Winter merriment

Eyestylist joins in the holiday festivities with beautiful Fantasy Frames in Reviews. Our Designer of the Month is based in the Netherlands, and we sleigh-ride to Alpine Austria for an inspired Boutique. London hosts a memorable exhibition on an eclectic style icon; ­click on CITY GUIDES.  Throughout the month, we’ll bring fashion updates on original eyewear, accessories and how designers celebrate!  Happy and peaceful holidays to our loyal readers and sponsors!

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Resort Mood…..

Sunnies for Tropical Destinations

30th December 2013 If the seaside – not snowy slopes – is your idea of a winter holiday, here are two ravishing sunglasses with style and glamour to enjoy wearing in sunny climes. Christian Roth’s dashing design has a vintage air with its beautifully curved shape. Pale blue acetate is accented with a cocoa insert on the frame front. And you can purchase this lovely frame NOW – through Eyestylist at – click and order directly through their online shop.


Italian Elegance - Zazie by LGR
Italian Elegance – Reunion by LGR

Among holiday joys is having the time to leisurely browse in galleries, museums, and shops. Look particularly chic in LGR’s smart design – Reunion  – in smooth acetate. The round shape in elegantly crafted acetate is gracefully voluminous – all handmade in Italy. JG

New! Iris by Cruz Oculista, Portugal

28th December 2013 Eyestylist is delighted that Joao Cruz of Cruz Oculista contacted us this month to introduce an exciting new retail space in historic Coimbra, Portugal – a city with a glorious past, a unique fado and one of Europe’s earliest universities, founded in 1290. Iris by Cruz Oculista is a concept store developed by Ipotz Studio. Inspired by the original design of the historic facade in a street called Ferreira Borges, the shop space – inside and out – creates the illusion of a jewellery box, and houses some carefully chosen alternative eyewear brands from across the globe, among them, Claire Goldsmith, l.a. eyeworks, Kuboraum and Mykita.

The window was sculpted by artist Fernando Coimbra Lardosa, and transforms a simple retail window into an art gallery where frames are displayed at a single level. Immediately attracting attention from the street, this is a store for eyewear connoisseurs and fans of unusual brands offering originality, quality and striking achievements in design and is set to be a new reference for luxury optics in Portugal.

Interior, Iris by Cruz Oculista

Already a hit at Eyestylist, we just wish we were on our way to Coimbra to step inside this little design haven for eyewear connoisseurs! We hope to soon. See more at CN


Lindberg Glamour at Sydney Opera House

Celebration Frame to Commemorate 40th Anniversary

27th December 2013 The Sydney Opera House is one of the architectural icons of the 20th Century. Set on Sydney Harbour, with its soaring white roof and shell shaped sails, the building is a dramatic vision from the air, ferry or on foot. This year the Opera House celebrated its 40th anniversary, and Danish Eyewear Specialists Lindberg participated in the notable event by creating an amazing frame with 40 pink diamonds. The frame is constructed of 18 Carat solid gold from Greenland, and the fabulous pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Western Australia. The special diamond frame was presented aboard a yacht in Sydney Harbour, and subsequently at a gala music event at the Opera House in the presence of HRH Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. JG


Ti Kwa

Creative Director, Rigards, Hong Kong

1st January 2014 “My background is in apparel design and manufacturing, a somewhat logical extension of my lifelong interest in fashion and the technical construction of things,” says Ti Kwa, Creative Director of the buffalo horn specialist label, Rigards. “I started Rigards with my business partner Jean-Marc Virard, a French recording artiste, currently based in Los Angeles. Jean-Marc and I share a vision that combines the love for design and an appreciation for handcrafted eyewear. We met doing what we both enjoy— snooping around an old antique store, and now we’ve joined forces.”

Rigards first came to our attention in 2012 and since that time we are delighted to have seen the brand shooting to the attention of the optical sector, as well as the fashion industry, with specialist stockists appearing across the globe.
“I have been wearing glasses since I was 8 so I guess it’s no surprise that I’ve parlayed my boyhood fascination with how to make things into Rigards,” explains Ti. After a ton of research—we don’t claim to be experts but we certainly have learnt a few things,
having also experimented with acetate and wood—and we took the plunge with horn. With horn, we saw an opportunity to produce our eyeglasses under conditions we felt were optimal: traditional craftsmanship, exclusivity, and sustainability.”

