New for release in Milan this week are four outstanding cutting-edge optical shapes in the B Frame TwoLiner series at pq eyewear; these have caught our attention with their exciting palette of 60s pastel combinations and free-flowing futuristic shapes that derive from the 1960s maxi designs. The construction combines two parts – refined and slim compared to previous designs – connected at the temples using a clip system that does not require screws or metal parts. Known for its technical qualities, lightness, flexibility and unique 3D printed forms, the PQ collection is designed by Ron Arad, industrial designer, artist, architect and design innovator. www.pqeyewear.com CN
Strong, bold shapes feature prominently in eyewear collections, with frames that are powerful – but never overpowering. Frames are crafted into unique, edgy shapes, with key detailing, enabling the wearer to express their individual personality. Kirk & Kirk have added two new shapes to their exceptional Vivarium Collection, plus an enchanting new sterling silver and 9K gold animal pin – an English Springer Spaniel – the affectionate, loyal and gentle natured hunting dog. Huxley (above) in crystal Italian acrylic, is handmade in France, exudes style and is exceptionally lightweight. Kirk & Kirk are exhibiting in Milan, and will present both the Vivarium and The Kaleidoscope Collections. www.kirkandkirk.com
Vidal Erkohen at RVS Eyewear creates dynamic shapes, and Eli in contrasting tones of dark and sunny Havana, with blue lenses is a striking design. Eli is included in The Shining Collection – the first ever Limited Edition by RVS Eyewear. The frames contain laminated acetates to create a custom look, and the designs are the first glossy collection to be produced by RVS – matte eyewear has been their speciality since 2007. Production is limited to one hundred pieces for each colour of each model – custom crafted collector’s items. www.rvseyewear.com
“We love crazy,” says theo, – so bold, intrepid, and innovative is stunningly apparent with this brand. Belgian designer James van Vossel had a “crazy idea”, and his creative imagination resulted in theo+James:Plié.The eye-catcher in this bi-coloured frame is the end piece. Instead of attaching the end piece to the front by welding, the end piece is part of the front piece, cut from the same metal plate. First the end piece is bended to the front, then bended backwards. There are four different designs – Plooi (above) Pli, Piega and Plissado. They all mean “pleat” in Dutch, French, Italian and Portuguese respectively. More fun and imaginative frames by theo at www.theo.be
Textile designer John Robshaw has joined forces with Italian luxury eyewear brand Mondelliani to create vibrant, colourful sunglasses. As a college student, Robshaw spent a year in Rome and absorbed “la dolce vita” with great enthusiasm. So he was delighted to combine his love of textiles, and inspired Roman ingenuity into sunglasses with vitality, spirit, style and lavish colour. Devi in fresh spring green features a sunny print on the interior. See more colourful designs by Mondelliani for John Robshaw at www.mondelliani.it JG
Parisian brand Lafont’s boutique on Boulevard Raspail, a stone’s throw from Bon Marche, is instantly recognisable with its aubergine and dark green decor and artistic seasonal window displays. A 1970s painting of a tiger above the desk – with a glint in his eye – has come from the Lafont family’s private collection, creating a surprising focal point in the spacious modern interior where eyewear is displayed on elegant shelves.
Our most recent visit to the family-owned Parisian brand took in two Lafont addresses – 17 Boulevard Raspail, a large space with a high ceiling, chic and contemporary, and fitting for the area frequented by Parisian professionals, lawyers and politicians; and the historic “epi-centre” of the brand in Rue Vignon, charming and historic, more museum than boutique, dating back to 1923 (further details at http://www.eyestylist.com/2011/09/lafont-eyewear-paris-france-2/)
“My mother and father began to experiment with colour in eyewear as early as the 1970s,” explains Matthieu Lafont who meets me at Rue Vignon. “They were spraying the frames to apply colour at that time, and then they began to introduce fabric into the designs. They were really experimental for those times.”
Today the shops highlight the brand’s entire collections – classics such as Jupiter (above) set side by side with new designs, desirable re-editions, a gorgeous classical horn collection, and precious authentic vintage tortoise frames. Bespoke is also an important highlight at retail. “We see demand for bespoke frames in the stores, and this is an area that is increasingly relevant, it’s a part of our expertise,” explains Matthieu.
