Flying high with speed and style

This year marks the centennial of a unique and historic event that unified hope, courage and passion – and a strengthened, shared commitment. In 1916, the United States had not yet officially entered World War I. Hence, a group of young American pilots wanted to show their allegiance and unity with the French, in defence of their respected values and spirit – that both countries held dear.

A squadron consisting entirely of American volunteers was organised to lend support to the French Army. The La Fayette squadron debuted in 1916, named after the Marquis de La Fayette, a French hero of the US War of Independence. La Lafayette was a prominent and heroic symbol of friendship between the two countries. The squadron’s insignia was the head of a Sioux Indian Chief, unifying strength and courage. The unit fought in every battle of the war, and notably the battle of Verdun. When the US entered the war, the pilots from the La Fayette Squadron were incorporated into the US Army, and served as the first fighter pilots of America that eventually became the US Air Force. By the end of the war, 267 American pilots had served in the La Fayette Flying Group…and the rest is history!

Collaborative venture: Lafont's frame tribute to the La Fayette Squadron
Collaborative venture: Lafont’s frame tribute to the La Fayette Squadron

Fast forward to 2016, and to mark the occasion, Lafont Paris has created a commemorative Limited Edition sunglass design in collaboration with the French Air Force. Matthieu Lafont, who loves planes, commented what an honour it was to work on this exclusive, joint venture, and a thrill to visit the air base. The rich history of the squadron, along with the devotion and dedication of the pilots were all strong stimulus and inspirations for Lafont in creating these respected frames. To celebrate the milestone, a centennial logo was created based on the initial logo that represented the squadron in WWI, and is prominently used on a Mirage 200N, the aircraft currently used by the La Fayette Squadron.

Socrate La Fayette by Lafont Paris, handcrafted in France
Socrate La Fayette by Lafont Paris, handcrafted in France

In the design process, the Lafont Studio took into consideration the special needs of the pilots who sought an ergonomic sunglass suitable for daily use. The result recognises and pays tribute to the squadron’s insignia and traditions, featuring the Sioux head laser engraved on the lenses. A super sonic winner! Please note: Model Socrate is available in the Lafont collection, but without the collector colours and décor. JG

Tavat Soupcan Round 2.0

With its ravishing round shape and vintage echoes, Round 2.0 from the Tavat Soupcan collection is a harmonious mix of style and technology. Alpacca – a copper alloy – unites with printed acetate on the eye rims and temples. Crafted in Italy, Round 2.0 excels in fabulous fundamentals, superior performance, and customised individuality. More on Soupcan styles from Tavat at JG

Eye Boutique, Dubai Mall

Dubai’s impressive luxury eyewear store – EYE BOUTIQUE – is a haven for the eyewear enthusiast, offering a mix of some of the world’s greatest luxury design labels and experimental designs, an exceptional and comprehensive vision care service, and a staggeringly impressive choice of vintage frames.

Part of the historical Hassan’s Optician Company in Kuwait, the first optician store officially approved by the Kuwaiti Department of Health in 1960, the innovative world-class EYE BOUTIQUE was founded by Sanaz Saadat, the wife of Dr Kian Saadat, the son of the founder and current CEO of Hassan’s Optician Co., Dr Hassan Saadat Yazdi.

The success of the EYE BOUTIQUE in Kuwait and Dubai is such that expansion plans are underway to open two additional stores in the UAE.

Eye Boutique, Kuwait store
Eye Boutique, Kuwait store
Unique design from ic! berlin
Unique “collectible” design from ic! berlin

Today, the boutique in the Dubai Mall which EYESTYLIST visited in October 2016, has a comprehensive selection of luxury and experimental frames. They include some of the finest designs by leading innovators Anna-Karin Karlsson, LGR, Linda Farrow, Gentle Monster, Oliver Goldsmith and LINDBERG, as well as ic! berlin – some of their rare pieces such as Splash! dating back to 2012 and their more recent collectible “glasses display” (pictured above).

Luxury Limited Editions and vintage eyewear at Eye Boutique
Luxury Limited Editions and vintage eyewear at Eye Boutique

The vintage collection is unprecedented and comes from Hassan’s Kuwait archives. Key early pieces from brands like Persol are available, as are labels such as the Italian classic Casanova by TAXI, Paloma Picasso, DIOR and Cazal.

