We launch November with splendid diversity in REVIEWS – unusual sunglasses with true fashion flair, and optical frames that explore new dimensions in design.
Travel with us to the Tyrol Region of Austria to meet our Designer of the Month, and to Antwerp for a trendy boutique. Then onto Basel Switzerland, for a special retrospective of a grand French artist. Throughout the month, click and stay with Eyestylist for international news on innovative eyewear and accessories!
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L.I. Sounder Original American Goods, Leather Shade Anchors
28th November 2012 One of these would make a very cool present. Made by hand in New England using traditional techniques, these straps are made to last, and the leather is said to age beautifully. They look very smart with a strong sunglass style such as a classic aviator, and according to Akram Husseini who offers them at his store, Klar, they look particularly good with a Randolph Engineering aviator, a Garrett Leight Speedway or L.G.R.’s acetate Casablanca which he wears himself. They work with spectacles too.
26th November 2012It’s not only grownups that are embracing lovely pastels! For the young set, gentle pastels – particularly in pink – are seen in eyewear collections. Two of our favourites are featured here – with plenty of potential to delight young fashion aware youngsters. Nice Soft Pink (above) from the Dutch company Red Optical combines smooth stainless steel highlighted with acetate temples. The mix of materials, plus the rectangular shape and pastel tone, has an”adult look”, and many youngsters will approve! www.redoptical.com
EK Kids adapts some of their best adult designs creatively scaled down to fit little faces. These sunglasses (style 1487-654 above) capture the characteristics admired in EK designs – retro shaping, quality acetate, and UV lenses to protect young and vulnerable eyes.www.emmanuellekhanhparis.comJG
24th November 2012 Take inspiration from the Portuguese optical store Cruz Oculista, who have created another super glam storefront this year for the Christmas season. The shop pays to tribute to the theatre and the Baroque with a dramatic stage design, and presents the new independent Portuguese label Paulino Spectacles.We love it!
If you are working on a beautiful storefront – optical or accessory stores – for the coming Christmas season, please send us your pictures – the best ones will be included in this section in the weeks ahead or featured on our Facebook page. Refer to our website for contact details. CN
Cruz Oculista, Av. Dr. Armando Goncalves, Edificio Plaza Loja 17, 3000-059 Coimbra, Portugal
23rd November 2012 During the shows this autumn, we’ve seen stunningly creative frames in black and gold. Each colour is significant on its own – and when featured together, the results are sophisticated and elegant. Today we are showing two versions we’d love to wear! Anne-Karin Karlsson has the magic touch with black and gold in Coco on the Run (above). The frame is acetate with metal inside, a patented material that has never been used in eyewear before. “It’s very tricky to execute, but with the result as I imagined”, says Anna-Karin, and the result is superb! www.annakarinkarlsson.com
Vera Wang’s interpretation of black and gold is a striking design- Rava (above) – in black acetate, accented with gold at the nosepiece and around the lenses. The curvy shape and the bold temple lift ensure an even more glamorous frame. www.kenmarkoptical.comJG
21st November 2012 Rhythm and blues can apply to eyewear as well as jazz! Its improvisational aspects inspires many – from musicians to eyewear designers – and the results are frames in cool blues. Music is the keynote at Vinylize – the frames are created from old vinyl records, and handmade in Hungary. Simone (above) designed with Nina Simone in mind, is a stunning mix of metal on vinyl, with an arched brow and curved frame front. Simone is a special favourite of Vinylize communication director Paul, because Nina Simone once sang a song to him – “only six inches from my face” – Paul happily remembers. Available in Copenhagen at Optikerne www.optikerne.dk, and in Paris at Lunetiers Delambre www.lunetiers-delambre.com www.vinylize.com
Pierre Cariven has a winning way with cat eye shapes. One of his favourite designs is this lovely, gentle cat eye (MIG above) in electric blue acetate. The simplicity and elegant crafting of the design, coupled with the bold colour, is pure and sleek. “I like to create my frames in the way that I feel”, says Pierre. If you feel like a bit of ‘jazz’ in your eyewear this season, there are stunning blue tones from which to choose. www.pierre-eyewear.comJG
19th November 2012 A wood brand I have been seeing regularly at trade fairs since it was created – I admire the lightness and robustness of the W-Eye frames and there are always some interesting organic or retro shapes. The label has recently released this special edition “Occhione” (model 505) inspired by the ’60s. The circular eye shape and stripy patterning make this very appealing as does the handcrafted necklace that accompanies it; this decorative piece is designed in collaboration with artist Brigitta Bertolini of the Laboratorio Orafo Artigiano Dada, Udine. To see more of Bertolini’s gold and silver work, visit the website: http://marioscrafts.com/it/a/dada.