With four shops in Paris and one in Normandy, as well as optical stockists worldwide – some feature bespoke Lafont “corners” with similar colours and details as the Parisian stores themselves – the label shows no signs of slowing down in terms of creative drive and accomplished trendsetting designs and decorative applications. Part of the beauty of the collection remains its unique identity – and the expression of that through each design. “For our 2016 collection presentation at Mido,” explains Matthieu,” Thomas, artistic director, has worked on new colour combinations in acetate, metal or acetate with fabric. We will also present a new set of retro inspired products combining carbon fibre fronts and beta-titanium temples. A lot of work has been dedicated to the shapes, with new offers in terms of sizing and proportions.” For more information about Lafont Paris and the Parisian stores visit www.lafont.com. Photography credit: Eyestylist.com CN
British Vogue Magazine – the arbiter of cutting-edge fashion – celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Beauty and portrait photography are featured with over two hundred and eighty remarkable images from The Condé Nast archive.
Since 1916, British Vogue has continuously been at the forefront of communicating the latest in bon vivant style and elegance, as well as narrating the lively arts and society. Vintage prints from the early twentieth century, photos from renowned fashion shoots, and unpublished works are brought together for an exhilarating retrospective of this iconic magazine.
The twentieth-century shaped the fashion landscape with amazing photographers – including Lee Miller, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and Snowdon. Their works are included, along with celebrated photographers Mario Testino, Tim Walker, Patrick Demarchelier, Nick Knight, Herb Ritts and David Bailey. Through the decades, British Vogue reported on the upcoming and creative talents of the time – that defined the century’s progression in fashion, style and social trends. From Henri Matisse to Francis Bacon; Lucian Freud; Marlene Dietrich; Lady Diana Cooper to Lady Diana Spencer; Fred Astaire to David Beckham; and fashion luminaries Christian Dior, Saint Laurent, and Alexander MeQueen, are just a few treasured experiences.
Vogue 100: A Century of Style is a memorable, imaginative journey through ten decades of exceptional photography capturing fashion, people and places with artistic style. Vogue 100: A Century of Style is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 11 February – 22 May 2016 sponsored by Leon Max www.npg.org.uk JG
Top image: Kirsi Pyrhonen in Mongolia by Tim Walker, 2001 Copyright Tim Walker
Three exclusive new models from Volte Face Paris, the French brand by Fabienne Coudray-Meisel, express a detailed exploration of materials, namely acetate and metal, with work on texture, relief and colour. The simple shapes are easy-to-wear: in model Gotta, the colours selected define the shape of the brow, a lighter shade set behind the darker tone. Exhibiting at the Milan fair later this week, the Volte Face collection is made in France and Japan and is now widely available in over 15 countries worldwide. Find full details at www.volteface.com CN
A distinguished eyewear pedigree is reflected in Smoke x Mirrors with fine craftsmanship, and the merging of traditional spectacle production with state-of-the-art technology creates symmetric harmony. New York based cousins Roi Ironi and David Shabtai launched the brand last year, influenced by the style and spirit of the 1960s and 1970s. Sunglasses with attitude – combining classic and modern elements – highlight the vibrant collection in acetate and metal. Geometric silhouettes, focus on detail, fabulous colours, and artful aesthetics characterise the designs for men and women. With Smoke x Mirrors, there is always a new role to assume. Chic and cool combine in Volunteers of America (above) in bright horn with dark grey lenses. The double bridge – a Smoke x Mirrors signature statement – and the voluminous shape, express edgy glamour.
The timelessness of the designs adds to the style appeal. The male model above wears Atomic in crystal with a white acetate brow bar. A luxuriously exaggerated sunglass shape – Golden Brown – on the woman is handcrafted in matt gold metal, with an acetate rim in green pearl – an empowering design.