Dubai Mall, Ground Level, Dubai and 360 Shopping Mall, Sixth Ring Road, Kuwait. New stores coming soon! For more details visit CN


FLEYE: Inspirational, imaginative, iconic!

FLEYE has launched their stunning new campaign for 2016/2017 that celebrates the Danish label with pure aesthetics and timeless simplicity. The extraordinary natural beauty of the La Muralla Roja location – which means “The Red Wall” – not only captures Nature’s ageless landscape – but clearly captivates the new designs and artistic direction of FLEYE’s imaginative collection. Photographer Silvia Conde embraces the amazing lighting and moods of La Muralla Roja – rising from the rocky cliffs of Calpe, nestled in the Alicante region of Spain. This tranquil setting is the ideal canvas to introduce FLEYE’s elegant frame silhouettes that effectively combine a triad of nature, inspiration and creative design.

In the top image (left to right) the Dorius frame unites a unique material mix of carbon and wood in a stylish creation with a distinctive appearance. Kani reinvents the aviator with a chic brow bar in high-density acetate for a slim, lightweight and minimalistic look. A frame with immense character is Emmet, constructed with 23 layers of paper-thin carbon fibre and a slim wood layer. With timeless sophistication and an edgy note, the angular shape of Arden is a trio of beta-titanium, carbon fibre and wood.

Dicte from the FLEYE collection
Dicte from the FLEYE collection

Dicte is a luxuriously crafted beta-titanium design for women in smooth matt black, and a special touch with green marble acetate end-tips, plus a slightly curved top that accentuates the eyebrows. FLEYE designs are adventurous, innovative, ultra-light, comfortable, well-fitted and graciously refined. More beautiful discoveries at JG

Style 609 Pollipo’

Paola Costantini’s Roman heritage underlies her achievement for exquisite craftsmanship, and embodiment of expressive colours. Her latest designs include elegant style 609 in brushed beige cubanite – with colour and texture midway between leather and fabric, played on neutral tones. The contemporary cat eye silhouette highlights the sophistication and refinement of the design. Natural Tuscan leather in brilliant orange with a saffiano finish is the ideal way to store and protect your glasses. Discover more of Polippo’s chic eyewear at JG

New innovators: Falvin Eyewear

Intriguing design by a former jewellery designer, Birgitte Falvin’s new collection for 2017 is presented in exceptional imagery with Danish model Anna Edelfors.

The campaign includes the new Skycrystal Shades (part of the Black Crystal Collection for 2017) in lightweight titanium, a bold, luxurious concept that highlights the designer’s ingenious approach to eyewear. The beautiful, minimal titanium frame, pictured (below) with an elegant architectural shape, typical of Birgitte’s unique style, is complemented by lenses which add to the overall aesthetic: clever facet-cut details along the top edge, and, in some designs, cut-outs in the lenses – precision cut using an old-fashioned artisan technique only achievable by hand. The matte black surface is complemented by exquisite detailing in 24-carat gold.

Falvin Eyewear, Denmark
Falvin Eyewear, Denmark

Falvin Eyewear’s choice of luxury materials – including Japanese titanium, diamonds, 24 carat gold and platinum – is very carefully approached. While comfort and ease of wear is well considered, the clean yet paired-back aesthetics and attention to detail are typical of a strong Danish design ethos which has an immediate draw for the wearer.

Skycrystal by Falvin Eyewear
Skycrystal by Falvin Eyewear, with facet-cut lenses

Colours are harmonious and natural, selected to work seamlessly with clothing and skin tones, for men and women. “The palette is inspired by colours meeting the surface of the Royal Black Diamond Library,” explains the designer, “when the sunlight plays on it, creating special effects.”

