‘Tis the season for joy and revelry, and this month we are featuring international creators worthy of celebration. Our Designer of the Month is an extraordinary accessory designer, and we’re also introducing several boutiques offering flair and style. Visit City Guides for new exhibitions, holiday concerts, and unique winter events. To all of our valued readers, supporters, and advertisers, we wish you a most joyful and peaceful Holiday Season! JG
28th December 2011 Graz announced the release of this range yesterday. It’s said to feature a combination of various materials and finishes….designer Mulcahy is releasing the first 3 versions this week, but promises more to come. Shapes are stupendous in this line…a square, a hexagon favourite of ours and a lemon shape. www.grazmulcahy.com CN
Frames Inspire Australian Artist
27th December 2011 Eyewear fans know how inspirational frames can be. Card artists also find eyewear a creative force as frames continue to innovate and stimulate the imagination. Award winning Australian artist Christopher Vine uses vintage-style eyewear for his greeting cards produced by Portfolio in London. Vine’s distinctive colours, creativity and flair have captured an international following. In London, Vine’s cards can be found at Portfolio Cards, 105 Golborne Road W10. www.portfoliocards.com JG
Eyekemist Eyewear – New Designer Launch in Paris
21st December 2011 Eyekemist arrived on the designer eyewear scene in August of this year, and already the frames have attracted an international following. Designer Julien Vansteeger’s first collection features ophthalmic frames in quality acetate that shimmer with delicate luminosity. The multi-talented Belgian, who is also a professional photographer and graphic artist, has created five models, in four luscious colours – velvet, brown, smoke, and ruby (above), each with a hint of subdued retro styling. The intriguing company name derives from Vansteeger’s interest in alchemy, and his desire to “create pieces of art”. He’s off to a great start! www.ugdoptics.com JG
Fantastic Alaïa Fashion Creations at The Groninger Museum, The Netherlands
18th December 2011 Femininity, flirtatiousness and flair are the hallmark of Alaïa designs. Women adore his clothes, for their glamour, sensuality, style and cut. To celebrate the couturier’s fabulous collections of the past ten years, The Groninger Museum in Groningen, The Netherlands, presents a stunning exhibition – Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century.
Vanessa Friedman in the Financial Times describes the show as: “a tutorial in what happens when an exacting mind relentlessly works a few ideas to their natural extreme – a case study in just how far basic cloth such as knit, wool, cotton and skins can be pushed so that it transforms into something completely other.”
Alaïa’s experimentation and creativity with fabric is splendidly evident, and “completely other”, when translated into designs that embrace and celebrate a woman’s body. This retrospective is a sequel to the original presentation at The Groninger Museum in 1997-1998, that highlighted Alaïa’s early designs. The Tunisian-born Alaïa is one of fashion’s most important couturiers, and the exhibition is a fitting tribute to his extraordinary talents. Until 6 May 2012 www.groningermuseum.nl JG
La Loop – Eyewear Accessories
19th December 2011 There were so many eyewear accessory treasures at La Loop, that while viewing the collection, I felt I was in an exclusive, chic little boutique. Designed by Elizabeth Faraut, the Fresh Water Pearls, (above) are particularly luxurious. These elegant pearls are the perfect way to keep track of your frames. Creative design and patented technology insure that your glasses stay securely in the loop – there is a “magical” hinge on either side of every loop; the hinges work with gravity and swivel in every direction, moving with the wearer. The pearls are exquisite and classically stylish. Available in Paris at Marc le Bihan www.marclebihan.fr www.laloop.com JG
Titanium Elegance from Tom Davies
16th December 2011 Tom Davies has just launched a truly stunning collection of Double Bloc Titanium frames and sunglasses. These beautiful seamless frames are created to exacting technical specifications in an exclusive Limited Edition. Davies needed to design a particular titanium-milling machine in order to produce the exquisite models, plus each frame requires fourteen hours of handwork. Fifteen optical designs, and three sunglass shapes, with modern retro features, are available in classic tones, as well as statement combinations of black and red, or black and yellow. With his expertise in creating bespoke designs, Davies once again presents an original, elegant collection. www.tdtomdavies.com JG
14th December 2011 This month sees the start of a new collaboration between Berlin’s eyewear company Lunettes Kollektion and London’s Cooperative Designs, the creative knitwear innovators. The link-up has come about as a result of a shared vision for handcrafted quality and timeless individuality.