Ironi and Shabtai believe that sunglasses should be prominent and pleasing on your face. The bold, striking pattern in Passenger (above) creatively achieves this aim in bright tortoise acetate – in a sleek design that combines fashion, function and fun. Smoke x Mirrors will present the collection in Milan, and for further information on this innovative brand and their exciting collections, visit www.smokexmirrors.com JG
A frame which folds away provides the perfect balance of style on the move and convenience. Folding frames have been around for decades (above, vintage design at Specstacular, Shoreditch, London), and several brands like Persol have continued, through the years, to reproduce their classic folding designs, including the PO0714 “Steve McQueen” sunglasses – in updated designs with new technology.
Others are rekindling designs from their archives – a delightful example was shown at Lunor during the Munich eyewear fair – or coming up with completely new concepts for tidying frames away.
Gotti Switzerland launched their “Spin & Stow” concept in 2011. Rather than folding at the bridge or along the temple, these frames have a “rotating” mechanism at the temple so that the arms lay flat across the frame front when not in use. A special flat case has been designed to accommodate the glasses when not in use, very handy for many situations. The Götti Spin & Stow innovation is patented and has been distinguished with multiple awards (GERMAN DESIGN AWARD 2014, IF Product Design Award, red dot Design Award and V. AWARD Technology HK). Further details at www.gotti.ch
Other noteworthy examples? A new entry from Italy, Movitra Living Spectacles proposes a cool round eye shape with a patented design system, developed by experts in micromechanical components production, and created to protect the Carl Zeiss lenses from damage. The temples of the design fold away on both sides of the lenses, protecting them on either side when not being worn. www.movitraspectacles.com CN
Eyestylist continues the Eyewear Canine Companion series and today we meet Ruby – “the best employee at Niloca” says owner and Niloca designer Colin Redmond in Australia.
Have you had Ruby since she was a puppy? “Ruby was actually born on St. Valentine’s day in 2009, and we picked her up as a puppy from the breeders on Easter weekend. She is an Airedale Terrier and our best employee.”
Can you please describe Ruby’s daily routine? “Ruby has her own fan base in our new location, which features a floor to ceiling glass frontage: this is where she bases herself on a restored 1930’s Art Deco arm chair. People walk by and can’t help but smile. During winter, she stays the entire day – only raising her head for pats from people walking in – and bringing treats I might add! The only other time she gets out of the chair is when a supplier visits and brings a tray of macaroons – then it’s game on! Ruby’s main task might be a little surprising, as she is actually a very good judge of character. At day’s end we walk home together, sometimes stopping at the grocery store – where she gets more pats. The only time she’s not walking is during wet weather – her feet are made of sugar!”
What are some of Ruby’s special characteristics? “She has a snorting latex pig that she loves playing with – the snorter died in 30 seconds, but the pig remains. We found it in Paris years ago and she loves it. Now every overseas trip I have to buy a latex pig. One year I ran out of time, and she wouldn’t come for pats for a whole week. Luckily now I can buy the pigs at the local pet store if I ever forget. Sometimes if Ruby has been up all night chasing possums, she will be tired, and sleep solidly through the day.”
Has walking with your dog ever triggered a design idea? “I named a frame after her and it turned out to be the biggest selling frame I’ve designed. However, she did inspire a frame four years ago, and it will be presented at MIDO. Ruby and I were on the beach and what triggered the idea was a new yacht. The combination of materials were beautifully combined and technically advanced. The idea produced sketches that could not be produced until now, and the end result is pretty amazing. It will be another ‘eyewear first’ for our young design company.”
Does Ruby travel with you? “Ruby has travelled once to our outback workshop in Dubbo – a rural farming town and she loved it. Apart from that, Ruby whimpers when I start packing the bags for overseas – I don’t think she’d enjoy 24+ hour journeys. One time, I found Ruby sitting in my suitcase, looking up at me with big puppy eyes. The other place I take her is in the car to our country retreat. It’s a great place for me to refine designs and be inspired by nature’s offerings.”
