Bold, intense colours characterise interior designs by Matali Crasset, and she extends her prodigious talents and gorgeous colourations to eyewear with a theo collaboration. Electric blue metal and contrasting acetate temples distinguish Délicat, with its strong brow line and voluminous shape. An exciting statement frame for summer fashions. www.theo.be JG
New York based textile designer John Robshaw on travel, textile design and a sunglasses collaboration with Mondelliani
“I am travelling regularly in India, Asia and now Africa and South America,” explains John Robshaw, the textile designer who has linked up in collaboration with Mondelliani in Rome, the independent label co-founded by Federico Mondello. “I met Federico through a mutual friend who had given me a pair of Mondelliani sunglasses. We started to think about a collection that experimented with my textile designs. A meeting in Rome, one in NYC, and we had come up with these incredible sunglass designs. It was interesting and fun. I hadn’t imagined there were so many things to know about eyewear, it is a fascinating world.”
“When you look at my textiles it is as if you have been on a world tour alongside me.” John Robshaw
Available at www.johnrobshaw.com, sunglass design has been a new departure for the John Robshaw Textiles emporium which specialises in bedding, wardrobe, tabletop, curtains and travel accessories. The frames have unique decorations and all the benefits of the quality artisan finish of a Mondelliani design. The frame shape Sanganer, one of the first styles created in the collection is inspired by an old Indian frame, recovered by John during one of his trips in Asia.
The John Robshaw brand continues to expand through new collaborative projects, although Robshaw’s passion for the world keeps him on the road as much as possible. “By working abroad I became a minor character in the lives of the people I work with, and get inspired by what I see and do there. I go to their weddings, celebrate their festivals, get sick with them. I develop relationships with the people who are teaching me.” For more information about John Robshaw and Mondelliani, Rome, visit www.mondelliani.it / www.johnrobshaw.com/fashion/sunglasses.html CN
The latest optical creations by international designers achieve a desirable harmony of classy shapes, unique colourations, and varied materials. Whether your preferences are for retro or super modern shapes, bright colours or subtle shades, there is great variety with welcoming appeal for every type of lifestyle: professional, sport life and casual wear.
Australian Colin Redmond is a former automobile designer, and when he sketched the Shear Scallop frames (Kaspi above from the collection), he said: “I really wanted to create something polar opposite to contemporary popular trends, something fun and fresh. I needed inspiration from somewhere unique, and used my two year-old son’s crayon scribbles, tracing over his ‘art’. To recognise his contribution, I named the frame after him – Kaspi – For Caspian.” Intriguing angles and curves highlight the interesting shape, and the colours are optimistic, confident and curious. Handcrafted in France. www.niloca.com
ic! berlin’s Crew Collection is a splendid assortment of designs reflecting the interests and passions of the company’s “crew” (employees). Fatima wears Fatima R – her optical choice in chic pewter. The ic! berlin sales rep loves music by Adele, boxing and confesses that her guilty pleasure is Tiramisu. See all the new shapes and colours from The Crew Collection at www.ic-berlin.de
Refined cat-eye shapes are a continuing favourite with women, and among the most enchanting is Shaba by Luca Gnecchi Ruscone at L.G.R. The elegant silhouette with its heightened cat-eye detail is chic and contemporary. Shaba and all L.G.R eyewear is masterfully handcrafted in Italy. www.lgrworld.com
German designer Daniel Benner enjoys combining aspects of vintage with modern touches. Cosmo 19 unites classic design with a difference – the panto lens is playfully updated with “open” parts for an airy shape. Temple detail is artfully expressed and duo-colours in black and red stainless steel are striking elements of this design.www.benner-eyewear.com
Contrasting colour combinations emphasise the beauty of Orchidea from the Flowers Collection by Res/Rei. Multi-colourations on the top part of the frame further enhance the handcrafted Italian design by Oliviero Zanon. More on the beautiful Flower Collection at www.resrei.com
Vera Wang’s impeccable taste and her modern approach to fashion translate effortlessly into her latest optical designs. V384 features a sensual, yet subtle cat-eye shape, and the colours are beautiful – shown in Midnight with mixed colour temples, and additional colours include Amethyst, black and brown. www.kenmarkoptical.com JG
Produced for the exclusive Yacht Club in Capri, Italy, the dapper limited Edition Pearson (BF730) by Blackfin delivers all the attributes of a hand-finished technical titanium frame in an exciting new colour way: an exterior in opaque charcoal grey and interior in ‘Serendipity’ blue, the official colour of the anchor in the Yacht Club’s logo.