Rigards represents not only artisanal craftsmanship, but also a desire to try new and different techniques. “Horn is a material that translates our aesthetic into a physical object, yes, of course,” – explains Kwa, “it’s also a medium that presents unparalleled textural possibilities—the freedom to go where our creative imaginings can take us. Each piece of horn is absolutely beautiful in its own way and as unique as your fingerprint. Horn is warm to the touch and allergen-free, and therefore very comfortable to wear. Working with horn is a painstaking, labour intensive and time-consuming process, but the result is incredibly satisfying. Understanding the aesthetics and behaviour of horn has enabled us to use a conventional material in unconventional ways, to create frames that are both compelling in their beauty and complementary to the times.”

Atelier, Rigards
Atelier, Rigards

“In the Japanese spirit of “kaizen”, our emphasis is also to improve on what we’ve done previously, to refine our collection on all fronts: superior lenses, hinges, techniques. Gradual steps rather than abrupt leaps. We also have a couple of collaborative projects in development—the who and how of which I’m going to keep under wraps for the moment.”

RG0024 by Rigards
RG0024 by Rigards

Rigards exhibits at Paris Fashion Week at least twice a year. The fashion forward audience appreciates their avant-garde designs and showing in Paris helps them to maintain a good relationship with the fashion industry. “The pleasures enlivened by traveling,” says Kwa, “and meeting old friends and new ones, and the city during the buzz of PFW, of course, never fail to be an enriching source of inspiration too.”

Asked about his interests outside eyewear, Kwa has many that are linked to design. “I have an obsession with collecting vintage finds: modernist furniture, 1940s phantom heads and, of course, antique eyewear. Travelling is what I do quite a bit these days and as tiring as that can get, it’s also invigorating to step out of my everyday routine to see and experience something foreign. I also enjoy discovering independent labels (a long-time favourite is Sarpaneva Watches from Finland), perhaps because we ourselves are an indie label. I like the idea of small-time designers with a stronger dedication to originality and quality being quiet revolutionaries in a culture of consume-and-discard. So my design aesthetic, I suppose, is influenced by a conglomeration of them all: my eclectic taste, my quasi-wanderlust, my affinity for good old craftsmanship.”

“We will be kicking off 2014 with a presentation at Opti Munich (Jan 10-12, Messe München, Hall C4 Booth 608). There’s always something special about the first time so we’re eagerly looking forward to the event—even if the weather forecasts suggest it will be bitterly cold. We’re also equally excited to be returning to our private showroom in Paris— please join us at Galerie de Thorigny on 1 place de Thorigny from January  16-20  2014. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. Happy 2014 to everyone, may all your new ventures be a galloping success!






Viking Holidays

Jacob Kilsgaard Celebrates The Season!

24th December 2013 Jacob Kilsgaard describes a Danish Christmas – with food, fine wine, family and friends.

“Being Danish, and thereby a Viking, you can image all the eating and drinking we have. We get together with friends and family you only see in December, and we talk about all the things we didn’t have a chance to over the past year. We celebrate Christmas and open the gifts on the evening of the 24th. We eat crispy pork with red cabbage, oven cooked duck, and Christmas sausages. We flush it all down with rice pudding and hectolitres of red wine. Good times ahead for sure…..Our traditions are more or less the same for Christmas Eve and day – we prepare the food for the day, go to church, go home and watch the classic Disney cartoons, eat a huge dinner, light the candles on the tree, listen to carols and dance around the house, and open the gifts. At midnight we eat again – and the same procedure is for Christmas Day – only without church and gifts.

“As an only child, I was always drowning in presents on Christmas Eve. My best friend Morten Bast lived down the street from us, and we always put on  all of our presents and met on the hill between our houses, packed with our new clothes, ski-goggles, wearing ski boots and carrying whatever ‘Santa’ had brought us….Silly spoiled 15 year old boys! For the merry season,  hold your head high, be a good host, remember people we’ve lost over the years, and remember it’s all about the kids.” JG

Noël Italian Style

Buon Natale: Luca Gnecchi Ruscone at LGR Reminisces

20th December 2013 “My family and I always reunite in my grandparent’s house in Florence for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We eat fish on Christmas Eve, and my grandmother spoils us with salmon and various traditional cakes and sweets like dried figs, nuts, panettone, pandoro and torrone. We have a Christmas tree, and we open our gifts after dinner on the 24th. We don’t have our own traditions, but there is one thing that always happens that could be called a tradition, which is eating a fish soup at my uncle’s house on 26th December. We also drink a lot of great wines. My uncle is a great connoisseur and we pass from the stiff and uptight atmosphere of my grandparent’s house, to the more relaxed, laid back of my uncle’s.

