By independent master artisans who create innovative optical frames and sunglasses are in the spotlight throughout the month. Click on all Eyestylist sections and explore and discover artful eyewear, boutique legends, vivacious designers, and fashion icons. For the latest in original authentic eyewear and accessories, find it at Eyestylist.com.
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The picturesque – and the largest city in Switzerland – is the setting on 4th and 5th October for the inspiring 2015 edition of Hall of Frames. An international group of innovators will present their latest collections for optical frames and sunglasses. Award winning Parisian designer Jérémy Tarian cultivates nature and art in his newest optical selection that includes Menilmontant (above) – elegant and chic with retro echoes, skillfully crafted in glossy Mazzucchelli acetate in beautiful colourations. www.jeremytarian.com
Frames in durable, yet lightweight acrylic are the hallmark material at British brand Kirk & Kirk. Handcrafted in France, and right on trend, is their Kaleidoscope Collection, in luminous acrylic – with an elegant polished glass effect. Jason and Karen Kirk’s latest launch is inspired by Kalos – the Greek god of beauty, and contemporary styling highlights Bridget (above) in stunning coral.www.kirkandkirk.com
The metropolitan and urban landscape captures the imagination of Sven Götti at Götti Switzerland, with his new collection. Tanda (above) blends retro with its voluminous proportions – and modern with its intricate material mix of matt acetate and pure titanium. The super slim silhouette features an acetate front in autumn leaf, and silver titanium temples, with sleek black acetate end tips. www.gotti.ch
Eyewear collections are enhanced by a variety of materials, and Orgreen in Denmark make their style statement in titanium. The refined, unadorned silhouette in Suzie Blue highlights the featherweight features of titanium, and its colour characteristics. Rich forest green on the front and temples, contrasts with gold and black sides, and delicate end tips in gold. www.orgreenoptics.com View these collections and others, including: Lafont Paris; Lucas de Staël; Adrian Marwitz; Face à Face Paris; Suzy Glam; Coblens; and Caroline Abram at 2015 Hall of Frames Zurich – 4/5 October. More info at www.hallofframes.chJG
25th September 2015 This morning the curtain rises for the 2015 edition of SILMO in Paris at Villepinte, featuring an exhilarating roster of eyewear brands from international companies. The new Excellence Collection by ROLF Spectacles in Austria (above) features elegant, classic designs with grace, lightness and creativity. ROLF has elevated their superb craftsmanship to towering heights, with engraved wood eyewear frames, plus two-tone styles that emphasise elaborate details and precise, beautiful finishes. The Excellence Collection includes fourteen new designs, in seven different woods, and four different wood and stone combinations. www.rolf-spectacles.com
HAPTER in Italy presents a Special Edition of their acclaimed Trench Goggle – Mod. M100. The latest design is so far the most advanced interpretation of the frame and manufacturing technique achieved by the HAPTER team. They reflected on how life might have been 100 years ago (M100) to envision the perfect protection tool for World War 1 soldiers in the mountain trenches. The environment for the soldiers was terrifying and demanding, and the M100 – Trench Goggle – was conceived as the would-have-been perfect helmet appendix, for function, protection and mental relief. M100 Trench Goggle is the new vanguard of the HAPTER Icons Line, created for today’s adventurous and courageous explorers. www.hapter.it SILMO information at www.silmoparis.frJG
24th September 2015 All roads lead to Paris this weekend with the opening of SILMO 2015. International eyewear designers exhibiting include Susanne Klemm, the Netherlands based creator of the dynamic Suzy Glam collection. Klemm is in an accelerated mood with her racy “Drives Fast Cars” frame in burnt orange acetate. With its sharp angles and dramatic brow line, the frame is an exciting testament of eyewear opportunities. www.suzyglam.comPhoto: Aisha Zeijpveld
At l.a. Eyeworks, tiers of patterned, solid and transparent acetates have been calibrated precisely to form a complex blueprint of strategic sculpting. The result is a harmonious multi-layered chromatic essay – as seen in Arden – with three dimensions. Gorgeous colours too – Fire on Red/Brown Streak (above) and joyous Sunrise Haze Streak. www.laeyeworks.com
Coppe & Sid announce their collaboration with the Italian outerwear company Parajumpers, to launch a collection of free-spirited sunglasses. The Liberator features a sleek double bridge in dark Havana acetate, with contrasting metal trim in Antique Bronze. There are five different styles — all crafted in Italy – in smart colourations. More info at www.eyedesignclub.com SILMO details at www.silmoparis.comJG
Feminine eyewear shapes with classic characteristics and curving forms are one of our current obsessions. Fine eyewear collections do these beautiful shapes justice with modern design details and colourful proposals that define a new glamour for women.
