Sunglasses and optical frames, beautifully designed and crafted take the spotlight this month – visit REVIEWS for stunning new releases. A British brand is Designer of the Month, and Munich is the destination for a sleek Boutique. In CITY GUIDES, Christian Lacroix has “carte blanche” in a historic Paris museum. Click and stay with Eyestylist for all the latest eyewear and accessory news.
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25th February 2015 Spring is in the air! The perfect time to shop for new frames, and Eyestylist has discovered many beautiful designs in luxurious materials and colours. Among our favourites are: “Inter” (photo above) by ROLF spectacles is from the new “evolved collection” – the perfect symbiosis of wood and stone in unique colour combinations. The frames are ultra-light with pure lines, all handcrafted in ROLF’S Austrian atelier. ROLF was recently named winner of The German Design Award 2015. www.rolf-spectacles.com
Women know the power of the LBD – Little Black Dress. Now Tom Stevens Eyewear, produced in The Netherlands, has crafted the indispensible LBF – Little Black Frame. Created in Mazzucchelli silky acetate, Charlie is pure and uncluttered, definitely a sleek, modern classic. www.stevenseyewear.com
Florals are massive fashion news, and Lafont Paris has designed one that truly blooms. Rosita boasts cheerful floral tones in spring colours that highlight the frame front, which is then accented with a curvaceous pale pink metal trim that extends to the temples. Welcome spring with this charming design! www.lafont.com
Swedish designer Oscar Magnuson’s latest shape is strong and finely tailored. With Anton, Magnuson brings bold form to the aviator style with a design that reflects past influences, combined with modern flair and craftsmanship. Beautifully polished monochromatic deep blue Mazzuchelli acetate enhances this dynamic frame. www.oscarmagnuson.com
Daniel Benner has introduced an exclusive acetate frame colour titled “Mysterious Madness” – a cornucopia of exotic colours accented with a striking red bar across the bridge. Cosmo Duo 19 in Mysterious Madness is available for a limited time only in all-existing Cosmo Duo models. Benner has also announced a free iPad app that shows all possible combinations, and frame measurements. More information at www.bennereyeweardesign.comJG
23rd February 2015 Over the last few days, the London show has presented new and established independent eyewear designers in the Designer Showrooms, Somerset House. Highlights were the unique handmade labels such as Mondelliani from Rome (pictured above), exhibiting their Fashion DOC and The California Collection alongside the super leather accessories collection by AEVHA London. www.aevhalondon.com / www.mondelliani.it
Also present were the British labels Larke Optics by Laura Nicholson – www.larkeoptics.com – and Termite Eyewear, a creative label popular with the fashion crowd at LFW, and focusing on sustainable design and reclaimed and recycled materials. Termite was created in 2012 by womenswear design graduates Natalie Finch and Patricia Williams. www.termiteeyewear.com
For the ultimate in glamour and luxury in eyewear, Anna-Karin Karlsson’s distinguished showpieces included the classy gold/black horse and Mourning for Miss Blow, an oversized acetate and shining copper design worn by female singer Beyonce last year.
20th February 2015 Refined interpretations of camo prints continue to draw attention, particularly through the acetate collections. Camouflage is no longer deeply rooted in a military context; a bright wash of colour elevates this pattern into the realms of high fashion…frames, accessories and eyewear cases too.
Lafont Paris takes the classic army print and reworks it in fresh colour proposals for men – bright blue (below) or canary yellow (above) – on the interior of model Ostende 4020. The result is a subtle visual treat in an area of the aviator frame where it is less expected. www.lafont.com
Michel Henau’s Marilyn takes a more classic camo colour palette to decorate the super curvaceous Marilyn, one of the label’s statement designs with a touch of the bug eye that’s hot for the summer.
Matching the camo, a light and subtle green/brown tinted lens brings added charm to this design. Michel Henau frames are designed in Belgium and handmade in France. www.michelhenau.comCN
18th February 2015Eric Balzan and Mirko Forti at HAPTER have just launched new styles in their Prime Line collection txt1001. Their original interpretation of unique eyewear – fusing surgical steel and luxurious cotton fabrics from Cerruti Woolen Mills 1881 – evolves with optical frames and sunglasses that are inspirational. The optical model A05M (above) is super light, and available in beautiful colours.