A five piece sunglass range for S/S 2012, the starting point is two of Lunettes Kollektion’s frames, with the addition of inspiration from Cooperative Designs S/S 2012 collection Wish you were here. (Visit www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/cooperativedesigns to see this exciting fashion collection in full).
The collection includes models like the very sweet 60s themed Fare Bella Figura – Love, a rounded, solid frame with heart-shaped lenses, (available in ash, miele and crystal) and George – Starry Eyed, an edgy 80s defined frame with moon and star shapes on the lens. The finishing touches are a delightful invention using the craft skills of Cooperative Designs’ talented creators, Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann…custom-crocheted glasses cords using yarn from their superbly fresh and upbeat SS 2012 collection in pretty tri-tone blues, fresh ruffly roses and steely hearts. Continue reading “Lunettes Kollektion and Cooperative Designs”
Fragrance with Flair from Götti Switzerland
13th December 2011 The first whiff of this beautiful fragrance is an exceptional treat to the senses. Created by eyewear designer Sven Götti, a master of multiple talents, he also has a natural “nose” for perfume. The result is a delicious fragrance that includes an enchanting mixture of spices, including bergamot, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cedar, sandalwood and vanilla, among others. The aromatic blend of ingredients is perfect for the winter season in particular. Götti Fragrance ’99 is a scent with warmth and depth. I hope that Père Noël tucks this elegant perfume in my Christmas stocking! Available at The Apartment Store, Löwenstrasse 1 Zurich www.gotti.ch JG
Vuarnet with Skilynx
11th December 2011 As well as the models already reviewed in our “Winter Luxe” series in the last few days, I am pleased to present two great shapes picked from the French label Vuarnet, now part of the Alain Mikli company. Vuarnet S model VL1108 (above) and the terrific aviator VL 1106 (below) are both typical examples of this elegantly presented sports sunglass collection, which focuses on quality, sturdiness and overall stylishness with beautiful retro touches. The Skilynx mineral lenses have a real history, invented by opticians in 1957 specifically for alpine use. Vintage Vuarnet are also very sought after given their heritage and quality. www.vuarnet.com CN
1950s inspired glacier goggles from Mykita&Moncler
9th December 2011 I am still looking around for the more stylish quality protective sun styles for skiing, and with a trip to Austria creeping up, I hope to find something that suits me (can be really hard to find the right combination of style with technical features) and that offers true protection in the depths of winter when protection from wind and weather, as well as UV, is crucial for safety and full enjoyment.
Just arrived in my mailbox is this image of one of Mykita & Moncler’s new shades (model Achille), suitable for downhill runs and classic everyday use and produced in a collaboration with the German brand. They are inspired by the look of 1950s Alpine goggles, which featured round lenses in metal rims with leather side pieces for the ultimate protection against dangerous UV rays. But these are futuristic, produced in Mykita’s new Mylon material, and fitted with top notch Barberini glass lenses with stylish flash mirror finish. Available from mid December at Mykita stores and Moncler boutiques worldwide. www.moncler.com CN
Tom Davies Exclusive in Swiss Boutique
9th December 2011 A beautiful river, alpine splendour, a history that dates back to the Neolithic age, and a majestic castle all contribute to the Swiss charm of Thun. The region has exciting 21st century developments too, including the first state-of-the-art optical shop to offer, exclusively, the couture eyewear collection of British designer Tom Davies. The concept is a collaboration between Davies, and Matthias Thomas, owner of Optik Thoma and the Zeiss Vision System Store. “My idea started with the imagination of combining the highest standards in optics, which includes Zeiss devices and lenses, with very high level, well designed, luxury, bespoke frames. I also wanted a stylish décor and furniture. With Tom Davies and Zeiss, we have the most perfect product combination for the high-level customer. The imagination became a reality. We have almost every TD ‘ready-to-wear frames’ plus the Limited Edition collection, the Bespoke Service, and the TD Couture and Natural Horn frames.”
The three level boutique includes a Design Room where customers select the material and style for their frame. When the frame is ready, clients meet in the Portfolio Room to see the design, and discuss any changes or details. All of these service are offered in luxurious surroundings of oak floors and leather chairs, while the wood furniture was made in Hungary, and painted seven times to get a super shine.”The gold mirror (visible in the photo below) we found in Germany and it’s dated 1883.