The sunglasses are presented in a deep mahogany case, also made by artisans in the W-Eye workshops. To find out about this Italian label’s work with wood, visit www.w-eye.it CN
16th November 2012Winter sports are part of Switzerland’s DNA – and Götti has the know-how and creativity to design eyewear for snow adventures. Function, flair and fashion fuse harmoniously in Sven Götti’s sleek new Snow Goggles. I saw this stylish design when I visited Götti’s offices last month – and love it! Technical features include a polyurethane frame that is light and durable, plus anti-fog, ventilation and double-glazed polycarbonate mirror lenses, with 100% UV protection for sunny days on the slopes. The goggles are extremely comfortable, and compatible with helmets. Available in black with silver mirror lenses, and snow white with rainbow flash lenses – very impressive for après ski – now all that is necessary is lovely, powdery snow! www.gotti.chJG
15th November 2012 Pauric Sweeney’s Mayfair store is the kind of place you can get hooked on beautiful luxury accessories very quickly. A contrast to the delightful cobbled back street where it is found, the minimal interior design is reflective of the designer’s character and love of refined luxury. The colourful geometric display in the window is described as typical of Sweeney’s style at home.
I visited, on recommendation, to see Sweeney’s first sunglasses collection. Born in Co. Donegal and trained as an architect, the designer launched the accessories label in 2004 and since then has gained international recognition. Produced in prestigious leathers sourced in Italy and finished by hand with elegant stitching and eye-catching detail, he now makes everything from totes to clutches, and has added a successful Diffusion Line – Pauric by Pauric – as well a men’s accessory range.
Made in Japan, the sunglasses blend the designer’s interest in materials and surfaces with references to softly rounded vintage shapes and detail such as retro-chic metalwork, contrasting with pretty shades of acetate. Colours include black, a soft pink (above) and a translucent cobalt blue. Retailing at £330.00, the styles have been produced with a nice quality and finish making them a chic accompaniment to a Sweeney bag – we like the combination of the Dbox (above) and the pale sunglasses (above) in particular. More to come? We shall keep an eye out. Stockists include Luisa Via Roma, Florence, and Avenue 32 (www.avenue32.com). 33, Bruton Place, Mayfair, London W1J6NP.www.pauricsweeney.comCN
14th November 2012 Soft, mellow pastels are seen throughout eyewear collections this season, and these two designs and colours deserve special mention. Jodie (above) by Face à Face is a luminous acetate beauty with an arched brow, and a tri-colour glow of cotton candy, vanilla and crystal. www.faceaface-paris.com
Bailey (above) by Claire Goldsmith Legacy explores the deeper intensity of pastel colourations, with a transparency play of jade on the frame front, highlighted with chocolate temples. A sculptural union of classic and contemporary defines the frame shape. www.olivergoldsmith.com
12th November 2012 Designs in tortoise are a highlight of this season’s eyewear collections – we’ve seen a variety of styles with individual characteristics. Clodagh Norton featured a bold tortoise design on Eyestylist.com on 9th November, and the two designs shown here verify the wonderful tortoise interpretations that are possible. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, and luxury eyewear designer Shane Baum have collaborated on a stunning collection, including Chelsea (above), a virtuoso creation that teams tortoise acetate with gold. The gently sculpted shape is all handcrafted, and the designers are scrupulous with details that are precise and intricate. www.baumvision.com
Happy Days is the sprightly new collection from Vanni in Italy. The design above (v1900) features multilayer acetate with a mix of transparent and Havana, to create a tortoise variation with blond highlights. The diversity of tortoise really does make these frame designs eyewear treasures! www.vanniocchiali.comJG
9th November 2012 Unique shapes accentuating the brow line are a recurring theme and will be increasingly sought after in the months ahead. One that caught my eye recently was ‘Rock-a-Nore’ from the British label RockOptika, named after the beach front in Old Hastings, home to the designer Tom Herrington. It’s a man’s acetate style – available in tortoise and a very suave ‘Mazzucchelli’ pure black – that is quite big in size and statement, with a modified pentagon shape combined with a retro key hole nose bridge. Image above, Rock-a-Nore by RockOptika (from £249.00), photographed by Tom Herrington. www.rockoptika.co.uk
Jeremy Tarian’s snazzy Sky Bar also illustrates this direction perfectly – it is a sunglass design with a symmetrical zig zag formation in dazzling gold metal. This is a fabulously unique take on the brow accentuation – mostly we are seeing examples of straight horizontal lines over the top of the front of the frame so this one is rather special. Tarian’s frames are made in the Jura in France, and the designer pays careful attention to the quality of the materials and comfort of each unique design. www.jeremytarian.comCN
6th November 2012 This portrait of Selima Salaun’s daughter, Zoe, caught our attention when we had the great pleasure of meeting designer-optician Selima for the first time in Paris. I am delighted to have had permission to be able to publish it. Photographed by Tim Groen (www.timgroen.com), the image is one of a series of Zoe and her classmates, alongside two professional models, in a new photographic presentation by Selima Optique described by the designer as a labour of love, created with friends. Born and raised in New York, Zoe, the youngest of Selima’s two children, is a freshman at McGill in Montreal.