The sunglasses are stunning – the classic and much loved aviator shape is translated into HAPTER’S trademark design and materials. An elegant double-bridge and hints of vintage capture the essence of HAPTER’S desire to create eyewear with superb artisanal precision. These special eyepieces are equipped with ultra-resistant Carl Zeiss nylor lenses with five layers of anti-reflection. Quality, innovation and excellence from HAPTER. www.hapter.itJG
13th February 2015 100% Optical was the place to be last weekend to see exciting eyewear from global brands. Here are several innovative designs that celebrate spring/summer with style and distinction. Orgreen is fascinated with film and their new campaign echoes the subtle nuances and sensual style of Film Noir and French New Wave. The stars in this dramatic interlude include Nikolaj Hubbe (above right) the Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Ballet, wearing Balthazer, suave, strong sunglasses in titanium. Hubbe’s lovely female co-star is actress Katharina Damm, (above left) wearing Orgreen’s voluminous round sunglasses in titanium and beta-titanium. www.orgreenoptics.com
Oversized with fun and a distinct retro look emphasizes John by SALT Optics. Volume is paramount for sunglasses, which John provides along with vintage and modern cool. The striking Aloha Blue acetate colouration is perfect for summer fashions. www.saltoptics.com
Luminous, see-through frames give a charming illusionary effect, and one design that caught Eyestylist’s attentionis Veda, designed by Laura Nicholson at Larke Optics. Combing both vintage and modern characteristics, the sleek frame is handmade in England. www.larkeoptics.com
Elegant, subtle neutrals are a perennial favourite, and Michel Henau in Belgium has deftly merged cocoa and sand acetate with a contemporary look. Trend alert: this season highlights round shapes for both sunglasses and optical designs, so pull out all the fashion stops with a round silhouette! www.michelhenau.comJG
10th February 2015 Eyewear shapes have taken a new turn, with rules being broken and unexpected silhouettes appearing in the mix. One example of this avantgarde direction comes from German eyewear label ic! berlin and Polish born designer Dawid Tomaszewski, who have joined forces to create a collection of alternative sunglasses with striking lens/frame colour combinations. Above: Dawid Tomaszewski collections A/W 15/16 @ Berlin Fashion Week, Kronprinzenpalais.
Chic and feminine, the three designs in the special edition are inspired by influential women from Tomaszewski’s life, representing the past, the future and the here-and-now.
Premiered at Berlin Fashion Week for the FW15 Tomaszewski show, models Lucja, Katarzyna and Małgorzata – come in rosé gold with pale graduated blue lenses and classic black with a soft purple/green gradient lens.
Dawid Tomaszewski is a contemporary, luxury womenswear brand based in Berlin. His clothes are experimental with an innovative design edge, using industrial and unconventional materials combined with inventive cutting, uncompromising tailoring and avant-garde flair. www.studio-tomaszewski.comwww.ic-berlin.deCN
7th February 2015100% Optical opens at ExCel London today with international designers presenting their latest collections, including Austria’s Silhouette, with their elegant, ultra-light Titan Contour frames (above style 5410). www.silhouette.com
Carter Bond from Australia is ready for summer with sleek sunglasses in gold with gold lenses. With its distinctive round shape, curved nose piece and fine lenses, you are ready for the sunshine! www.carterbond.com
Luca Gnecchi Ruscone at L.G.R. in Rome has a fabulous new collection – Eyestylist was fortunate to have a preview – and includes Lawrence (above). Crafted in metal alloy, with flat red tempered mineral glass mirrored lenses, these frames are totally knockout – and a must-see at 100% Optical! www.lgrworld.comJG
Spotlight on British and International Brands at 100% Optical
4th February 2015Anticipation is mounting as 100% Optical opens in just a few days. British and international artisan labels will present their collections of optical and sunglass designs at the event taking place at ExCel London. Claire Goldsmith will show her elegant Claire Goldsmith Eyewear optical collection that includes Cole (above) in Tortoiseshell and blue. Claire commented: “This is our first time exhibiting at 100% Optical, and we are excited to be involved in a show on our home turf!” www.olivergoldsmith.com
British brand Kirk & Kirk’s new collections – Vivarium and Solarium – offer beautiful designs in Italian acrylic with fine details. Louis (above) from Solarium is a bold, strong shape with an elegantly handcrafted horse head in sterling silver and gold on the temples. www.kirkandkirk.com
Sven Götti at Götti Switzerland is looking forward to 100% Optical. “We took part as one of the first international brands, and we thought it was terrific. The fair is very well planned, and we believe in the growth of this show.” Götti will present their new collection – Handcrafted genuine horn. Babar makes a strong masculine statement, with straight edges and rounded corners, the frame expresses harmony and elegance. www.gotti.ch
Cosmopolitan in outlook and handmade in Italy, Coppe & Sid’s collection of optical and sunglass frames unite retro and modern concepts. Cleveland (above) is a sleek look in tortoiseshell and black – très chic! www.eyedesignclub.com
100% Optical takes place from 7-9th February at ExCel London. See the complete list of international exhibitors atwww.100percentoptical.com JG
“Who cares about brands? Care about eyewear.” Leidmann
After several visits to Munich, Eyestylist was delighted to visit the Leidmann boutique last month. Directed by Philipp Foret, this Leidmann location is a much talked about eyewear haven that opened on Maximilanstrasse in 2013, the third optical outlet created by Munich optician Chris Leidmann – and one to go out of your way for if you are in this part of the world.