The Black Crystal Collection includes 10 different shapes, which can be customised with diamonds and/or sun lenses. A choice of surfaces in rose gold, palladium and 24 carat gold are proposed in combination with a colour palette of black, brown, grey, blue, aubergine, or white. The customised handcrafted diamond setting is made with black, champagne, and white/transparent Wesselton diamonds. For more information, visit CN

Luc Tuymans: Glasses…National Portrait Gallery

Art frequently influences eyewear, and frames can be an inspiration for art. Belgian artist Luc Tuymans paints a range of subject matter from major historical events to the everyday. His latest work is the phenomenon of spectacles as his muse. As he says:”I have always enjoyed painting glasses. glasses bring a kind of distortion to the face…it is a strange instrument and practically a universal theme. The banality of glasses receives a different meaning when you paint them. When at a certain point I was looking through all the portraits I’ve painted up to now, I was amazed to discover that there were glasses in three quarters of them. This is certainly not a conscious choice…glasses radically change the physiognomy of a face, but are not perceived as a radical change.” Top image: Portrait by Luc Tuymans, 2000; Private Collection; Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

Portrait Old Man by Luc Tuymans, 2000; Private Collection Antwerp
Portrait Old Man by Luc Tuymans, 2000; Private Collection Antwerp

A larger exhibition of Tuymans work is concurrently on view at the Museum aan de Stroom in Antwerp. The artist is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential contemporary painters working today. His work deals with how history and memory is translated into paint, and how we perceive people and things. The exhibition continues through 2 April 2017. JG

Orbis + Zoobug bring help & hope to little girl

A heart warming collaboration between Orbis – the worldwide sight saving programme – and ZOOBUG children’s eyewear – has brought sight and hope to a little girl in China. Xiu Ling, who is nine years old, was diagnosed at He University Eye Hospital with the rare condition Double Levator Palsy. The treatment took place on board Orbis’ new Flying Eye Hospital. The Orbis programme includes post-operative assessment, and Xiu was presented with ZOOBUG sunglasses to ensure correct protection and comfort for her eyes following treatment. Photo: Xiu Ling wearing her ZOOBUG sunglasses.

Xiu Ling on the Flying Eye Hospital
Xiu Ling on the Flying Eye Hospital

“ZOOBUG has been donating glasses and sunglasses to Orbis since 2014,” says Dr Julie Diem Le, ZOOBUG Director and an eye surgeon, “and we are always grateful to know that our glasses and sunglasses are reaching children who have undergone surgery, and need access to quality eyewear. In the first days and months after an operation, it is essential that their eyes are properly cared for and protected as they recover.”

Xiu Ling descending the FlyingEye Hospital with her mother and Orbis staff member
Xiu Ling descending the Flying Eye Hospital with her mother and Orbis staff member.

Dr Le continued: “Orbis and their work via the Flying Eye Hospital offers a remarkable opportunity to transform children’s lives in the treatment and prevention of eye disease and avoidable blindness. We are committed to that cause in our endeavours to raise awareness of the importance of children’s eye health.” Award winning ZOOBUG optical and sunglass designs are crafted from fine quality materials and customised elements, to insure perfect fit and comfort for youngsters. JG



SALT. + Briefing

The ideal solution to keep your spectacles safe for outdoor adventures is a chic, multi-functional case featuring SALT. + Briefing. The California eyewear brand has collaborated with the Japanese luggage company Briefing, and both companies design their innovative products to be strong, study and stylish. The SALT. frames featured with the case are Fairwind – which means “safe journey and good fortune”, crafted in acetate with CR39 flash mirror lenses that are 100% scratch resistant. The practical, multi-use case – which can also carry your mobile phone – is made from Ballistic nylon and YKK zippers for durability and strength. The ideal accessory – and holiday gift – for happy outdoor adventures! JG

DIS DONC by Boz Eyewear

The curiously named Dis Donc (a French expression which, quite aptly,  translates roughly “wow” “hey” or goodness”!)  comes for the bold and creative French label, BOZ. Spring-like in mood, its graceful shape highlights the trend for designs with an “open” framework – something quite different that plays with a mix of shapes, here, the round lens with the dynamic structure of a cats eye. On the face, the contrasts in colour, shape and material thickness are delicate and feminine, with a charismatic elegance that highlights the eyes, without overpowering them. Find more creative BOZ designs at CN

New and novel

The latest collections reveal that designer’s creativity is flourishing, as eyewear styles reach new heights of beauty, craftsmanship, and innovation. Superb materials in unique colourations, and unexpected details add to the charm of expressive eyewear. Elegant new designs from FLEYE in Denmark include Dorius in Indigo Blue (above) with its contemporary shape and excellent fit. Wood, raw carbon fibre (23 paper thin layers) and beta-titanium combine to create this sleek, chic frame. Discover more Scandinavian eyewear flair at Photo: Silvia Conde

Gemini in handcrafted horn by MONOCEROS
Gemini in handcrafted horn by MONOCEROS

Making a debut this season is a stunning new collection – MONOCEROS. Gemini is handcrafted from a single piece of eco-friendly buffalo horn. The material is very light, warm and pleasing to the skin. Refined and timeless, and a new dimension in horn excellence.