“We also offer classes for customers who are interested in the whole aspect of frame design and who want to be more involved. There are classes for three to five people, and sometimes these workshops are very funny. Continue reading “Optik Thoma”
Ski Style by Emmanuelle Khanh
8th December 2011 A new design theme for a ski necessity is this vibrant red mask (style 1969 Rouge) by French fashion company Emmanuelle Khanh. The shape is smaller than a conventional ski mask, yet it provides protection from wind and misting with its form fitting eye shape, and an adjustable elastic band for the desired comfort. The mask is beautifully chiselled in shiny, high quality acetate – certain to make a stylish and protective statement on the ski slopes, as well as for other winter sports. www.emmanuellekhanh.com JG
Sunglasses with technical enhancements
7th December 2011 The biggest issues for me when I ski are the misting up aspect, whether I’m wearing goggles or sunglasses, and the need for really good visibility in all weather conditions, given how mountain conditions can change dramatically in a short space of time. I would also recommend asking about the lenses you are buying. There are lots of high-tech properties, and as these two examples show, these should be part and parcel of the package. Both of the models reviewed here have a variety of enhancements, coatings and comfort benefits that can improve your overall sports experience.
I like the look of the Terrex Fast by Adidas (pictured above, in white and green) and I’ve used a couple of Adidas wraparounds in the past for skiwear that worked well so I would definitely consider this one for the future. Recommended for hiking and mountaineering, the style is described as being very light because it is made from shatterproof SPX material and it has a technical sports look. I like the idea that the nosepads and temples are adjustable, the UV protection is obviously a key factor, and the frame is pretty versatile, so you can change the arms for a headband and the lens colour according to weather conditions. You can also remove the foam liner to give the frame a less sporty, more everyday feel for apres ski. The frame can take the Adidas prescription insert for those needing correction which I have used and find comfortable and easy for good vision during sports. www.adidas.com/eyewear
For simple styling and reliability in terms of technical performance, this wrap by Serengeti also appears to tick lots of boxes. It has a minimal unpretentious design and high performance lenses, made from a top level lens material with excellent optical quality, called NXT. Common to all Serengeti lenses, the Polar PhD lens delivers proprietary Spectral Control, designed to provide good contrast and superior colour enhancement by filtering out specific colours within the visible light spectrum. This basically means that you get crisper colour and clearer images. Serengeti lenses are also designed to block blue light, eliminating ‘blue blur’ that leads to eye strain and fatigue. And as if that wasn’t enough to ensure good protection and comfort, the Serengeti Polar PhD lens boasts an anti-scratch hard coat, seven layer backside anti-reflective coating, and oleo phobic coating technology for oil and water resistance. The Fasano is retailing in the UK at £149.00. www.serengeti-eyewear.com CN
Favourites for the slopes
5th December 2011 Through December, I plan to pinpoint a few of the best, fashionable sports pieces which would make extra special Xmas presents. To start off, we present two carefully picked designs which stand out for their combination of technical qualities with a stylish edge. This out-there goggle type sunglass (above), “Panic Station” is from the Australian brand Le Specs (known particularly at the moment for their Henry Holland collaboration) and was launched in September. The style is said to offer a good balance of protection with its polarised lenses and cool shape; I would certainly consider it as a fun, trendy look for the sunny spells on the slopes. Find Le Specs Alpine online at www.eyerespect.com.
Much has been written about the Mykita Mylon collection, with models designed for skiing plus everyday use…the first time Mylon, a polyamide-based material, has been used to produce frames, these designs are described as stable, lightweight and very durable. Zeiss lenses, known for their excellent quality, complete the picture here, while colours vary from classic black to head-turning neon. A futuristic designer sunglass collection produced by slick German eyewear label Mykita. www.mykita.com CN
2nd December 2011 The Gloucester Road based optical store Eyeworks London, founded by Brenda McKernan, hosted a party last night to celebrate a new shop-in-shop concept launched by Cutler & Gross, which the British cult glasses company hopes to roll out to other UK based shops soon. “We have mixed ages coming to the practice and we are very successful with the brands I have picked out, which include some of the finest children’s collections as well as an interesting selection of top-quality, fashionable European frame ranges for adults,” explained Brenda McKernan. “Cutler & Gross is very well known in London and so it’s a pleasure for us to be the first boutique offering this shop in shop experience. We want to ensure we can offer an exciting choice of the latest glasses and sunglasses, and, overall, something different from the standard commercial brands.” Fantastic to see an optician in London with so much commitment to providing fashionable glasses to the local neighbourhood.