Designed by local architects Kirsten Scholz and Stephanie Thatenhorst, the spacious interior combines a modern, international setting for fine eyewear with the atmosphere of a charming artisan eyewear factory. Showcasing elegant natural materials – untreated oak and leather, alongside concrete and steel, the effect is dramatic and elegant and perfectly in tune with Philipp Foret’s observation that natural artisan eyewear has carved a niche for itself at the luxury end of the market and, that in Germany, it has a particularly enthusiastic and established following.
Featured collections for 2015 at this branch of Leidmann include first-class brands Hapter, Barton Perreira, Thom Browne, REIZ, Ralph Vaessen, Eyevan and Onono. A buffalo horn house label – Foret Leidmann has also been created especially for the store. Each and every label is beautifully arranged in hidden drawers in the wall, -(we opened a drawer ourselves to find a stunning display of Italian Hapter designs) and on minimal wood shelving where individual designs are highlighted under dramatic state-of-the-art lighting.
When a finished frame is ready for collection, a special presentation awaits every new owner: the frame is arranged in a striking display in a huge wood-clad island at the centre of the store, a touch that underlines the value and quality of each design and the appreciation the owners have for the finest design, quality and materials – in both eyewear and lens choices.
Three generations of eyewear DNA flow creatively through Jason Kirk’s genes. His ancestors were optical pioneers who opened workshops in London in 1919. Nowadays, Jason and Karen Kirk continue the optical heritage with their recently launched Vivarium and Solarium collections.
Did you have a particular style/fashion concept in mind when you decided to launch Kirk & Kirk? “Our goal is to create frames that are unique, and, at the same time, wearable. We serve two types of customer: the retailer (optician, department store, fashion boutique) and the consumer. We need to understand the needs of the optician and the desires of the consumer. Twenty years experience has shown us that our end wearer is independent, and will not be told what to wear. We need to excite them, to make them feel an affinity with us, and to show that we understand their taste, in order to gain their confidence and loyalty.”
Kirk and Kirk has made an important style statement using Italian acrylic for frames. Is this a material in which you will continue to create frames – plus using other materials? “We spent many years working with our acrylic manufacturer to create the correct specific grade of material. Then with the frame manufacturer to establish how to hand-make glasses using this material…and then with the opticians showing them the benefits of using acrylic. We are not tied to using acrylic, but it is very much our signature, and it offers a beautiful range of colours and textures that allow us to differentiate ourselves from other designers, and allow independent opticians to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The frames are incredibly light and comfortable, so they are a pleasure to wear.”
Do you have particular inspirations for creating the collections? “Inspiration can come from anywhere, and for Vivarium we were inspired by Victorian scientists and their relationship with nature. Colour plays a major role in our design process, and the relationship between colours. Different colours have various meanings to different cultures which we find fascinating. It is often the unseen connections which ignite our passion – ‘what emotions do colours create’? for example.”
You have been in the eyewear business for many years. What do you feel have been the biggest changes – and what are future trends? “We started in optics in the early 1990’s, originally producing our frames in the UK, even owning our own factory at one point. But this is no longer an option and we moved all of our production to France in 2002 where it has stayed. European production has been under enormous pressure in the last fifteen years, and Asian production has developed dramatically. This is neither a good nor a bad thing, it is just a reality. The last seven years or so have seen economic pressure weigh heavily on decisions made within our industry, but notably by the opticians. We are a profession that is slow to embrace change, as illustrated by lack of availability of high end, independent frames on the internet.”