Luca with his mother and sister in Cetona, Italy
Luca with his mother and sister in Cetona, Italy

“Christmas was much more Christmas when I was a child. I would feel it much more and I would wait for it with much anticipation and excitement. The smells, the voices, the tree, the colours and the atmosphere will always be in my heart as the happiest days of my childhood. Now I have children of my own, and I hope to be able to make them at least as happy as I was when I was a child. For the merry season, be good to everyone, and remember that you are very lucky and that not everyone is. Remember to give to someone in need. We are living in a highly self-centered and consumer society, but it was not like this before. It is not what you give that is important, but the feelings you generate by doing so. Think and be close to older people: talk to them as much as you can; learn from them.” JG

Images: Luca Gnecchi Ruscone has kindly shared photos from his childhood Christmas celebrations with Eyestylist. 

A golden glow

17th December 2013 We can’t get enough of the gold designs at this festive time of year. Following on from our gold theme from 1st December ( we highlight three more exciting, stand-out frame designs with the golden glow.

From Mykita, the popular circular Janis style gets a makeover in a collaboration with Paris based fashion designer, Bernhard Willhelm. The hi-tech gold coloured stainless steel frame is a super lightweight design – with gold flash lenses that will pack a punch.

Vanni Surfing
Vanni Surfing

The textured gold frames in the Vanni Surfing Collection by Nico Design are designs created in metal with a brand new surface finish. The series includes some oversized designs and classic cat eyes with the unique “stardust” 3-d colour lacquering and pretty “multiplayer” lenses. The mirrored lenses make a stunning counterpoint to the solid frame colour.

Rio by Barton Perreira (Jane Russell's character in the Outlaw
Rio by Barton Perreira – Jane Russell’s character in the Outlaw

Featuring soft gold gradient mirrors, and a warm golden honey toned acetate is Barton Perreira’s Rio Aviator Sunglasses. Their subtle shape and classic lightweight and thin design make these an ideal choice for a glamorous occasion this Christmas. Rio is currently available at Neiman Marcus priced at £310.72 – CN


All I Want for Christmas is…..

A Steinway Piano…..

13th December 2013 At the top of my Noël wish list is a Steinway –  the piano of my playing days…the happy memories linger and the glorious sound and beauty of a Steinway continues to enthrall musicians to this day. From musical icons Arthur Rubinstein and Cole Porter to today’s artists – including Mitsuko Uchida and Lang Lang – A Steinway piano possesses history, expert craftsmanship, plus an amazing sound, and the keyboard responds with magnificence. I can feel my fingers on the keys now…


Ring Artistry by Susanne Klemm
Ring Artistry by Susanne Klemm

Before Susanne Klemm focused her prodigious talent on eyewear, she created jewellery. Her creations are abundant with originality, as are the materials she uses – silver, polyolefin, epoxy, wood and calcite are among the materials found in her designs. Among my favourites is Oceanum – a ring in a concerto of blue created with epoxy and calcite.

Fragrance from Gotti
Fragrance from Gotti

Père Noël – in the guise of Sven Götti – has already arrived with a bottle of this tangy, spicy fragrance created by Sven. The aroma is a sensual treat, mingling nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, cedar and more! Fragrance ’99 has great warmth and richness – and a joyous spirit! www.gotti-ch JG

Winter Celebrations!

Rolf Team Celebrate Tradition….and They Ski!

10th December 2013 “The Rolf’s spend the holidays on the mountains. Christmas without snow and skiing isn’t Christmas for a Tyrolean. Many people spend their winter holidays around our base as well, so the ski slopes are crowded during Christmas time. We prefer a small lift in Weissenbach which is mainly used by locals – a kind of insider tip! Every Christmas Eve, we bake a special bread, with four symbols on the top. Each symbol has a meaning. The pig stands for money; corn for good earning, the moon for a sleepy person, and the barrel means someone who is drunk. This bread is eaten on Christmas Day, in a special way. It’s cut and turned upside down, so that you can’t see the symbols on top. Now everyone takes a piece of the bread and looks at what symbol is on it. That forecasts how your next year is going to be!

“Our Christmas traditions are based on family traditions and celebrations that are handed down from generation to generation. As children, we couldn’t wait for the Christ child to come and then open all the Christmas gifts under the tree”! JG

Let’s Party!