Jones from luxury fashion brand Roland Mouret is one of the new styles launching at the Paris fair this week. Mouret has created his own line of eyewear in house, and in doing so has achieved a very high level of quality, individuality and design. A noteworthy metal temple hinge is one of the unique hallmarks that distinguishes the designs. The addition of the slender metal bridge on this particular style is elegant and on-trend for SS16. Colours include transparent red (above), grey, yellow tortoiseshell and black. www.rolandmouret.com
A minimal yet super glam direction is also evident at Danish design house Ørgreen. Their new style Sweet Dreams is ultra feminine, with a curved top line, rounded lower line, elegant bridge, and temples that hide behind the frames. www.orgreenoptics.com
American luxury eyewear brand Salt Optics has wowed us with its new styles and colours. Model Houston is a super example in Sandy Sea Green acetate with Antique Gold temples, in smooth beta titanium. The pared-back rounded front strikes a stylish modern chord in this super bold colourway with contrasting brown gradient polarised lens. www.saltoptics.com
Silmo Paris takes place from 25th to 28th September 2015 at Paris Nord Villepinte. For details and registration visit www.silmoparis.comCN
Munich’s Brillen Schneider, a specialist in fine eyewear and independent brands such as LGR, Lindberg and Suzy Glam, launch a new window exhibition with artist Ewa Look. 12 handmade collages, with a nod to German dadaism and 3d futurism, are displayed alongside eye-catching frames from some of the collections on sale at the prestigious store.
The colourful collage designs in different sizes metamorphosise the optician’s windows with spectacular effect. Showing until 19th October, with all original collages available to purchase. Brillen Schneider, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 Munich / www.brillen-schneider.dewww.ewalook.comCN
Five years on and independent British label RockOptika is flourishing. HQ is a converted high street bank – complete with original safe – situated by the seaside, with an extensive selection of British eyewear, including RockOptika’s very own new ultra luxe handcrafted collection.
The new line is fresh, confident and big on artisan detail. “Made in a leading traditional factory in the Jura, each frame front is carved from one piece, including the nosepads,” says Tom. “An integrated gold metal T.H. logo under resin appears on the front and bespoke dual colour schemes are perfectly matched. The bridges have been machined; chamfering along the sides adds a distinctive touch of luxury.”
With 21 styles in total in the full collection, the 6 new Art Deco inspired styles include a statement round shape with a flattened top, inspired by a pair of small French vintage spectacles, several bold glossy acetate rectangles, and a hard edged vintage look supra (half-eye in the style of the Kray twins), all named after stars.