Could you please describe some of the challenges faced creating a new collection today – versus twenty years ago? “First and most obviously, it is a very expensive process to create a collection. It always has been, but today it is not just about the frames themselves, but the whole branding, marketing and general presence that is essential to compete in a crowded market. How do you create a collection that is different, but wearable in a market that is quickly saturated, and where the ability to copy quickly and effectively is such a threat? We have been fortunate in that our clients and industry colleagues have been extremely loyal to us, and have appreciated Kirk & Kirk’s collections. We are very grateful for that support. There are very few truly independent eyewear designers, and relatively few independent eyewear boutiques. We need to work together and to support each other if our businesses are to flourish.” www.kirkandkirk.comJG
We’ve seen them on the catwalk and now they are available to the public, in a limited edition of 4000 pairs: Special Edition ‘It shades’ with a fun cat-eye design and circular lens by Felder Felder for Silhouette. An ultralight high-tech rimless design, the sunglasses have been launched in four colours – dark green (pictured), classic brown, hip pink and bright neon orange. Silhouette will exhibit at the London show, 100% Optical this weekend. More information on availability at www.silhouette.com. For information on Felder Felder go to www.felderfelder.comCN
Crystal and gold merge with beauty and harmony in this striking frame by Finest Seven. The design captures the major eyewear fashion feature for 2015 – sunglasses with volume shaping, but extremely light and airy. The sculptured detailing on the frame front adds a dramatic touch, and the Zeiss gold mirror lenses complete this chic eyewear statement. www.finestseven.comJG
Craftsmanship and enduring beauty are keynote at RIGARDS – and their latest natural horn collection is exciting and directional. Ti Kwa likes to blend old and new in one instrument, with inspirations that are fluid and eclectic. But at the core, vintage references are translated to eyewear in a modern yet non-conformist way, as elegantly expressed in RG0008, pictured above. www.rigards.comJG
German eyewear designer Adrian Marwitz has just launched a new frame in featherweight Titanium, that is part of his Urban Stranger series. The graceful, contemporary shape in Stranger No. 18 – all handcrafted in Germany – is particularly stunning in a lustrous, shiny finish – a colour that is a lovely blend of copper and gold. www.adrianmarwitz.com JG
rapp Eyewear continues to produce creative avant-garde frame designs. A family business, led by Shilo Rapp, trained as a goldsmith, the frames have a unique handmade look and feature materials like titanium and Italian acetate – always with a distinctive finish. Francine caught our eye: the style is like all of Rapp’s designs made in the brand’s own production workshop in Toronto. The acetate material has a subtle striated pattern. The shape also boasts a fantastic bevelling effect which gives it lots of character.
1st February 2015The Musée Cognacq-Jay in Paris is absolutely a little gem. Founded in 1928 by the founder of the La Samaritaine Department Store (sadly, now closed) Ernest Cognacq assembled an amazing collection of emblematic eighteenth-century art works. They are on display in a beautifully renovated sixteenth-century townhouse in the Marais. M. Cognacq chose items that would be representative of “the artistic décor of French life”… and include a stunning collection of portrait miniatures, superb paintings, busts, Meissen porcelains and furniture.
To celebrate the re-opening of the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Christian Lacroix, the peripatetic fashion and interior designer, was offered a “carte blanche” – a dual challenge of re-imagining the “guiding narrative” of the exhibition spaces, while exploring a concept which has shaped his own approach to his art – the fascination exerted by the eighteenth century. Lacroix has curated contributions from over forty contemporary artists, invited to reflect upon ten key themes identified in Ernest Cognacq’s collections. Some of the themes include: 18th century taste; Show, balls and sociability; Paris, capital of the Enlightenment; Fables, stories and novels; and Europe’s artistic economy. Lacroix’s selections have been assembled with a view to enhancing our understanding of the Age of Enlightenment, and its continued relevance in our own era.
Enlightenment: Carte Blanche à Christian Lacrox is an innovative exhibition, enhanced with Lacroix’s inimitable flair. The exhibition continues through 19th April 2015.
1st February 2015Authentic Eyewear has been the philosophy of Sven Götti since he created his first collection twenty years ago. To reach the highest standard of a Götti acetate frame, it requires a skillful interaction of various processes. Götti thought of how they could summarize all these facts in a personal way – right to the beholder of Götti eyewear. The inscription “Hand polished by…” on the inside of the temple reflects the high quality of the material used from the best acetate Italian producer, plus it illustrates the specific Götti process. Manufacturing the frames is a success thanks to many years of a close partnership with experienced workers, who know every detail and how the accomplish the perfect technique.
Hand polishing eyewear is comparable with cutting a diamond. It takes years to perfect and develop the proper hand technique for the polishing. With a gentle touch of the chief polishers, details and colours radiate and become more intense. With talent and precision, they use trained movements to polish the unmistakable Götti shine on acetate eyeglasses. The design details and colour combinations are assembled with sensitivity, and the colours are produced exclusively for Götti. The label “hand polished by…” is the essence of all the puzzle pieces, that stand behind the design and colour brilliance. It is a quality seal that stands for a personal story.
Hand polisher Barbara at Götti commented: “Every quality of acetate and every shape of the glasses is a new challenge. It is in my hands to optimize the motion sequences so that I can reach the perfect result. I put a lot of passion into the detail and it is always a glorious moment when I hold the finished frame in my hands.” www.gotti.chJG