Created ahead of the Rolex Capri International Regatta last month in a run of just 50 styles, each of the styles was customised with the wording, “Yacht Club Capri 2016”. Blackfin frames are exclusively produced in Agordino, Belluno, Italy, in line with a specific ethos referred to as “neomadeinitaly” – a term that is designed to underline authenticity, Italian provenance and commitment to its local team and environment. www.blackfin.eu CN
What goes on beneath beautiful designer fashion creations is sometimes even a more sensual, fascinating harmony of sumptuous materials and colours. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London explores the personal, fashionable journey of underwear’s roles in Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.
More than two hundred examples of underwear for men and women are featured – from the homemade to the fabulously luxurious. On display are corsets (top image), hosiery, lingerie and nightwear, plus contextual fashion plates, photographs, advertisements and packaging.
Rare 18th Century hooped petticoats are also featured alongside crinolines and bustles. Long cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria’s mother; floral embroidered stockings worn by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII; and Schiaparelli nylon stockings from 1953 emphasise the practical, as well as the alluring. Designer pieces by Rigby and Peller, La Perla, Stella McCartney and Paul Smith are also highlighted. The exhibition also demonstrates how underclothes and nightclothes morphed into loungewear, with the continuing desire for comfort at home, and a blurring of the line between underwear and outerwear, public and private.
Edwina Ehrman, Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A curated Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear. The intriguing presentation reveals how underwear can be created to transform or provoke, and it is impressive. The exhibition, sponsored by Agent Provocateur and Revlon, continues through 12 March 2017. www.vam.ac.uk/undressed JG
Photos: All images courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum
I have only twice had the chance to view the Kuboraum collection – once when they launched back in 2012, and once briefly this February at the Milan eyewear fair, by invitation. Dark and mystical, their handmade artisan ‘masks’ – like wearable works of art – have stirred up amazement and excitement in optics and fashion, and continue to do so. Highlights have included frames produced from blow-torched acetate, creating scorched surfaces which are then embellished in silver and 18k or 24k gold chains (mask B2).
The Ceremony Capsule Collection is a new chapter, honing in on an elegant hand-painting of the frames with exotic florals by designer Livio Graziottin. The collection, described as an expression of “decadent ceremonial grandeur” contains eight sun masks with different motifs of bright blossoms, hibiscus, palm fronds and rose petals, and, like a painting or piece of art, each model, with its striking painted appearance, is signed by the designer.
It’s a different, very intimate mood from the previous collections (gold and silver work) transforming the solid, bulky structure of the mask, with a surprisingly gentle mood, bringing to our attention the dedication and workmanship of the painter – in every delicate brushstroke and nuance of colour of the tiny details of petals and leaves.
Based in Berlin and handmade in Italy, Kuboraum frames are produced by the artist/designer Livio Graziottin and anthropologist, and marketing/communications director, Sergio Eusebi. The Ceremony Capsule was first shown at the Milan eyewear fair (Mido) in Spring 2016. More information is available at www.kuboraum.com CN
Finding the perfect frame fit – like the perfect shoe – needn’t be a challenge…if you know where to look! Eyewear creators enhance their collections with beautiful frames that compliment smaller faces – with original and creative designs; contemporary materials; and extraordinary colours. Among our favourite selections is Mlle+41 (above) – an innovative design by theo in Belgium. The dramatic shape gives the appearance of a larger frame, but is scaled to fit and flatter smaller faces, and the distinctive finish is a mix of shiny and brushed acetate. www.theo.be
Bright and cheerful is Blakey in HD acetate by l.a. Eyeworks in a zingy colour christened Red Hen. The frame is created with a 44mm eye size – but radiates a big presence. The neatly tailored edges and end-tip details add to the luminosity of the design. www.laeyeworks.com
Shimmering turquoise acetate highlights Tantot by Lafont Paris. The uncluttered, contemporary shape is comfortable and lightweight, and an excellent silhouette for smaller faces. Check out more designs at www.lafont.com
Stainless steel and Polyamide unite in a 3D laser design – D14 – by Tom Stevens at Stevens Eyewear in The Netherlands. The sleek frame in a smart duo of navy blue and a matt grey trim is crafted in the Tom Stevens atelier, where traditional spectacle making combines with the latest technology. www.stevenseyewear.com
This glamorous frame – PMO35 by J.F. Rey – is especially adapted for women with small faces. Animal print acetate is teamed with a stainless steel brow trim in gold and bronze, and an echo of Art Deco. Feminine and chic! www.jfrey.fr JG
In readiness for Rio 2016, a treat is in store from the Belgian creators theo: the Games collection comprises luxury designs made of gold or palladium with a superb, unusual finish – an eye-catching combination of matte and shiny surfaces.
