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




Rhythm & Blues

Eyewear in Cool Blues

8th November 2013 Blue is sometimes labelled as a difficult frame colour to wear. Fortunately, designers are very adept at creating beautiful blues that harmonize well with a variety of skin tones. Coppe & Sid’s new styles include a lovely blue and crystal acetate frame – Port Louis – with the colours “nested” inside each other. Coppe & Sid frames are handmade in Italy, and there is a discreet lapis lazuli stone embedded in the temple of every frame.

 Blue Magic Eye - style 4000
Blue Magic Eye – style 4000

At Blue Magic Eye, Italian designers Guya Montermini and Ciro Tugnoli have created a frame with character, and a sense of mystery. The classic, elegant shape – highlighted in deep blue – is contrasted with gold sides. Italian craftsmanship is evident in each handmade design. JG


Piaf Gold


a-morir’s Creator Kerin Rose Gold has an extraordinary commitment to luxury artisanal eyewear and we always applaud her ability to set the agenda and push boundaries in handcrafted luxury designs featuring gem stones.

We are just getting to know her Pixie collection for S/S14 and the sparkling asymmetrical Piaf sets the mood – drawing inspiration from Bob Mackie costuming, New York City Vogue culture of the 80s and 90s, and outlaw motorcycle gangs, this collection, says Kerin, is a reflection of a-morir’s ideals on outlaw glamour. It also has the beautiful accomplished hand-finished detailing, gem work and attention to colour typical of Rose’s most exceptional pieces which of course are available in some of the most luxurious fashion boutiques around the world. Keep it up KRG!  CN

Anniversary Celebrations!

JF Rey Creates Sunglass Collection for Renoma

5th November 2013 The iconic Parisian boutique Renoma is celebrating its 50th anniversary and for the momentous occasion –  another legendary French brand JF Rey – has designed an exclusive collection of sunglasses for the shop. Renoma’s fans flock to the chic 16th arrondissement boutique to find the latest cutting edge clothes and trend-setting  accessories – including eyewear, jewellery, bags, watches, luggage and belts. Founded by Maurice Renoma, the boutique is delightfully eclectic, adding to its charm and appeal. Boutique:

Roch 9560 - exclusive design for Parisian boutique Renoma
Roch 9560 – exclusive design for Parisian boutique Renoma


JF Rey is acknowledged for their creativity and innovation in eyewear. Located in Marseille, their sunny surroundings frequently influence the frame designs in acetate and metal. For Renoma’s 50th anniversary, Roch sunglasses have sleek styling in smooth acetate with fine technical details – a Renoma exclusive. JG


S#07 Sequin

Peter & May Walk

An Autumn visit to a branch of Marc Le Bihan opticians in the Marais in Paris highlighted their new release – a collection, named Peter & May Walk, produced in France and created by design duo Xavier Matrand and Marc Le Bihan’s daughter, Laura. This range is available through Marc Le Bihan stores in Paris and a few selected French and international opticians and department stores; featuring classic minimal styling for the opticals, and some fashion surprises in the sunglass collection, the model that caught my eye was this gorgeous statement piece  – model S#07 – which contains real sequinned fabric sandwiched between the smooth Mazzucchelli acetate layers. Unique for seasonal sparkle!

Find the frames at CN



Rolf Spectacles Austria

Buffalo horn – the classically elegant material for eyewear – is experiencing a resurgence as designers use the fabrication – all eco-friendly – with frames that are timeless and unique. Here we review our favourites.

In their spacious surroundings in the Austrian mountains, the Rolf Team creates – step-by-step – totally handmade horn frames. Select horn plates are used for the designs, which are set on an inner wooden core – no metal or other materials are used. The temples in Hornet are gracefully tapered, and the frame is light, flexible and feels wonderful on the skin. Naturally pure and a work of art. JG



Götti Switzerland

Natural horn was the first material that Sven Götti used when he started designing frames. His continued appreciation for this natural material is evident in his newest designs. Buddy is constructed with elaborate craftsmanship in genuine horn with a layer of black walnut. Hours of hand polishing ensure a brilliant sheen with unique colouring. Exclusive, authentic and beautiful. JG