Zoobug Designs Fun Frames for Youngsters

6th December 2013  Children will jump for joy when they see Zoobug frames among their gifts! ‘Tis the season to select comfortable, robust and stylish eyewear designs for the young set. Zoobug, the award-winning specialist brand for innovative children’s sunglasses and optical frames features a lovely selection of styles in snazzy block colours and combinations that kids love to wear. Above, Zoobug model Ollie is suitable for girls and boys, crafted from high quality Italian acetate. Available in black/red (featured) also in tortoiseshell, classic navy and blue/black.

Holiday Spirit - Ollie by award winning children's eyewear specialist Zoobug
Holiday Spirit – Ollie by award-winning children’s eyewear specialist Zoobug

Ollie is a modern design for discriminating youngsters that introduces them to quality frames, builds their confidence and creates a love for fine eyewear from an early age. JG

Photo:top image/clothing by Poppy



Winter Festivities!

Celebrating the Holidays with Eyewear Designers

3rd December 2013  Winter celebrations and festivities come in many varieties. Eyestylist asked several designers to share with us how they mark winter celebrations. The series begins with American designer Shane Baum, at Leisure Society. – Above:  Shane’s daughters enjoy the snow at Jackson Hole Wyoming.

How do you usually spend the Christmas/winter holidays? “I spend the holidays with family and friends in Palm Springs, California. It’s two hours from my home, but significantly warmer and sunnier.”

Do you have particular traditions that are part of the celebrations? Food? Decorations? “In the United States, we love our Christmas trees donned with ornaments and Santa Claus is really big, no pun intended! One tradition our family has passed on for generations is the making of a drink “Tom and Jerry’s” (a variation of eggnog) on Christmas morning. My grandfather, John Breen, was a great family patriarch and insisted that it was a position of honour to make, and taste the batter as you make this drink.”


Have you and your family/friends created your own traditions? “Well, in Palm Springs, I have a lot of friends that are in the desert over the holidays, and we typically play golf and tennis, and soak in some sun.”

Is there a particular celebration with special memories that stands out for you – as a child? As an adult? “As a child, we would always go to my grandparent’s house for Christmas. I have very fond memories of this; I loved them very, very much. My grandfather would always sleep on his fold out chair while we played with our toys. I think maybe enjoying the Tom and Jerry’s helped this process!”

Is there anything else you would like add about the merry season? “I think it’s always a great time to be thankful for all the gifts we are given in life. I am so grateful for all the talented, kind people I get to work with, my sweet and loving family, and my great friends that always make the holidays a memorable time.” JG

Photo above: Shane Baum and friends pretend it’s Christmas in Newport Beach, California – where there is no snow – with a “Gefälshte” – a fake ski party!


Anna-Karin Karlsson

Plenty of fantasy here! With Anna-Karin Karlsson’s stunning Lioness silky black acetate sunglasses. The lioness and brow trim feature 24K gold plating with fine etching details, and gold plated end-tips. There is a hint of retro in the shape and wide sides. An outstanding statement frame from the award winning Swedish designer. Available on line at JG


Lindberg Precious

For elegance and supreme simplicity, Lindberg’s Precious design 939 is a work of art. The classic frame shape harmonizes the mixture of white and yellow gold, further highlighted with two exquisite diamonds on each side…and diamonds are many women’s fantasy!  The surface of the temples is available in matt or polished gold. This Lindberg Precious frame is true jewellery for your eyes! JG


Punk It

Face à Face Paris

Fancy a bit of clubbing? A mad night on the town? Look the part in Punk It – a no-holds-barred exotic frame that is fun and designed to be noticed! The shape features a retro mood with silver “spikes” that lavishly decorate the frame front. Crafted in fine acetate, this is the frame to wear to release your inner goth/punk/wild self! Also available in sleek black and silver. JG

Fusing Nature and Art

Suzanne Klemm – Suzy Glam – The Netherlands

1st December 2013 This month Eyestylist visits with Suzanne Klemm, designer at Suzy Glam, who launched her label earlier this year. Why did you decide to create eyewear? “My first education was as an optician. I was seventeen, and listened to my parent’s advice not to study (like I wanted) design, but instead learn a “real job” where I could be financially independent. I used this profession as a side job next to my later profession as a jewellery designer. I studied jewellery and exhibition design at Zurich University of Arts, and I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utrecht. In the optical shop in Amsterdam where I work part-time, I met Etienne Frederiks. Quite soon it was clear that we wanted to start our own label. We combined our interests and talents, and developed over a period of more than one year our first collection. Now it seems very logical to us that we took this step.” Inspiration: What are your sources – travel, art, architecture, your jewellery background?  “Nature is an endless source of inspiration to me. I try to materialize my observations. On the other hand, visiting art installations and sculptures gives me a drive to work. Some of my ideas are going in the direction of jewellery, some in the direction of eyewear. Sometimes I use shape or technical solutions for eyewear from my jewellery experiences. I create a concept that helps me to give a sense to each creation, and a coherency between every single piece. In other words, I like to think in series.”