The new models are presented in a sturdy paper case and embossed presentation box and all are suitable for sun or ophthalmic lenses. The collection launched this weekend at a new flagship eyewear store by Nelson’s Eye Patch, Norfolk, UK, www.nelsonseyepatch.com. Further details at www.rockoptika.comCN
Magical Interpretations of the Colour SpectrumPreviews of new season launches indicate that the colour spectrum is absolutely stunning! Bright colourations abound, as well as lovely nuances of deep, rich tones, and subtle mutations. Duo and tri-tone effects provide additional style and flair. SALT. Optics – the California based company – explores the many fascinating aspects of nature, and Eleanor (above) in Dragonfly is a beautiful example. The two-tone acetate design in a contemporary silhouette is handcrafted in Japan. www.saltoptics.com
HAPTER in Italy has launched a striking bi-coloured design – Optical EO4S – with colour both inside and outside the frame. The colourations are chic and sophisticated in muted tones. This is an elegant new feature from Eric Balzan and Mirko Forti, in a design that is suitable for small to regular-size faces. Sophistication and understated luxury are totally aligned in Prime Line, within the txt001 HAPTER collection. www.hapter.it
Benjamin Franklin – one of America’s Founding Fathers – was also a witty man who thrived on work, and according to legend – the inventor of bifocals. Theo in Belgium have creatively – and colourfully – updated Franklin’s invention with a 21st Century version, that enables bifocal wearers to have perfect far away and close up view. Tandem in vibrant shocking pink is for the individualist who won’t settle for less – just like the fascinating Mr. Franklin. www.theo.be
California designers Barbara McReynolds and Gai Gherardi at l.a. Eyeworks debut a multi-faceted collection this month at SILMO Paris in dynamic colours. Pingo in acetate – deliciously named Emerald Lagrassy Fade with Deep Eggplant – features a signature metal browline, with handmade custom epoxy finishes. The latest optical collection from l.a. Eyeworks is a modern exploration of colour and shape. www.laeyeworks.com
Colour vibrations and special surface techniques are emphasised in frames by Face à Face Paris. Selma displays scratched acetate with hand varnishing for a rich, lustrous look in glossy cherry and teal blue. A modern cat-eye shape adds to the allure and individuality of the design. www.faceaface-paris.comJG
Just as we’d thought we were up-to-date on all the most creative brands around the world, Niloca Eyewear came to our attention in 2013. There followed the discovery of Scoogle in Melbourne, and several chats with Colin (aka Mr Niloca) in Paris. With a background in industrial design and a fascination for all things innovative in eyewear, it quickly became apparent that this was another rule-breaking label with their own unique approach to spectacle-making.
“I married into eyewear,” explains Colin who first met his wife Josie at the optometrist’s where she was working at the time.” “We went out for dinner and found we’d both outgrown Brisbane. A few months later we were packing our life into a 3 ton truck together and drove 2,000km south to Melbourne. We wanted to open our own eyewear store and expand my 3D printing and design company.”
Despite tumultuous initial experiences, including the onset of GFC 1 in November 2008, the Scoogle store has flourished, run by both Josie, a trained optometrist and Colin, the designer. Collections found here today include Niloca, Theo and Anne & Valentin (read about Scoogle at http://www.eyestylist.com/2014/10/scoogle-melbourne/).
“From the outset, our point of difference wasn’t our product variety, our brand or price. It was our service, which started from the very beginning, before the frame or customer even entered the store. Exceptional service started with an equally exceptional design, created as a service to cater for the needs and wants of the customer. We didn’t need bells, whistles, bling, mirror and smoke to attract customers – all we needed was design and service. The rest took care of itself.”
Soon after, the creation of the Niloca collection began. “I dispensed with the traditional design process of computer designs. The $50,000 worth of advanced software and hardware I had used in 3D Printing parts for automotive, mining and science companies now gathered a patina of dust.
“Boxes of Derwent, Pantone and Rotring implements took centre stage and I drew new models by hand on actual paper and made prototypes using tin, balsa wood, foam and card board. It was a chimerical process of tactile sensory pleasure, live in 3D in front of my eyes. I’d been deprived of this for many years as 2×30” flat LCD screens desperately tried to fool me into a 3D environment of CAD models to the 4th decimal point. This new found enthusiasm for drawing was immediately rewarding and solution driven.”
By summer 2011/12, Colin had released his first sunglass model, Florna, named after the couple’s first daughter. The colours chosen were derived from classic archived Italian acetates, meticulously stored in an Australian eyewear factory 5 hours west of Sydney. Florna is a classic chic frame infused liberally by Art Deco lines, proportion and as the designer explains, “the most important ingredient – chromaticness”.