Dedicated to the stars of French popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s, the frames featured in the new lookbook, such as the expressive Maricruz in red (worn by Zoe above), highlight the colourful palette and retro context of Selima’s hand-crafted designs. Hair looking gorgeous by Yves Durif, www.yvesdurif.com. www.selimaoptique.comCN
5th November 2012 It is exciting to see the arrival of more small independent eyewear labels that are carrying family spectacle-making traditions forward again. Some of those we are getting to know are making their frames in workshops or spectacle ateliers where their forebears had produced and handfinished them in the past; they are not only using old techniques and old-fashioned tools for some of the work required to make a frame but also vintage components or materials that have been left in situ over time, and are now being rediscovered. Here is one from Portugal! I recently met John and Ramiro Paulino in London and they showed me the collection for 2012/13 which was launched in Lisbon this season at the elegant Optica Sacramento – www.eyestylist.com/2011/07/optica-do-sacramento-lisbon-portugal/.
The label was born out of Ramiro’s desire to continue the heritage and craft of small-production spectacle-making that his grandfather began in the late 1930s. Paulino’s frames today are made of smooth high-quality acetate, and are styled on iconic shapes with adaptations for faces today. There is an overall elegance and sensitivity in the designs and the colours used as well as an astute attention in the detail such as the use of the little vintage pins which Ramiro found in the workshop. The Portuguese family roots of the label are well referenced; the spectacle cases are made of traditional Portuguese cork and the frames are named after members of the Paulino family, past and present. For more on Paulino Spectacles on Eyestylist.com, click on the link: www.eyestylist.com/2012/08/sara/. From what we hear, you will soon be able to find the collection in Covent Garden, London… updates coming. www.paulinospectacles.comCN
Looking for a unique pair of sunglasses? Made of horn, this super oversized style is the creation of an independent label called Rigards who specialise in handmade horn designs using traditional production techniques. This is a first taste of this label on Eyestylist.com. I can’t really do their collection justice in a few lines but what I can say for this review is there is a lot of attention to hand finishing and detail here that deserves to be noticed, and the passion for quality, style and comfort is very strong. Made in an atelier in Hong Kong, these are one-off designs for connoisseurs of beautiful eyewear and each piece has a huge amount of character and individuality…the horn is carefully selected and is an organic by-product from water buffalos reared on small African farms so there is an eco-friendly element too. Each of the sunglass styles is individually numbered and produced in a limited series of 200 or 500 pieces.