Suzy Glam is Right on Time in Coffee Acetate
Suzy Glam is Right on Time in Coffee Acetate

As a newcomer to the optical world, were there any challenges/obstacles to start? “Starting is always hard and uncomfortable. At the same time, it was one of the reasons why we took this step – starting something new is extremely exciting. Every step is a step on unknown territory. The fact that Etienne had so much experience and contacts in the optical world helped us a lot. Everyone we knew supported us and we are very thankful for that.” What materials are your favourite in which to create frames? Do you have a “wish list” for materials that you would like to use? “I love acetate. I love plastics in general, also for jewellery. It’s warm, colourful, soft to touch, translucent and it gives me the possibility to shape it very three-dimensionally. I know it would be a good time to create in metal, but at the moment I express myself the best in acetate.”

Ring by Suzy Glam in epoxy and wood
Ring by Suzy Glam in epoxy and wood

What advice would you give to designers/students who wish to enter the optical design world today? “What advice? Hmmm…same as for every design direction student; keep it close to you. I don’t believe in marketing research. Sure it can work out for earning money, but for satisfaction…..besides that, you can compare it to fashion: a trend is always coming out of a fresh, creative mind, and never out of marketing.” Anything else you would like to include? “About your site: I’m happy that this kind of platform exists, before I designed eyewear, I wasn’t aware of that. It helps to pull the optical world out of the traditionally, dusty profession, where it sometimes still is.”  JG Photos: Image of Susanne Klemm and Etienne Frederiks exclusively for Eyestylist by Gilles Stüssi Frame photo: Dick Kikstra

Innovation in Innsbruck

ROLF Eco-Friendly Boutique

1st December 2013 When I arrived at the Innsbruck train station, I was gallantly whisked off with Bernie Wolf to visit the new boutique – Wolf Meister Optik – owned by his brother Stefan. After only a few years in the business, the Wolf family are already an Austrian eyewear legacy – Roland, Bernie and Christian form part of The Rolf Team in The Tyrol, and Stefan is an optician. Earlier this year, he opened this smart little shop in Innsbruck. The location is a rejuvenated area that is enjoying a renaissance with chic shops, galleries, restaurants and cafés. The neighbourhood is drawing clients who appreciate quality and individualism – and for Stefan’s shop – customers who appreciate finely crafted frames.

Stefan’s concept for the boutique is to present “la crème de la crème” of eyewear, and he features Jérémy Tarian, L.G.R., Persol, Silhouette, and of course, Rolf Spectacles winning designs, plus others.  An eco-friendly atmosphere prevails with the décor in lovely natural woods. Many of the display items have been made and polished by the family. The “eye catcher” is an antique cabinet from the 1950’s, with multiple individual drawers – perfect for holding frames – practical and unique. JG

Isabella Blow:Fashion Galore!

Somerset House Celebrates British Fashion Patron

1st December 2013 Elegant Somerset House in London is the venue for a major fashion exhibition celebrating the extraordinary life and wardrobe of Isabella Blow – the late British fashion icon and muse. On show are over one hundred items from her incredibly rich fashion collection, one of the most important private collections of late 20th Century/early 21st Century British fashion design, and now owned by another style icon, Daphne Guinness. This includes garments from the designer talents Isabella discovered and launched, including Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald amongst others.

Blow was born in 1950’s post-war Britian, with a family history that can be traced back to the 14th Century. Highlights of the exhibition include family photographs and the sculpture entitled “Isabella Blow” by Tim Noble and Sue Webster. At the graduate shows from Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art, she discovered Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy. Isabella had an amazing eye for spotting talent, and then wore the designer’s clothes everywhere to showcase their creativity. Her collection included designs by McQueen, Fendi, Dior, Prada, Viktor and Rolf, John Galliano for Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Marni, plus wonderful hats from Treacy – all on display at the exhibition.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is a fitting tribute to a woman who loved fashion and did so much to promote British designers. Until 2 March 2014. JG

Photo: Isabella Blow and Philip Treacy 2003 by Donald McPherson

Gold fever

1st December 2013 Completely irresistible chic gold items for the festive season…we think we’ve found some really splendid ones, each one showing off the luxurious quality of this elegant precious metal that is very much in vogue again. Meet two special jewellery companies – creative uber-chic designer Kirsten Goss –, and the acclaimed Belgian designers, Wouters & Hendrix – In eyewear, we found many different expressions of the gold theme including exceptional hand-finished gold designs that revisit the refined elegance of precious metal in spectacle design. CN

