the building is a classic French structure with gloriously high ceilings, and traditional immense French windows.
The ambience is open, fresh and elegant, with frames displayed in spacious conditions that make looking and trying on a real pleasure. Sandrine Da-Costa is the creative, enthusiastic optician and proprietor behind Les Plus Belles Lunettes du Monde. She believes in not only selling unique eyewear, she also adds: “we sell happiness.” Certainly this boutique, with its graceful atmosphere, offers the complete eyewear experience. If you love eyewear, this is the perfect destination! Les Plus Belles Lunettes du Monde 23,rue François Premier 75008 Paris. www.lesplusbelleslunettesdumonde.comJG
1st June 2011 Everyone’s talking about neutrals (in fashion at least)…and that’s for A/W, not just S/S. I have picked out a few of these putty tones as a guideline, but I can’t stress enough that there are a lot of these colours about (some nicer than others) and many of the good examples in eyewear are those that use lovely quality acetates, which are usually produced in Italy, or possibly Japan. My first (pictured above) is from the Dries Van Noten collection (model 22) in “translucent dirty pink”. There are a few great neutral choices in this sophisticated collection, produced by the glasses company Linda Farrow. We like the translucent finish as well as the subtle flesh tones of this one, plus it’s a great shape.
French label Anne et Valentin is also doing some really elegant pink tones, with this sunglass combo below being a real favourite in their S/S range, as it mixes a transparent nude tone with a bright purple.
From the German label Mykita, we like the nude/silver combination of Tiago, one of the few metals I have encountered in this colour tone; the frame is a 1960s oversized design with a prominent brow line that transforms into side pieces. It’s a smart, savvy look and it goes the extra mile with the attention to detail…the lens colour beautifully sets off the colour of the frame itself. www.mykita.com If you have seen some great frames using these colour tones let us know, I’d like to find some more of the extra special ones on offer. CN