Rigards Eyewear is coming soon to the UK www.layerslondon.com (be quick this Spring!) and available in France at L’Eclaireur (Paris) www.leclaireur.com and Royal Navy (Marseille). We have more details on Rigards designs coming soon. See the label’s website for insights and further information on stockists: http://rigards.comCN
Dallas is a little gem of a design for 2013, and one of probably 20 or 30 styles I saw in Paris that showed that creativity is really at a very high level in the ‘design’ collections for the coming year. An aviator with a 3-d bar at the top, highlighting the brow, which is inventive and yet simple, this sunglass style is an outstanding opportunity to wear something timeless and elegant, with a very astute attention to detail and finesse. My favourite colour is the black with jade pictured, and the pale pink with bright neon orange is a super fashion statement for next Spring. CNwww.anneetvalentin.com
Another new label we stopped to see in Paris was Rome-based Mondelliani Glasses. Their Eolie Collection features a fresh colour palette inspired by the landscapes of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Created by the owners of the Mondelliani optical shop in Rome and made in their entirety in Italy, the sunglasses are youthful, vibrant, and made in lovely acetate materials where a lot of attention is given to warm sunny colour tones and elegant bright colour pairings. The sunglass styles feature top-of-the-range sun lenses by Carl Zeiss Vision. A perfect choice for a warm holiday destination. www.mondelliani.it/home/CN
Designed for men or women, Cygnus is an aviator by the young Italian label Feb 31st which produces trendy frames in wood. The frames are made up of 13 wood layers laminated together, and colour options are endless; you can even have lots of different coloured layers combined to create an exciting multicoloured effect. At present, the growth of wood labels is noticeable in the eyewear world and Feb31st is doing much to create a youthful natural collection that revisits the qualities of wood such as softness and lightness, while exploring its potential in colour. www.feb31st.itCN
Inspired by Hollywood superstars, this pretty modified cat eye frame from the Argentinian label has a feminine shape. It was the animal print that caught my eye; I like this interpretation on the top of the front, with the coordinating design on the side of the temple. This one is the brown, white and leopard version; it also comes in black glitter, one I’d choose for an easy update of my autumn/winter wardrobe. www.infinit.laCN
Paris based Lucas de Stäel recently launched his own eyewear collection – and swiftly won a Silmo d’Or for 2012. “Once Upon a Time” is the result of two years of intensive research and testing before unveiling the collection. De Stäel is fascinated with industrial processes, and his goal is to achieve a perfect balance between flexibility, lightness, classicism and purist. The frame above – in smooth polished walnut achieves those goals with its refined, graceful shape, and delicate details. www.undostrial.comJG
The lovely acetate colour gradations in this frame are so appealing! The play of light and dark, and the “English tea side” temple harmonize into an elegant, romantic shape. The heightened eyebrow treatment is also a significant touch. Sloane is just one outstanding style from the new Claire Goldsmith Legacy collection. www.olivergoldsmith.comJG
The new Theo collection is a colour and design feast, especially this wonderful Houndstooth pattern , which takes its inspiration from the textile pattern. From Theo’s Eye-Witness selection, the design above is crafted with an exotically extended eyebrow, that is beautifully avant-garde, and the free-spirited colour has real zip. This luscious lime green tone is so cool – and so are the other colours – rich burgundy, raspberry, and a deep blue – distinctively Theo! www.theo.beJG
There is a colour concerto in full swing this season at Orgreen, with the newest collection of Titanium frames. The Danish company loves to experiment, and the results are frames with seductive character and aristocratic charm. Insider(above)unites matt olive brown with matt dusty blue, for men who desire signature styling, and handmade craftsmanship. www.orgreen.dkJG
During Hall of Frames in Zurich, I had the opportunity to see the entire Res/Rei collection, which I admire for its top-notch quality, cutting edge precision, and the beautiful acetates. Domiziano (above) is a perfect example – marbled blue acetate, with a distinguished bridge, combined with stainless steel. Designer Oliviero Zanon takes great pride in creating frames with classical traditions, plus sophisticated chic. www.resrei.com JG
1st November 2012 Located close to Antwerp’s celebrated cathedral, is an eyewear emporium worth celebrating – Somers Optiek – the theo boutique. Approaching the shop from one of Antwerp’s charming alleys, a delightful splash of colour greets the visitor. And the windows are definitely eye-catchers! Among the unique features of the boutique is that there are few frames on display. “We don’t show many glasses,” says Communications Director Miet Vaes, “as we like the opticians to help the customer to find their perfect glasses.” Sunglasses are displayed on the right of the shop, while there is a separate section, for optical frames. Seventh-five percent of the frames are theo creations, while the balance are guest collections, which rotate on a regular basis.
The two-level shop is a splendid use of space and imagination. On the lower level is an art and photography gallery, plus an area for eye tests. The vibrant colours, beautiful woods, the pleasant lighting and the openness, along with a very friendly staff, provide customers with an upbeat experience…and then, there are the wonderful Theo frames! “We have many professionals who visit the shop,” says Miet, “and they want something they cannot find elsewhere. We like to create that little bit more – the personalised approach that suits their clothes, profession and lifestyle. The time we spend with customers allows us to know them a little bit more, so they feel comfortable and relaxed.”