1. Songbird by Barton Perreira,  2. Gold cuff by Wouters & Hendrix, 3. Ring by Wouters & Hendrix 4. Zero 01, gold aviator, Finest Seven, 5. Mia hoops by Kirsten Goss, £95.00,  6. Ring by Wouters & Hendrix, as before 7. Feather pendant by Wouters & Hendrix 8. Velma cuff, £265, by Kirsten Goss 9. Ventura by BOZ, Fabulous Papers collection,  

Amazingly Beautiful Eyewear

is highlighted this month on Eyestylist, that we have seen in our recent travels. In Reviews, the natural beauty and elegance of horn frames feature. We identify seven of the best and most exceptional buffalo horn styles that combine craftsmanship, individuality and ingenious design.  We visit a spirited boutique in Israel, and Italian colour and creativity is showcased in Designer of the Month. In City Guides, the luxury of natural pearls is the subject of a stunning exhibition in London. Throughout the month, you’ll find exciting accessories on Eyestylist.

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Designers Off Duty

Ciro Tugnoli Takes to the Road on a Vespa!

29th November 2013 Continuing our series on “Designers Off Duty” – Blue Magic Eye designer Ciro Tugnoli shares his Vespa Rally adventures with Eyestylist.

“Vespa is the traditional scooter in Italy since forever….I started with my first Vespa at eighteen years old – not as young as people usually start. I began with an old one from my brother. I took part in my first “Vespata” in 2003. There are several Vespa weekends and meetings around the world, but I usually take part in the one that is held every year – usually in May in Bologna. It’s not really an official Vespa weekend; it’s more a crew of friends that plan a “clandestine” ride across the Bologna hills. We meet each other (I think we are about 300 Vespas) in a Bologna city centre square, and after a quick ride in the city centre (where people look at us with a lot of curiosity!), we start to climb the hills across the city. We drive for approximately 40km. It’s quite hard to drive a 50cc Vespa, sometimes with two people on it (Guya Montermini Blue Magic Eye Design Partner often accompanies Ciro), climbing the small streets up to the hills.


Vespa Variations! Ready to Roll in Bologna Italy
Vespa Variations! Ready to Roll in Bologna Italy

“Luckily, several stops are planned where we can enjoy a beer, a glass of wine and some music….The finish line is in Lojano, in a countryside manor called Palazzo Loup. This is where we usually eat some sandwiches with “mortadella” or some “pasta al ragû”, and we can just relax and enjoy the sun. This is also the place where the real competition takes place. Only the bravest can take part at “Gimkana” – a grass track full of the unexpected! I would love to collect vintage Vespas, but it’s an expensive passion and a lot of space is needed to store them. You must ride your vespa – not leave her inside a box. At the moment I have two: a PX50 from 1982 – my first Vespa – and a Vespa 50’s from 1960. I’m thinking about a bigger one – maybe 125/150cc – we’ll see what I’ll ride next springtime……” JG

My Christmas wish list

26th November 2013 Three gifts for Christmas that I am hoping for? The White Dove and Wonder Reclaimed and Remade designs featuring shoe lasts caught my eye at Best of Britannia in October and I would love one of their lamps! Vintage shoe lasts from the 1930s – crafted in a traditional shoe factory in Northampton, are given a new lease of life in products that range from table lamps, shelves to bookends, and coat pegs. The striking designs combine the lasts with natural wood and would make a super feature in homes and eyewear stores, particularly if you have an interest in recycling and vintage finds! For more information visit

From Liberty's
Astier de Villatte at Liberty’s

I have also spotted the very fine Astier de Villatte eye designs in the Liberty’s Christmas windows in London – as well as the classic white designs by the French design house don’t miss the items with an eye motif that are striking and chic – Eye mug, £100, Eye Tea Pot, £250. A wide range of Astier de Villatte products are on display at Liberty’s and their candles are available directly from the website from £56.00 :

Wouters & Hendrix
Wouters & Hendrix Jewelry

A jewellery piece such as the Wouters & Hendrix subtle green Agate bracelet would be my jewellery fantasy this year. The collection can be viewed at Visit their stores in Antwerp and Brussels if you get the chance. CN




Spectacles, from need to refinery

A new spectacles edition from Norway, written by Bjørn L.G. Braathen

23rd November 2013 Norwegian author, eyewear enthusiast and photographer, Bjørn L.G. Braathen has been interested in spectacles since he was 15, and worked with eyewear in the late 70s, selling original designs from the 1940s and 50s. His new book released last month, “Spectacles – from need to finery” is published by Orage (Norway) and charts a personal journey and interest in vintage eyewear; the book also highlights two exhibitions by the author, one of which is taking place in Norway to accompany the release of the book. It features an essay by psychologist, Reidar Hjermann on why people like to see and be seen in glasses.