Several collections later came some Niloca “classics”, such as Hyperfocus, one of the first Niloca concepts I saw myself at Silmo 2014. Handsculpted in the Jura in France, this acetate design, in patterned and single colour versions, has a cutting-edge 3d form, that flatters the face, but in a rather unexpected way. Like an optical illusion, the 3d effect is apparent really only when viewed from the side, not from the front; it’s surprising, elegant and unconventional, all at once.
This time, our Silmo releases will hold more surprises, says Colin. “I’m taking the 3D form theme I started out with 5 years ago,” he explains, “and pushing it even further. In 2013, we released a ‘frame within a frame’ concept, something people were scared of, but now copy in droves. So in Paris, I hope to give Niloca ‘fans’ more to inspire them, pushing the idea of depth to a new level.” For more information: www.niloca.com / www.scoogle.com.auCN
Important dates to note on the October calendar are Saturday and Sunday the 17th and 18th – when major independent eyewear designers present their collections at Motorworld in Stuttgart. Stunning eyewear and an equally distinctive collection of vintage cars at the same venue is an ideal way to enjoy an autumn weekend! Over fifty unique companies – including Götti; Orgreen; Spectacle Eyeworks; Onkel Ferdi; Kirk & Kirk; Bellinger; Joel Lesca; Tavat; and Slav Nowosad among others, will present their latest collections at this outstanding international exposition of creative eyewear.
The Canadian design house Spectacle Eyeworks pays homage to history and heritage with the Cyrus (above) frame. Inspired by the power of the past – and connecting with the present – the temples of each frame are meticulously engraved. Cyrus is named after the Great King of Persia who wrote The Tablet of Cyrus. Designer Mehran Baghaie says: “My Persian roots and family, the visual richness and enigmatic nature of symbolism, as well as the freedom and equality of mankind, continue to be a defining source of influence and inspiration with these new designs.” www.spec-eyeworks.com
Swiss designer Sven Götti has an elegant, deft touch with eyewear materials. His latest collection combines acetate and Titanium, crafted beautifully into Tonky – in a glorious shade of autumn plum. The voluminous shape is remarkably slim and lightweight. www.gotti.ch
Fun details and dashing colours highlight designs at Danish company Bellinger. Bella is a bright tonal mix – colours that are ideal with autumn fashions. www.bellinger.dk
Handcrafted in Italy, Tavat has launched a unique frame – Soupcan Pantos – in red acetate and light gun metal, with great attention to detail – particularly on the nose piece and temples. www.tavat-eyewear.com Save the Dates! 17th and 18th October for Die Brillenmesse in Stuttgart. More info at www.diebrillenmesse.deJG
11th September 2015 British designer Claire Goldsmith, great granddaughter of Oliver Goldsmith, announces a new collection of Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses, inspired by details from the OG Icons, the collection that recreates some of the brand’s most famous sunnies. Focusing on single details from the Icons as a starting point, the new “Family” frames play with historic references whilst adding a modern aesthetic in colour and design. It’s the first new OG line in over 30 years.
The frames are named after streets, places and landmarks in London – including significant spots in the city that are dear to Claire and part of everyday OG life.
Friends, family and the Goldsmith children star in the newly released Oliver Goldsmith campaign which highlights the brand’s wonderful British heritage. “I wanted to cast a physical embodiment of our collections,” explains Claire, “with two Icons, two Family and two of our kids featured. The feeling was to be quintessentially British, classy yet a little off kilter, polished and always keeping up appearances a little.”