The overall focus is on the round shape, with five slightly different circular versions – some rounder than others – referencing the iconic Olympic rings and the sought after medals as well as founder Wim Somer’s love of the classical round spectacle shape – the one he is always seen in himself.
Luxury is the keynote in this series, with palladium models in 3 μm palladium, and golden models made of 3 μm palladium with a 4 μm layer of gold. The golden frames have a hallmark on the temple, certifying the genuine 24 carat gold.
And theo’s thought of everything: for those who require a brightly coloured every day style, the same models are available in titanium in bright sparkling single colours – from fluo red to electric blue and named Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and America. Ideal for all prescriptions! For more information on this new line, visit www.theo.be CN
No longer are there one or two key sunglass trends in a season. This year, the choice in shapes, dimensions and colour combinations by independent designers extends down a very creative path. The much loved classic round designs have been joined by squares, octagons, multi-sided lenses and slightly rarer triangular eye shapes, as illustrated in Smoke & Mirrors Sodapop sunglasses (5) where a small modified triangle is superimposed on a pearlescent white “main” frame. www.smokexmirrors.com
Hybrid designs – two shapes in one – are also a good example of what’s new and trending.
The innovative French label Peter & May Walk have created some wonderful catwalk designs with this concept in mind – model Cloud Cuckoo Land is a favourite with its round outer eye shape in a two-tone colour display and cute, flirtatious cat eye lens within. More details at : www.peterandmaywalk.com
Fakoshima, the conceptual Russian brand best known for its eye-popping sunglasses, has launched Struktur, a Bauhaus inspired collection of optical frames with sharp lines, subdued colours, and an architectural approach to the shapes and their defining details. Style 08/02/06 mixes the form of a cat eye with a flat top: it’s a gutsy design that converts the more feminine upswept shaping into a design that provides a unique statement for both men and women. www.fakoshima.com CN
Stunning Coral Red acetate illuminates this chic frame by Paola Costantini at Pollipo’. The stainless steel bridge is achieved with a delicate hand procedure, whereby the bridge is inserted into the back of the frame, ploughing the eye-rims, then merging the nose-wings. The clean, fresh contemporary look has no screws or pins used to sustain the bridge. More beautiful frames from the Rome designer at www.pollipocchiali.it JG
The elegant gardens of the Villa Da Schio and its much loved flower show – “Oltre il giardino” – provided the perfect surroundings for designer Lucia Pasin’s collection of Flower Glasses and Sunglasses the weekend before last near Vicenza. LU.PA studio welcomed friends and opticians to the event which takes place in May each year and features flower stalls and exhibitors specialising in antiques, artisan gifts and handmade jewellery.
The original designs by LU.PA Studio, inspired by Pasin’s brightly coloured floral paintings, include statement cateye shapes and bold round frames – for men and women.
LU.PA studio – from Belluno – was created in 2012 and the first collection, Antheia, was launched in February 2015, featuring six individualistic models in 24 colours/patterns. All the frames are designed and produced from start to finish in northern Italy. The 18th century Villa da Schio is a historic Venetian-style villa – home to the Trento and da Schio families for over 300 years – with splendid gardens and sculptures by Orazio Marinali. For more information visit www.lupastudio.it / www.villadaschio.it CN
The latest eyewear designs for men incorporate fine materials and intricate textures. Strong, dominant shapes are a hallmark at Rolf Spectacles, who recently captured the prestigious GOOD DESIGN award. Beautiful woods from The Tyrol inspire the creative team, and Vignale (above) is from Rolf’s Excellence collection – superbly crafted in a bold, squared form. www.rolf-spectacles.com Photo by Mahir Jahmal
African memories and a distinctive shape highlight L.G.R’s Albatros – inspired by the bi-plane and exciting adventures of Lady Heath’s pioneering fight in 1928. She flew from Cape Town to London, symbolising a true spirit of freedom and independence. Handcrafted in Italy to exacting standards, the metal and cellulose acetate frame has flat zero base tempered mineral lenses. The dashing design is available in four sleek combinations, including matt gold with black shown above. www.lgrworld.com
Elegant, classic and refined – LINDBERG style 8602 is a tribute to Titanium technology, in a design that spans urbanity to beach. The Danish company is a master of detail, and the temples are finely tuned to complete the sophisticated look. www.lindberg.com
Daniel Benner’s latest eyewear collection includes men’s designs with an interplay of materials that create a light, airy composition. Stainless steel in a silver and anthracite pattern achieves a distinctive mood for Cosmo 18, and each frame is totally handcrafted in Germany. www.bennereyeweardesign.com
The beauty, history and creative hub of Vienna are the source for the Neubau Eyewear collection. Paul is a lightweight, contemporary stainless steel design combined with Polymer temples. More news about Neubau at www.neubau-eyewear.com JG
The man behind the luxury label Finest Seven has designed international eyewear collections as well as setting up his own British label in 2011 – with Ainjali Fine. Since our first interview with Jesse Stevens in July of that year, the label has become sought after for its authentic luxury style and attention to technical detail and precise handcrafting, a focus it has upheld and developed throughout the last five years.