A complex, painstaking process enabled Ti Kwa at Rigards to create this stunning horn frame. A heat process is used to alter the look of the horn, and the patterns are all varied, as a pure essential oil blend is used during the procedure. Hand polishing makes the frame look as if it has a coppery patina, and a rich history of a cherished relic. No wax is used in creating the matte burnished finish, and it gives the treated horn an air of rare antiquity. An unrepeatable piece of art. JG



The internationally acclaimed Danish company specialises in creating luxury frames, and this finely crafted design is an excellent example. Buffalo horn unites with sleek titanium in a contemporary design. The gracefully sculpted horn front is balanced with smooth titanium temples. A connoisseur’s delight. JG

Zero 10

Finest Seven

Pure buffalo horn at Finest Seven is interpreted with glamorous sunglasses in light coloured horn – hallmarked with 5-micron gold plated temples. Made in France, each carefully handcrafted design is unique. The voluminous square shape features superb quality Zeiss lenses. A Collector’s item – with only one-hundred pieces per colour model. JG


Eye-witness TZ

Theo Belgium

This dramatic, yet pared down shape has Theo’s stamp of originality in the design. Japanese titanium and Indian buffalo horn combine to create a lightweight, flexible and distinctive frame from Theo’s eye-witness collection. The frame front and temples in TZ are made from titanium, and the horn accents are clicked into the titanium without the use of any screws. A frame with natural richness and expression. JG


Pearls – Beauty and Symbolism

Victoria & Albert Museum Celebrates Pearls

1st November 2013 Natural pearls have always been objects of desire, due to their rarity and beauty. Through the centuries, myths and legends surround them. Now at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is a beautiful exhibition charting the history of pearls – from the formation of the pearl itself to their legendary fashion symbolism. Pearls were prominent in the European Courts of the 19th century, and today the unfailing glamour and desire for pearls continues. Necklaces, crowns, brooches and bracelets are all on display – luxurious symbols of femininity and timelessness. The exhibition continues through 14 January 2014. Photo: Sotheby’s Cartier 1930’s pearl with platinum and diamond clasps. The Qatar Museums Authority Collection  JG

V&A Broochbrownpearlssetinplatinumdiamonds_France_1900_c_Albion_Art
Brooch with brown pearls set in platinum diamonds France 1900

Photo: Albion Art


No. 50


Tucked away in the beautiful alpine city of Chur – the oldest city in Switzerland – and surrounded by mountain magic, Swiss optician Pascal Nüesch designs luxurious horn frames, entirely handcrafted. He works by himself, creating each design from start to finish. The timeless shape of No. 50 in natural Indian buffalo horn is truly an eyewear heirloom. JG

Italian Heritage

Mondelliani Eyewear – Rome

1st November 2013 The vibrant, lively colours of the Mediterranean pulsate through the Mondelliani eyewear collections. The Rome-based company has a long history of an optical presence in this fabled city. Forty years ago a boutique was opened by Giancarlo Mondello, which now has cult status in the city with its wonderful collections of Mondelliani styles, as well as acclaimed independent designers, including Theo, Anne et Valentin, Lindberg, and Yellow Plus among others. The family legacy continues today with Giancarlo’s wife Rosaria, and son Federico heading the Mondelliani team. Above photo: “Work in Progress” at Mondelliani


Panarea Avenue by Mondellaini
Panarea Avenue by Mondellaini

Giancarlo Mondello was interested in photography, with a stylised ‘lens eye’ enabling him to understand design. Everything in the Mondelliani collection is linked to colour – “Our attitude to colour is closely related to our being Italian,” says Federico Mondello. Gorgeous, superb quality acetate hues of green, ocean blue, vibrant orange, champagne, and aquamarine are among the delectable tones available in the frames.


Ballon in sun-kissed Cabernet by Mondelliani
Ballon in sun-kissed Cabernet by Mondelliani

Expansion of the Mondelliani brand began eight years ago with the launch of a second shop. Then in 2009, there was the debut of the frame collection.  The delightful, sunny colours take their cue from the proximity to the Mediterranean, and the lovely Aeolian Islands in the south of Italy, near Sicily. Inspiration for the beautifully crafted designs for men and women is also gleaned from customers who visit the shops. Quality is keynote at Mondelliani – eveerything is handmade in Italy, with fine Zeiss lenses. The frame tones and lens tint colours co-ordinate – and the harmonious results are stunning. JG

Joseph Haver, Tel Aviv, Israel

1st November 2013 Time Out loves this store and so do we. Joseph Haver’s boutique in Tel Aviv stands out not only because of its interesting design but also the owner’s go-ahead spirit in terms of working with glasses. I met Joseph and wife Masha Roda in Paris in September following lots of chats about our eyewear favourites via email.