Oliver Goldsmith exhibits OG Icons, Family and Mini Icons at SILMO Paris from 25th to 28th September 2015. Additional SILMO information at www.silmoparis.com. For more on OG Sunglasses, and the OG boutique in Notting Hill, visit www.olivergoldsmith.comCN
New season, new looks, and new style interpretations – autumn pulsates with exciting fashion revelations in clothing, accessories and eyewear. Paris is the setting for SILMO, the eyewear show, and the brands featured here will be presenting their latest collections at the end of the month. Beauty, refinement, precision and technology are the hallmarks of LINDBERG, the multi-award winning Danish company. They will present the newest models in the LINDBERG Strip Collection, including the supremely elegant 9710 – above. www.lindberg.com
A favourite frame of Anna Karin Karlsson and her international clients is the seductive, expressive When Trouble Came to Town. Anna-Karin’s latest luxurious interpretation is in silky black acetate, liberally studded with Swarovski crystals. You can also shop for Anna Karin Karlsson’s stunning designs on line at www.annakarinkarlsson.com
The magic, opulence and mystery of opera have inspired the newest designs from the LIne Art Collection by Charmant. Hand mounted Swarovski crystals are embedded in the temples in style XL2068, and the lightweight Excellence Titan frame is light-as-air to wear. Worthy of a standing ovation! www.charmant.com
Congratulations to Adrian Marwitz, who has been named a winner of the German Design Award 2016. He received a Special Mention in the category “Lifestyle and Fashion” for the complete Urban Strangers collection. The German Design Award recognises top quality products with outstanding design. Stranger No. 21 – sunglasses in navy blue matt Titanium – combines traditional and modern techniques, with ultra-light finesse. More information at www.adrianmarwitz.com
Daniel Benner enjoys mixing materials and then adding specific accents – as he does with the unique look of Cosmo Duo 19, that unites anthracite stainless steel and sandblasted black acetate. The distinctive frame features a reverse brow bar, and is handcrafted in Stuttgart Germany. www.bennereyeweardesign.comwww.silmoparis.comJG
One of the first new words I learned when starting to work in eyewear was “Mazzucchelli.” When designers and companies mentioned quality acetate, it was Mazzucchelli. The company was spoken of with reverence, awe and respect. After many years of admiring the lustrous beauty of Mazzucchelli, there was an opportunity to visit the company’s headquarters – with a group of delightful Dutch opticians – located in the charming Italian village of Castiglione Olona, near Milan. Res/Rei, who produces all their imaginative designs in Mazzucchelli acetate, graciously organised an informative and inspiring visit to the firm that was founded in 1849.
In the ensuing one hundred sixty plus years , Mazzucchelli has created innovative, colourful and technical acetate marvels, that enables designers to broaden their approach to eyewear, and to explore and expand unlimited potential in frames. Creating acetate is a complex process that involves many intricate steps. The knowledge, skill, and experience of enlightened craftsmen have passed down their unique talents from generation to generation. The careful blending of creative artisans and sophisticated equipment produces astounding results.
Even though Mazzucchelli has the latest state-of-the-art machinery, it still utilizes machines that were built in 1884. Painstaking and delicate steps are involved in acetate creations, and employees must complete an intensive training period. In addition, production requires special skill sets including mental agility, patience, and experience in order to ensure the colour and high quality expected from Mazzucchelli. The company takes particular care that the employees are safe and protected during these processing operations – and takes great satisfaction in knowing that the staff is passionate and knowledgeable about what they do.
Just as fabric companies follow fashion influences, Mazzucchelli has a keen eye on the trends, and develops 6000-8000 new colours every year, seventy percent of which are custom made. Designers often remark on the “warmth, beauty, smoothness and depth” of Mazzucchelli acetate, and it is one of the many reasons that they create frames in this material. Oliviero Zanon at Res/Rei enjoys scouring the Mazzucchelli archives to find vintage acetates in which to develop his collection. Zanon once remarked that one of the reasons he started to create eyewear, is “because I wanted a more human experience. You interact with all the people involved from the manufacturer of the materials, to the clients…it is quite amazing.”