What is your view of eyewear and how it has changed since you started working in it? I love the eyewear industry. I am constantly learning and take great pleasure in gaining knowledge from the old makers of the eyewear world – when frames were literally made by hand. I have a small workshop where I make frames by hand for friends and family. There is an increasing number of new brands coming to the eyewear market compared to when I first started over 10 years ago. The main point of change is the amount of fashion brands wanting to expand their accessories ranges to include eyewear or fashion brands wanting to do collaborations with existing eyewear houses under license.
You are an innovator and design expert in eyewear….how did you get to that point? I have always had an affinity towards a simple but beautiful design aesthetic, first gaining a degree in sculpture, I then obtained a scholarship to attend a product design school in Paris. I became friends with the son of famed Spanish sculptor Miguel Berrocal. He made it sound like his dad did it for a hobby but in fact he was a highly achieved artist who had made a very successful career out of being a sculptor. I ended up working as his apprentice for two years.
I then moved back to New Zealand to finish my 2nd degree in Product Design. After working on various design projects including furniture, interiors, architectural fittings and lighting I finally found work with Cutler and Gross as a production manager and designer working under Marie Wilkinson, where I learnt my craft.
I have found that my combined skills and experiences have shaped the way I design. I see eyewear as design objects as well as sculptures in their own right. I am very interested in the idea of functional sculpture and eyewear definitely fits into this group of products.
You have worked for top level eyewear companies including Roland Mouret, Oliver Goldsmith and Kering. How has that experience enriched your work? Working with different brands means that I get to experience building and contributing to a wide range of styles and concepts. This strengthens the scope of my design work and also allows me to be flexible and robust within my design thinking and problem solving. As a consultant designer I am very happy to have a wide variety within my client base, some production work, some smaller niche brands as well as the larger commercial projects. An ideal stable of clients includes a broad mix of projects and this is when I am happiest.
What most inspires you? Are you an archive fanatic? I really enjoy referencing the past and am a keen vintage eyewear collector. I love to learn about the history of eyewear and have recently been studying the Anger family from Austria and their contribution to the eyewear industry. One of whom owned Silhouette, another owned Viennaline that went onto become Optyl, producing collections for Carrera and Serge Kirchhofer. The third developing the first automatic machinery for cutting out eyewear from acetate revolutionising the whole industry. A truly great family achievement. As a starting point I always start with a brief or a description of the desired outcome supplied by my clients. Sometimes this is very much based in historical context, other times I am able to develop a completely separate narrative that allows me to design a collection without reflecting on vintage product at all. Complex brands like Alexander McQueen require a profound knowledge of the brand and a very close working relationship with their internal team to produce something that resonates with the brands DNA.
What makes the independent eyewear niche interesting now? Independent eyewear is getting better and better – the design, the quality, the passion. A few years ago, 3D modelling was a bit of a dream, but now many top brands are using this technique. Another obvious development in niche brands has been the sheer number of them in the market. It is a buyer’s market now with a vast number of exciting small brands starting up. From the public’s point of view the market is offering a wonderful range of eyewear for every taste.
What is your focus now at Finest Seven? What has changed since we first interviewed you in 2011?
We still appreciate clean minimalist lines in our eyewear and are now moving towards superlight metal, in shapes that are interesting and at the same time very easy to wear. We have streamlined our packaging and been thinking a lot about the future and how we can make Finest Seven memorable in a very full market. We still enjoy working with a small family brand that is able to offer a level of personal service and care that are impossible to achieve on a larger scale. As we grow, it is important to focus on this and make sure we continue to make eyewear that we are proud of and reflect our core values.
Where can we find Finest Seven glasses? Is your distribution expanding? Up until now we have simply visited stores that we liked as we travel around the world for work and pleasure. We are only a small family team this has been fantastic but unfortunately we are not able to physically get everywhere we need to be. We have finally begun to look into using agents. If it were possible, I think we would both prefer to work out of our studio in east London and stay small, but business doesn’t work like that so we are working to grow in the best way possible. www.finestseven.com CN