If your travel plans include Antwerp, make certain that the innovative Somers Optiek is a destination! www.somersoptiek.beJG
1st November 2012 From a very young age, I had the good fortune to be introduced to painting by Edgar Degas. My aunt was enchanted with Impressionist paintings, and Degas was her idol – as he is among many art connoisseurs. His influence in the art world continues to this day, and now for the first time ever, there is an exhibition in Switzerland devoted to the latter part of the French painter’s life. Above: Trois Danseuses jupes violettes, pastel on joined paper c. 1895-1898 Photo: Maurice Aeschimann, Onex/Geneva
Foundation Beyeler in Basel, has assembled 150 works by Degas – rich and various artistic expressions – that include paintings, pastels, drawings, sculptures and photography. It is a rare opportunity to see important works by a 19th century master, as many pieces are from private collections, and rarely on view. Edgar Degas continues until 27th January 2013. www.foundationbeyeler.ch JG
Photo of Jockey Blessé Kunstmuseum Basel/Martin P. Bühler
1st November 2012 The spectacular beauty of the Austrian Tyrol region, and a fascination with classic cars, has produced one of the more unusual – and successful collaborations in eyewear. A chat with any member of the Rolf team usually begins with how beautiful the weather/scenery/trees/snow is in their area. Rolf founders – Roland Wolf, his partner Marija Lljazovic, Marija’s brother Martin, and Christian Wolf (above photo, left to right) – draw upon nature’s mountainous bounty and beauty to create their eyewear. I’ve had the pleasure to chat with Christian on various occasions, and most recently, with Christian’s brother Bernhard, who is Sales Director, during SILMO. Bernhard reiterated how the Tyrol area has influenced their work. “Our parents are natives of this region, and our love of the land is the foundation for our frame creations, with trees and stone enabling us to realise our dream of perfect natural eyewear,” says Bernhard.
Rolf Spectacles burst onto the eyewear scene in 2009 with beautiful wood frames sourced from the Tyrol – and immediately they won a Silmo d’Or, and again in 2010. They won two Red Dot Awards (2010 and 2012); they received the Eyewear of the Year Award in Japan this year; and last month, Rolf Spectacles were the Gold winners in the Hall of Frames/Eyestylist.com Newcomer Awards. Very impressive for a three year old company! The other driving force for Rolf Spectacles is old cars – because decades ago, cars were made by hand. “Nowadays, only a few car companies build cars by hand – this happens everywhere – also in the optical business,” says Christian, “however, at Rolf, everything is made by hand, and crafting just one pair of glasses requires hours of handwork, and a high degree of craftsmanship. The sanding stages require lots of concentration and precision.
“At Rolf, we are always searching for new materials that correspond with the company’s philosophy of using natural sources. One of our challenges was to try a material that was not yet used in eyewear. So stone is the perfect addition to our wood and bamboo frames, since stone also offers unique characteristics.” Rolf Spectacles adhere to the fine traditions of classic crafting and detailing precision, and these qualities are realised in each innovative design in natural materials. www.rolf-spectacles.comJG
1st November 2012 Since Joan Grady’s Baroque feature on Eyestylist.com on 1st October, I have come across the latest shoot by Moo Eyewear, so here we are with baroque inspiration Part 2. I have been following Moo Piyasombatkul for a while since I first saw her frames on the Browns Fashion website (www.brownsfashion.com). The baroque concept is exciting and much loved by the fashion press, and the fine porcelain in the collection is an intriguing and unique decorative effect that Moo has studied with great passion and sensitivity.
Moo Piyasombatkul talked to us about the baroque inspiration in her collection: “Initially this was my graduation project at Central Saint Martins. I was doing a BA Jewellery design course. When I graduated in June 2010, I started with an afternoon tea theme as I love having tea and desserts together. My favourite tearoom is Sketch in London… and that was where I got inspired to do this whole Baroque eyewear series. The interior of Sketch uses different antique furnitures but somehow they have put them all together and made it look fresh and new. The ceiling art work is Baroque in style, and I wanted to work with those classic elements but with a twist. I use vintage frames with decorations made from handmade porcelain, similar to what is used for ceramic homewares. This combination was designed to fit the ‘new antique’ theory of Marcel Wanders, which was the crucial part of how I developed my work.”