What is also amazing is the continuity of craftsmanship that begins with Mazzucchelli, and continues through to the eyewear designers – harmonious creations made by people who really care. www.mazzucchelli1849.it Res/Rei will be at SILMO 25-28th September www.resrei.comwww.silmoparis.com JG Top Photo: Bach and Mozart from The Musicians Collection by Res/Rei in Mazzucchelli Acetate
A luxuriously voluminous butterfly shape characterizes Laurice from the Vera Wang Capsule Collection. With fluid grace, the tortoiseshell acetate is unadorned, and also available in deliciously soft blush, and matte black. In both her clothing and eyewear creations, Vera Wang makes a stylish, memorable statement. www.kenmarkoptical.com JG
Textile designer John Robshaw and Roman eyewear producers Mondelliani have got together to produce a series of striking patterned sunglasses, with superb results. The frames are decorated with Robshaw’s distinct exotic textile designs, inspired by the designer’s work and travels across India, Indonesia, and Africa. Mondelliani chooses simple shapes that allow the decorations to speak for themselves. Model Bundi TG is one of our favourites, a split front design with abstract animal print. All the styles are made in Italy with 100% UV protection and anti-reflection lens coating. www.johnrobshaw.com / www.mondelliani.it CN
ROLF’S beautifully crafted evolved wood collection includes Facellia 92 – a soft, feminine and elegant shape. Different wood combinations are available: authentic smoked eucalyptus; bog oak-maple-bog oak; bog oak walnut; and steamed robinie – a wood native to America but now grown in Europe and South Africa. The graceful shape is accented with two-tone colouration. ROLF will be presenting their complete collections in wood and stone at SILMO in Paris starting on 25th September. www.rolf-spectacles.comJG
CM08 is a new cateye in the Chris M collection, by Vue dc designer Chris Mascré, launching this month at Silmo, Paris. Stunning colours including a sensational monochrome version are in line with high-fashion aesthetics for the new season. A delightful, wearable shape with a bi-colour front that provides a pretty diversion. Made in France. www.vuedc.fr CN
National Portrait Gallery Celebrates Audrey Hepburn
1st September 2015 Actress, humanitarian, and icon – Audrey Hepburn is one of the most fascinating and memorable women of the 20th Century. Born in Holland, she began her career as a dancer and chorus girl in London’s West End. She evolved into an inspiring and glamorous international movie star, and teamed for years with Hubert de Givenchy in a famous style marriage. Her later life culminated in remarkable philanthropic work, including Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The National Portrait Gallery pays homage to this extraordinary woman with photos that span her life from a nine-year-old – through to her last major photo shoot in 1991. These are beautiful and reflective photos from leading photographers including Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Terry O’Neill, and Norman Parkinson.
The exhibition has been organised with support from the Audrey Hepburn Estate and her sons, Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn Ferrer. Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon is a memorable show that highlights a truly exceptional, iconic woman. Until 18th October. www.npg.org.ukJG
Photos: Top image: Audrey Hepburn dressed in Givenchy with sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith by Douglas Kirkland 1966 Copyright Iconic Images/Douglas Kirkland Audrey Hepburn in pink Givenchy Copyright Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly by Howell Conant, published on the cover of Jours de France, 27 January 1962
1st September 2015An exhilarating colour palette is just one of the numerous highlights that awaits visitors at SILMO in Paris from 25th to 28th September. International eyewear creators will present their latest collections, and the previews we have seen, indicate that the forthcoming season promises to be a beautiful symphony of colour, appealing shapes, and superb materials.