Please tell us about Ruby’s watercolour portrait (to be unveiled in Milan) – is an animal portrait artist doing this? “Haha – it’s me! I was taught watercolours, which are a great medium that I don’t get enough time to indulge in. ”
Anything else you would like to add about your canine companion? “Without her there is no Niloca Eyewear. Ruby is part of the family, she is so much a part of our passion for life and love for what we do. Everyone that sees her smiles – she is the essence of good with a sense of humour to match, when you need it. A very instinctive and caring companion.” www.niloca.com JG
Res/Rei’s expertise in quality acetates and colour combinations is striking in the Flower Collection, where two colours meet for a curious, eye-catching effect. Hibiscus offers a well-defined balance of timeless design and contemporary colour twists that immediately underlines the craftsmanship and dedication to precision handcrafting – and carefully selected high-quality materials from Mazzuchelli. Available in honey/pastel blue, pastel beige, coral orange, and choco petrol green, the shape is like a wayfarer but with a slight lift on either side, enhanced by gently tinted lenses. www.resrei.com CN
At a particularly beautiful wedding reception in the heart of Provence in France, sitting across from me was a lovely, chic woman wearing superbly crafted and luxurious refined jewellery. I commented on her necklace, and she replied: “Thank you – I designed this necklace.” Consequently, I was fortunate to meet Parisian jewellery designer Catherine von Specht (above) of Umbellina, who creates original one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings.
The pure simplicity, united with premium quality materials – exquisite jewels and fine gold – highlight the stunning designs. She discovered her passion for jewellery and gold, and created her first designs in Hamburg. Having lived in France, England, and Germany, plus travelling globally with her German husband, von Specht’s perspective and intuition reflects serenity and harmony in her jewellery.
Perfect balance in the lines and symmetry of her creations, further enhance her elegant expressions. Certain designs have little messages engraved on the metal or medallions. The result is always unique and personal. Umbellina creations are sold in select shops in Paris, Munich, Miami and Los Angeles. Von Specht also works with perspective clients so they can select their own metal and stones, achieving the jewellery design of their dreams. www.umbellina.com JG
This weekend’s London optics fair at Excel saw several international launches and a growing attendance of international visitors, designers and fashion brands. Silhouette from Austria chose the show for the UK launch of Neubau Eyewear, their new youthful design-oriented brand dedicated to a modern urban audience and inspired by a young artistic neighbourhood in Vienna.
Drawing on Silhouette’s rich history and high quality Austrian manufacturing, the optical collection includes 12 models in six colours with full rim metals – highlights were shiny finishes in copper and bright gold – and multicoloured SPX shapes (available June 2016). A sunglasses collection, inspired by Silhouette’s historic eyewear archive and previewed at 100% will launch later in the year. www.neubau-eyewear.com
Further highlights included an increase in small independent labels in attendance at the show. Henau from Belgium showed creative acetate sunglasses and opticals. Their unconventional trendsetting shapes show a commitment to variety, detail and original colours, recurring themes across the stands at 100%. Henau model M 2101 represents a modern pentagon shape with a bridge designed for an easy, comfortable fit. A new website launched last week at www.henau-eyewear.com/en
Model Hooper by Salt Optics was one of the ophthalmic styles selected for the 100% catwalk this weekend. The eloquent combination front has a tiny double rivet on both sides, perfectly in tune with the elegant lines and very narrow temples. www.saltoptics.com
British brands were out in full force at 100%; London’s iconic Savile Row (www.savileroweyewear.com) and Oliver Goldsmith collections (www.clairegoldsmith.com / www.olivergoldsmith.com) – highlighted quality and finesse in British eyewear, while design label Kirk & Kirk showed their unique style and love of audacious colour in the transparent acrylic Kaleidoscope Collection, www.kirkandkirk.com.
100% Optical represents a new chapter for the UK market as a showcase for eyewear fashion and, in particular, the specialised independent eyewear producers, both local and international. The dates for the show in 2017 have been confirmed as 4th to 6th February 2017. http://www.100percentoptical.com CN
Some combinations like titanium and beta-titanium just work, and the Danish company Ørgreen is masterful at integrating the two, for a result that brings together great design and a wonderful sense of lightness. Yoko is a new sunglass design named after and dedicated to the peace activist and 60s icon. The oversized round silhouette and refined slim bridge are proposed in several colour combinations in a predominantly restrained palette that complements the sandblasted gold titanium.