Visit the shop at 44 Gloucester Road, London SW7, to try on the new styles that have just come in or book an eye test by calling 0207 584 2697. CN www.eyeworkslondon.com
Theo and Tim Van Steenbergen celebrate their fourth collaboration with a Spanish-themed Limited Edition, an ode to Spanish patron saints. Spain and its rich history are the inspiration for this strong, bold design, and the name is a tribute to the patron saint of Barcelona – Mercé. Think of Toreadors, and the beautifully decorated jackets, the passion of Bizet’s Carmen – lively Spanish spirit is interpreted into this stunning acetate and metal design. The frame shape is definitely diva, with its broad form and colour contrast. Olé! www.theo.be JG
Bottega Veneta is the venerable Italian brand that makes gorgeous bags with intricate leather weaving. The sunglasses are gorgeous too — the new collection for 2012 includes these lovely acetate sunglasses with elegantly sculptured, voluminous temples. The design is highlighted with a rounded shape that is flattering and glamorous. Details are unique and individual – a motif on the metal core inside the temples, plus five pins on the temples, and a small butterfly on the inside tips. Irresistible! www.bottegaveneta.com JG
Sunglasses are not just for summer – winter sun can create harsh glare. Eye protection, as well as style chic, is achieved with these dashing sunglasses from Götti Switzerland. The technology is masterful too, as Sven Götti has structured the frames out of one-piece stainless steel. A special epoxy plastic is applied to the temples, and the imaginative “spin ‘n stow” folding system adds to the technical triumph of the design. Available in sunny yellow (above), a real perk up colour for winter – plus smooth silver and black. www.gotti.ch JG
Music is a passion for Greek-American lifestyle and eyewear designer Varvatos – and especially rock ‘n roll. His love of music inspired him to create these statement sunglasses, complete with a guitar pick. The bold shape is masterfully crafted in black and tortoiseshell polished acetate, with the removable pick on the side. A Limited Edition creation with only 200 frames, these are genuine collectors items. www.eyerespect.com www.johnvarvatos.com JG
Both classic and modern aesthetics distinguish the fluid shape of these sunglasses from Orgreen in warm chocolate brown. Danish design techniques are evident in the smooth matt titanium frame, with characteristics that include the broad nosepieces, an expansive frame shape, and enlarged sides. Lightweight yet sturdy, the frames are very comfortable to wear, while providing the necessary fashion and protective elements of quality sunglasses. The frames are also available in a beautiful, soft blue. www.orgreen.com JG
I have discovered a lot about the new collection by Derome Brenner thanks to Le Caribou Opticiens in Paris, who have a great blog of their own (www.lecaribou-opticiens.fr) Jacky 11 is a gorgeous example of what this French label do so well – multilayered acetate in pretty, multi-coloured combinations. This one features turtle, light brown, crystal, plain red and transparent red in one frame! Jacky 11 is a woman’s shape, and one of a family of styles that tend to have large proportions inspired by volumes and sizes of the 1970s. As one of the designers says, “with Jacky 11, we have worked on the square aspect bringing in a slight suggestion of the butterfly.” The frames are 100% made in the Sologne region of France. Every frame undergoes 60 different steps of production…to create the lamination, the sculpture of the material and to achieve interesting volumes and colours. CN
The new Bounce collection from Danish company Bellinger, known for its colourful trendy frame styles, focuses on acetate with a special metal hinge at the temple. This section of the design looks like a spring, and has a decorative and functional purpose…it allows you to adjust the side pieces for a great fit, while also giving life and colour to the design. There are seven new models in total. The contrasting colours of the metal piece add a great touch…whether in bright contrast colours or more neutral shapes. The acetate comes in some attractive jewel shades of deep purple and blue and a trendy army tortoise. Stockists include View Point, York, UK, Bartschi Optik AG, Bern, Switzerland and Optiker Krauss GmbH, Berlin. CN
Tripoli is a fine example of L.G.R.’s Italian acetate spectacles…each of these designs is made by hand using old-fashioned techniques…L.G.R. brings together a love of authentic vintage design and an understanding of the values of the history of traditional Italian eyewear production. Free from embellishments or logos, the models speak for themselves! Available in a range of colours including black, brown and dark havana, Tripoli’s modern angular flat front is likely to turn heads in the months ahead (a very trendy look for guys in 2012) but is also likely to remain covetable in years to come. www.lgr-sunglasses.com. CN
Anne et Valentin
Anne et Valentin’s acetate frames have always been a favourite of mine; the aptly named “Effect” is an example of the brand’s work in titanium that stands out for the two-tone colour work and lightweight, accessible design, which works with all faces. The small modified shape features a key hole nose detail, a stylish accent that lends character to the design.