Ultra-slim acetate designs by Sven Götti at Götti Switzerland (above) possess a swashbuckling urban look with retro contours. Randy (forefront) features the symbolic Götti shine, in an autumn hue of shining russet. Wlady is a powerful shape with a velvety, soft matte finish in smooth Mocha. Randy and WLady are genuine modern classics luxuriously crafted. www.gotti.ch
The Greek god of beauty – Kalos – has inspired the vibrant colours in Kirk & Kirk’s new Kaleidoscope collection. Jason and Karen Kirk have crafted their signature Italian acrylic material into distinctive frames that radiate brilliant colour with a polished glass effect. Carey in Ocean features contemporary styling with strong, sophisticated contours. www.kirkandkirk.com
Lafont Paris unveils their superb 2015 sunglass collection at SILMO. Amongst the newest designs is SOHO, with beautiful Liberty Art Fabric inserted between the acetate. The colourful floral variations are reminiscent of an English Country Garden, bursting with abundant blossoms. And just like a flourishing oasis, the colours are wonderful – including lilac (above); the frame is also available in a medley of red, blue, yellow and green florals; plus a predominately “white” garden scattered with tiny multi-colour buds; and three other variations. Lafont also promises additional eyewear surprises at SILMO this year – more info at www.lafont.com
Jono Hennessy reflects on his Australian heritage, and incorporates the colours and prints of his native land in the new eyewear collection. Bungle Bungle is inspired by the outback town of Coober Pedy, and its rare black opals. The expressive cat-eye shape is the perfect concept for these colourful and exotic frames. Jono Hennessy will also be launching a new brand at SILMO – Zepher Modern Alchemy – uniting Titanium and HDCA (hard density cellulose acetate). www.jonohennessy.com Additional SILMO information at www.silmoparis.comJG
A brand new titanium design from Austrian luxury eyewear company, Silhouette. The state-of-the-art features include the screw-less lens and snap hinges, and the weight of the frame is just 4.4 grams. Clean minimal aesthetics offer a superb choice for workwear, with classic colours that include silver black, gold and black, grey tobacco and jeans blue. Silhouette’s metal frames are created in a patented high-tech titanium that is super light, flexible and easy-to-wear. www.silhouette.comCN
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a special process used to create the 3D polyamid collection by Tom Stevens. Created and produced entirely in The Netherlands by Tom Stevens Eyewear, D08 is lightweight, yet durable, and adjusts easily. The contemporary shape is ultra-flattering, and is available in colours made exclusively for Tom Stevens, including Cognac (above); vivid blue; red; dark brown; navy blue and black. www.stevenseyewear.comJG
1st September 2015 Viennese coffee has a much-heralded reputation for its aromatic and delicious taste. The brew also appears to have inspirational qualities as well. It was over a coffee at Kleines, the celebrated Vienna Café, that Bernhard Wolf of ROLF Spectacles was first inspired to open the ROLF Boutique. Bernie was attracted to the welcoming shop design, with its original wood front still intact. ROLF is all about the craft of wood, nature and beauty.
Meetings with Bernie’s brothers and the ROLF team, and a bit of detective work ensued, and now the former sign shop is a distinctive bijou boutique, featuring the entire collection of meticulously crafted eyewear. “It is probably the smallest shop in the world,” says Manager Johannes Kern, “and it is like a little jewel.” The location has jewel-like credentials as well. Situated on the Franziskanerplatz, one of Vienna’s oldest squares; it is also the site of an historic 17th Century Franciscan Church; and Kleines – the charming café that caters to the Viennese art scene.
The ROLF boutique, which opened six months ago, has already achieved international exposure. “We have customers from all different nations – Russia, America, Australia, Asia – it’s really cool,” says Kern, “and the ROLF boutique is included on Vienna tour guides, which is amazing. We didn’t ask them to do this. However, most people are not used to craftsmen making everything perfect, and not accustomed to handmade frames. Some people are fascinated from the first second; others don’t see the energy.”
Quality service is always the ROLF priority. “One evening I was getting ready to close the shop, and one of the best hotels in Vienna telephoned to say they had an American client with a ROLF frame that was damaged – “could I fix it?” I said I don’t know, but bring it over. The customer arrived, I looked at the problem, and wasn’t sure I could repair it, but told the man to go have a beer, and come back in an hour. Exactly sixty minutes later, he returned and I’d repaired the frame. He was fascinated it worked – and purchased two more frames to take back to the U.S. He was very happy.”
Everything about the shop has the ROLF signature. Natural materials including steamed oak, grey felt and slate are used, and the frame trays that display the designs, are all in wood as well. The environment is the ideal showcase for the authenticity and craftsmanship of the handmade ROLF collection. “This is fun for me,” says Kern, “and I like people to be fascinated by our passion to do this. I really care that frames fit properly, and how to make the complete service. I get up every morning and like coming here.” www.rolf-spectacles.com JG
Top Image: ROLF Store Manager Johannes Kern at the ROLF Boutique Entrance