Portrait of the author
Portrait of the author

Braathen commented, “I have seen and collected many spectacles over the years. I used to be a barrister but I have always been interested in design and particularly eyewear. My book is the result of my studies and the two exhibitions, in Rome, previously, and now Norway, that display my collection with photos of the same glasses on many people; the aim is to give an insight into how people influence spectacles and how spectacles influence people.”

The illustrations in the book include Braathen’s own series of portraits as well as interesting pictures of vintage glasses, including early goggles, examples of antique spectacles, early advertising campaign imagery, and a colourful array of spectacles cases. The book is written in Norwegian with an English translation.

Spectacles, from need to refinery is now available at Bentleys in Walton Street, London – [email protected] and online at,%20Bjørn%20L.%20G CN

On Site at Silhouette

A Visit to Linz Headquarters

22nd November 2013 For many year I’ve written about Silhouette eyewear, and heard about the outstanding production of the iconic frames that takes place in Linz Austria. So it was a pleasure to finally visit the hub of activity and see Silhouette in action. On a visit to Austria, on a sun-drenched morning, the taxi pulled up to the entrance of Silhouette Headquarters, and I entered the Silhouette universe that has been creating eyewear news for almost fifty years. The pristine white building is nestled off a main road in Linz, surrounded by lovely flowers and trees. It’s a serene setting for the multi-faceted activity that takes place inside.

Arnold Schmied and his wife Anneliese, started Silhouette in 1964, and in the intervening years, the company has grown into a global firm with worldwide distribution. Their success has been achieved by adhering to their founding principles. “The Silhouette experience is based  around lightness and style: we relate to lightness and authenticity,” says Christian Hafner, Brand Manager, “and Silhouette is not a fashion brand – we are classic and timeless with sophistication. From the very beginning, the Silhouette passion was to make great eyewear. Customers need the best glasses in the world in terms of quality, look, design and not hiding the personality. We have a deep understanding of what the customer wants.”

Titan Minimal Art by Silhouette

Man and machines blend harmoniously at Silhouette – the result of special training by the company, so employees know the correct handling of complex machinery. The personnel are highly skilled and the precision tools used in the process of creating the frames are all professionally cleaned, polished and cared for with meticulous upkeep. There are between 180 and 260 process steps that are part of each frame – depending on the design. Hand processes are an intricate part of the frame making, and each person responsible for the delicate manoeuvres necessary excel at their profession. Everything in the factory is eco-friendly with great care and consideration for the employees, as well as the materials with which they are working.

Next year, Silhouette will mark their 50th anniversary – celebration plans are under wraps at the moment, but no doubt they will be exciting, and move the company into a new era. Christian Hafner commented that royalty and many people in public life wear Silhouette, who know and demand quality and discreetness. The Silhouette story is a tribute to a global company who has embraced the technical and style evolutions through the years, and been able to retain the founding fathers concepts of quality and design. JG

The gift of…handmade shoes

19th November 2013 Caroline Groves produces shoes that you might have thought you could only dream of. But here they are, like something out of a fairytale, theatrical, beautifully formed, exquisitely embroidered, the ultimate in bespoke handcrafted designs.

I met Groves at a recent fashion event. “I produce bespoke orders – each one uniquely designed and handmade for the customer. I trained as a traditional bespoke shoemaker; I now work with many luxurious materials, vintage silks, velvet, calf and suede and some unusual ones.”

Typical of her creations are the Betty Boop platforms – Gypsy Rosie – created in smooth black velvet with roses and forget-me-nots embroidered by hand by Alice Archer. Every addition is carefully sourced, from the precious antique buckles on this style to the unexpected exotic Parakeet wings and vintage silks in “Turquoise Parakeet” (below).

Parakeet wing silk peep toe sandals, Caroline Groves
Parakeet wing silk peep toe sandals, Caroline Groves

For those wishing to commission a pair of these extraordinary handmade shoes for a loved one, Groves has created a new gift certificate – an elegantly crafted stiff black envelope – inspired by Victorian keepsakes –  with an embroidered toile design. Inside an embossed invitation card promises the bearer the ‘gift of a pair of couture shoes made for you by hand by Caroline Groves’.