The outlining colour contrasts come in warm tones of orange, turquoise blue and lilac….among others. To find Anne et Valentin frames in the UK, we recommend Adam Simmonds, Primrose Hill, London, Melissa Conway, Temple Fortune and Jones and Co, Manchester. Other stockists include Les Createurs d’Opta, Paris and the eponymous Parisian store Anne et Valentin Optique, 4 Rue Ste Croix de la Bretonnerie. CN
Otis is one of those iconic statement styles…designer/DJ Graz Mulcahy is making a name for himself with some interesting collaborations in Australia…including Chronicles of Never and Ellery…but he is a name in his own right, and one that promises more in terms of innovations in the frame world. Otis is a classic for men with idiosyncracies that are unique to Mulcahy…the substantial feel and flat look of the frame, the edgy shape, and serious attention to detail…this style takes a classic Malcolm X or Mad Men semi-rimless, and turns it into a uniquely fashion-forward design. CN
1st December 2011 To celebrate the approach of Christmas, we bring some festive accessories to the site…including some sparkling present ideas. Sequins, diamante and decorative indulgences are a big theme at this point in the year…here is a selection of some super-seasonal choices that illustrate winter’s silver and gold colour trends and the glitz and glamour of the party season. CN
1. Burnt rectangle Bracelet £130, Nicole Farhi www.nicolefarhi.com 2. Face à Main by Filao Paris www.filaoparis.com; 3. Sequin cardigan £169, Hobbs www.hobbs.co.uk; 4. Corona Tank £120, Reiss www.reissonline.com 5. Stack Sequins Dress, £495 by Nicole Farhi www.nicolefarhi.com; 6. Sequin sunglasses by Miu Miu www.miumiu.com; 7. Sequin bracelet, £220, Nicole Farhi www.nicolefarhi.com 8. Tessa Peep Toe by Gina, £675 www.gina.com 9. Nicky sequin scarf, Reiss www.reissonline.com 10. Silver Simmons Clutch by French Connection £75.00 www.frenchconnection.com.
La Loop Accessories
1st December 2011 A chat with Elizabeth Faraut at la Loop is a genuine pleasure. We meet at SILMO, and the soft-spoken California based designer imparts her passion for eyewear through her elegant accessories. With her New York fashion background, Faraut brings a heady mix of style, business acumen and the creativity wrought by necessity to La Loop. “When I started the company in 1998, it was because I had lost so many glasses, that I knew there had to be a better way to keep track of my frames. At that time, eyewear accessories were not even a category. Now they are viewed as a true accessory, and it’s been very interesting for me, because I do not come from the eyewear industry.
“My desire is to source materials that will ‘wow’ the customer and the buyer. How do I find these materials? I’m always travelling. I have Amber from Tibet for example, and my goal is to source natural materials from the planet – not manmade. I love to source unique materials and those that feel good – I close my eyes, and feel and savour the material. If it doesn’t pass this test, it doesn’t become a La Loop. The desert is another inspiration. Gold plays into the desert theme, and I’m a ‘modern nomad’ – always searching and exploring, trying to find things that move me, and will move the customer . Pearls, pure fabrics, real tortoise, sterling silver, leather from a 5th generation mill in Northern Italy, Azurite from Brazil, and shells from New Zealand are among the natural materials included in the collections.”
For Elizabeth, creating a product that matters is very important. She wanted a design collaboration that included a marriage of form, function and fashion. She views each piece as a collector’s item – whether it expresses quiet sophistication, or dynamic, colourful fun. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as well as twelve other museums across America, has proclaimed La Loop an invention. The hinges have patented technology, and each item is handmade in America. La Loop wearers include a long list of celebrities, working professionals, fashion followers, and costume designers. “My dream, says Faraut, “is to continue to explore, to keep a personal connection to customers through my designs, and be that ‘modern nomad’. So far, it’s been a wonderful journey.” www.laloop.com La Loop products are available in Paris at Marc Le Bihan www.marclebihan.fr JG