While we’d go for a sharp duo of mat racing green and gold (model 627, top), festival-goers will be lusting after the theatrical effect of the mat vintage rose with pink to purple “look-at-me” mirrors (model 656, above). www.orgreenoptics.com CN
Innovation and unconventional approaches to eyewear are just two ingredients that make frames so desirable. For men, women and children – the numerous possibilities for distinctive, fun and imaginative eyewear enhance designs. Zoobug – the award-winning British brand for children launches a charming design – Chic – in blue diamond acetate (above).This frame is particularly good for small faces, as it is created with curled sides and a surgical grade silicon saddle. A larger version for children age 4+ is also available. Zoobug will be presenting their collection for youngsters – and launching the brand new optical styles at 100% Optical this weekend – 6-8 February – at Excel London. www.zoobug.com Photo by Wanda Kujacz
Classical composers are a theme at Res/Rei in Italy, where Oliverio Zanon is inspired by the keyboard style of Frédéric Chopin’s highly individual and technically demanding piano compositions. To honour the celebrated composer, Zanon has created Chopin – a frame with individual styling and technical highlights to reflect Chopin’s poetic music. The temples and nosepiece are intricately textured, and the frame also features distinctive end tips. Handcrafted in Italy. www.resrei.com
Frames with unexpected characteristics and materials are evident in an exceptional design by RIGARDS – with Metalloid RG0062AL. The frame features the intrigue of smooth aluminium with a textured finish that resembles the appearance of sandblasted stone or raw stucco. Enduring industrial texture, the lightness of metal, and a refreshingly flattering shape define this unique frame. www.rigards.com
Fashion designer Wes Gordon has collaborated with Austrian brand Silhouette and the result is a striking collection of luxury sunglasses. The 1960’s inspired frames are lightweight, with a sleek panto shape in sophisticated tones of nude brown, classic grey, ocean blue and classic green. The Wes Gordon for Silhouette frames will be presented at 100% Optical this weekend at Excel London. www.silhouette.com www.100percentoptical.com JG
Niloca Eyewear’s latest collections are inspired by the design theories of the Renaissance engineer, artist and architect, Brunelleschi, who was recognised as the master of linear perspective, showing depth on a flat surface, in the 14th century. Model Clockwork is one of the latest signature pieces by Australian designer Colin Redmond, created to “push the boundary of manufacturing technology and design language into the 3rd dimension”. The classically proportioned front could easily go unnoticed; however, as you look at the frames side-on or from above, it becomes apparent there’s more to this than meets the eye.
With a raised faceted inner rim extending 4mm – seam welded using an aerospace calibrated laser welding machine, each surface is precisely shaped to ensure sharp details, defining the quality of manufacture without embellishment. Exclusive materials add to the dramatic statement of this idiosyncratic design. http://niloca.com/stockists/ CN
All eyes – 100% – are on London this weekend – 6-8 February – as 100% Optical opens at Excel London. The three-day event hosts international eyewear designers and companies, who are presenting the latest, innovative optical and eyewear collections. Austrian based Silhouette will present several selections, including Titan Accent (above) the feather-light, elegant frames for men and women; in addition to Sun Specs for 2016 and Urban Lite. www.silhouette.com
Slim and trim frames are a prevailing trend, and Götti introduces a sleek design – Darell – in Titanium with a smart double bridge. Götti will also present beautiful Genuine Horn designs that are superbly handcrafted. www.gotti.ch
Havana Fiammato Tortoiseshell acetate highlights a stunning design by L.G.R. – Reunion II Flap. A flat double bridge, brown leather flaps and silver mirrored lenses add to the distinction of this unique design. www.lgrworld.com
Handset ruby, diamond and amber Swarovski crystals enhance this luxurious frame – XL2067 by Charmant – from the Line Art Opera Collection. The temple detail is intricately designed and inspired by musical waves in lightweight Excellence Titan. The Charmant Z collection for men will also be presented at 100% Optical. www.charmant.com Mark your calendars! 6-8 February at Excel London. More info at www.100percentoptical.com JG