“My background is quite ordinary, I’ve studied optometry in Salus University in Pennsylvania, US. Before starting my own business 2 years ago I worked for 15 years for several established optical firms, which gave me a wide range of experience concerning medical conditions, consumer taste and sales. Then I noticed I started to develop a clientele –people who trusted my opinion, professionally and aesthetically.  I felt that Israel was ready for something more than a boring chain store with cheap frames or franchised logo shades. Like everywhere else, the impact of fashion became very prominent here too –people are able to appreciate quality, uniqueness and style. I thought of a store as an old-fashioned establishment, where the clients sit and have coffee and try things on while discussing the latest news, with Nina Simone singing in the background. The interior design was very crucial – my architect friend, Dor Kessel and I came up with the idea of an old-school, masculine, sleek space, which wonderfully coordinated with whites, blacks and chromes of the Tel-Avivian Bauhaus heritage. Basically the store is me –I’m there through the opening hours, listening to the customers, meeting with the stylists, networking –I feel that I need to be there personally for every aspect.”

What are your leading collections now in the store? “I concentrate on eyewear brands only, with an accent on those I can import exclusively. In the sunglasses section, which is more fashion-orientated, my favourites include Zanzan, Vue dc, Oliver Goldsmith, Traction, L.G.R. and Illesteva. I also feature selected collaborations by Mykita and Linda Farrow. In optical my taste is for the more classical and traditional, with a preference for heritage brands like Lunor and KameManNen.”

Close-up, chic styles at Joseph Haver
Close-up, chic styles at Joseph Haver

Can you tell me about the magazine shoots that you participate in; it looks very interesting from your social media images? “It started with my aspiration to be the number one boutique in finding the perfect frames for each customer. Rumours about this brought the stylists in; they felt comfortable enough to share with us the editorial concepts and catalogues they were about to shoot –inspirations, colours, models, and they asked for assistance. We have also collaborated with the local fashion house Yosef for TLV Fashion week show. That was exciting for the store!”

What is the general vibe for shopping in your area in Tel Aviv, is your shop unusual or quite typical there? The store is located on one of the most beautiful shady boulevards in the city, just off Tel-Aviv’s biggest square. The area is known for its cafes, restaurants and small fashion boutiques, which are very popular with Telavivians and the city’s guests who aren’t after the shopping mall experience. I think the store fits here perfectly.  Recently we were elected one of the best 50 businesses in Tel-Aviv by Time Out Tel Aviv, which is a great honour. I do my best to stay in tune with the fashion world, visiting optical fairs, which always excites me, and I continue to update my collection with more exquisite items and “educate” my clientele. My goal is to create my own line, and I’ve already started sourcing.”

Joseph Haver Optometrist, 59 Sderot Chen, Tel-Aviv zip 6416717, Israel

Cutting-edge collaboration

theo by Factory900

1st November 2013 Collaborations are all the rage, and an original one never passes us by. In Paris we enjoyed seeing a new collab project between two eyewear labels, a fantastic achievement that shows commitment to innovation and creativity from two sides of the world. Belgian eyewear label theo and Japanese label Factory900 have joined up to release two models in a very cool limited edition of just 1000 of each style.

The designers at theo, Wim Somers and Patrick Hoet have, for sometime, admired the Japanese label so it was their dream to create a collection together. They had admired in particular the Japanese label’s ability to give volume to plastic frames in a new method using a 5-axis CNC milling machine. And the result is, as you might expect, futuristic and totally exciting! The two styles, Kamikaze and Samurai are made from Japanese acetate – the former is for men and has a rectilinear design, and the latter is a more rounded women’s model. Both can be fitted as specs or sunglasses and have a signature open side so you can enjoy the view out of the corner of your eye; they come in eight vivid, glossy statement colours that you would expect from both design houses. It’s a very original concept for 2013 and shows that a clever well thought out collaboration can be both powerful and playful! CN