Caroline Groves Couture Shoes - Gypsy Rosie
Caroline Groves Couture Shoes – Gypsy Rosie

From £2,500 the gift certificate will give the recipient an unparalleled service, explained the designer. It includes three one-on-one personal fittings. The result will be a pair of bespoke shoes made entirely by hand around a last that is made specifically for your foot’s shape. The perfect present? Find out more about bespoke commissions by Caroline Groves: [email protected] CN

Fine Art Eyewear

Elegant Unison of Materials at Leisure Society

15th November 2013 Shane Baum is a master at designing eyewear that resembles fine art. His newest collection pays tribute to acclaimed philosophers with frames that are unique and distinctive. Rodrigues (above) features a keyhole bridge and bold metal insets on the front. Highly intricate multi-dimensional laser etching is applied to titanium with beautiful enamel insets. The temple tips are available in 12k, 18K, or 24k gold on pure titanium, combined with Japanese cotton-based acetate. The lenses are coated with Diamond Cast anti-scratch coating – completing a frame with precisely engineered components and meticulous attention to detail.


The Scholarly Nietzsche by Shane Baum at Leisure Society
The Scholarly Nietzsche by Shane Baum at Leisure Society

The 19th Century philosopher Nietzsche is honoured in a  scholarly round frame with contemporary styling. Laser etching, enamel insets and white gold plated temple tips ensure that the frame is crafted similar to the finest jewellery. Nietzsche is available in chic tones of Matte Smoke (above) Black and Tortoise. Each Leisure Society frame is individually numbered and handmade in Japan by superb artisan craftsmen. Pure luxury for your eyes! JG

Hello my name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum, London


14th November 2013 An exhibition about Paul Smith’s journey in fashion opens tomorrow at the Design Museum, London. It is a wonderful, positive story. At a press launch in June, Smith talked about the tiny store he first opened in Nottingham and the Afghan hound Homer who probably took up much of that tiny space where his fashion retail journey began; he related with great enthusiasm many of his personal experiences and thoughts on his career which will be highlighted throughout the exhibition, which he personally recommended not just to adults but children too.

Paul Smith, Melrose Avenue
Paul Smith, Melrose Avenue

Charting the full story of the fashion label from Nottingham to its Paris launch in the 70s and its growth and expansion worldwide, there will be opportunities to see a recreation of Paul Smith’s idiosyncratic personal office and projections, film clips and behind-the-scenes footage of the inner workings of the brand – plus a showcase of the many clothing collections and shops themselves such as the Melrose Place one (above), each one unique. A book, published by Rizzoli, has been released to coincide with the exhibition; we’ve yet to get our hands on it. Exhibition runs to 9 March 2014. CN

Further details: CN

Trend alert: a multicoloured Spring

12th November 2013 The fashionistas were sporting brightly coloured fine eyewear in Paris – see our feature on Christian Roth sunglasses –, so we urge you to put away all fears of wearing colour on your face, and seek out something sensational for 2014. Bright, cheerful hues are part of the mix again in spring; you’ll see dramatic single shots of primary colour and a new wave of designs featuring colour blasts of neon or layered colour, clashing or coordinated, but always bold and exploring fresh palettes. We highlight three designs that pave the way for the colourful year ahead…..

1. Single shots of strong colour Mornington Crescent from Ron Arad’s PQ Eyewear in canary yellow illustrates the power of one single bright colour. Part of the SLS 3D printed Springs Collection, the design is made from nylon powder using SLS technology and feels soft and pleasant on the face (pictured above.) Find more about PQ Eyewear at

Marie, Electric Collection ic! berlin
Marie in volet, electric collection 2013 /  ic! berlin

2. Innovative colour techniques for “ultrabright ultralight” stainless steel ic! berlin’s electric collection serves up cracking colour choices for stainless steel eyewear, created using a special technically complex PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating technique. The results in terms of the intensity of the colour tones are impressive and among the choices are violet and magenta, colours that are very accessible to many complexions. Stunning.

Avril by Face à Face
Avril by Face à Face

3. Layer up with chic combinations At French label Face à Face, the layering of colour permeates through the latest collections, with a variety of moods created in the pairings, such as a hint of art deco in a black and white theme, and a dash of youthfulness in a fresh red with orange (Avril, above). We also love their flecks of neon on temple ends or built into temples (model Chloe).  More lively acetate styles at CN