Luxurious style: The Claw and The Pearl by Anna-Karin Karlsson
Luxurious style: The Claw and The Pearl by Anna-Karin Karlsson

Anna-Karin Karlsson’s romantic and sophisticated The Claw and The Pearl sunglasses unites metal plated in 24K white gold – with beautiful Tahitian black pearls.  Visit for more exciting, innovative eyewear from the Swedish designer’s latest collection.

Contemporary chic, vintage heritage: Lucio by Oliviero Zanon at Res/Rei
Contemporary chic, vintage heritage: Lucio by Oliviero Zanon at Res/Rei

Vintage acetate highlights Oliviero Zanon’s Lucio sunglasses with a chic round shape. The Res/Rei design is superbly handcrafted in Italy in black, white and crystal. Explore more Res/Rei styles at

New additions to Kirk & Kirk's animal kingdom: Alligator handcrafted pin on Vivarium frames
New additions to Kirk & Kirk’s animal kingdom: Alligator handcrafted pin on Vivarium frames

The alluring Vivarium range from Kirk & Kirk introduces two new members to their animal kingdom motifs – the alligator (above) and the cobra. The distinctive pins that adorn the acrylic designs are handmade in England. See more of Kirk & Kirk’s colourful eyewear selections at JG

Dubai, for eyewear!

Dubai’s warmth and year-round sunshine provide the ideal setting for an optical fair serving the Middle East and Africa, which attracts around 4000 buyers from 70 countries each year. The show takes place at Dubai’s prestigious World Trade Centre, the UAE’s leading event venue.

The Vision-X fair in October this year (the 17th edition) attracted big-name brands and a handful of independent eyewear exhibitors including Ross & Brown (stocked by Harvey Nichols –—brown/), Tomato Glasses for children, INVU, Swiss label Einstoffen and Parisian-based designer, Dzmitry Samal.

006 by Dzmitry Samal
006 by Dzmitry Samal – a highlight at Vision-X

The fair also hosts a German Pavilion annually with 11 exhibitors representing different optical categories including fashion frames. For further information visit

During the trip, Eyestylist also visited the impressive Dubai Mall – “the world’s largest mall by area”, where numerous optical stores include Magrabi (adult store plus a dedicated kids eyewear store), Occhiali, Solaris, Vista Vision and sports eyewear specialists, Optysport.

Anna-Karin Karlsson, one of the prestigious eyewear brands at The Eye Boutique, Dubai Mall
Anna-Karin Karlsson, one of the sought-after luxury eyewear brands at The Eye Boutique, Dubai Mall

The highlight of the trip was a visit to the exceptional Eye Boutique, directed by eyewear expert, Sanaz Saadat, and part of the historic Hassan’s Optical Company. The Eye Boutique – one of two stores in Dubai (two more will shortly open), offers an unrivalled mix of luxury, experimental and designer eyewear – including LGR, ic! berlin, Anna-Karin Karlsson and Dita and some of the most beautiful rare vintage frames we have seen, preserved from Hassan’s stocks from the past in Kuwait. For more information: CN

Creative accessories: Valrose, Provence

Creative accessories for quality glasses and sunglasses are not always easy to come by but the more specialised designs are increasingly featuring in high end optical boutiques where customers value creative products that complement spectacles and keep them safe and easy to find. When we have reviewed the finer examples, there has been a prevailing trend for the use of elegant materials and a design direction in tune with jewellery trends that sets the independent makers apart.

The French label Valrose, based in Saint-Didier, Provence, is one of those labels and one of the most established. The company launched their first collections in 1993, and today produce many styles and designs that offer a practical use with a stylish finish.

Acetate chain by Valrose. Made in France.
Acetate chain by Valrose
Glasses cases by Valrose
Glasses cases by Valrose

For those with a sensibility for good design, their collections will be appreciated. Natural materials, fabrics such as linen, acetate and 100% wool felt are important features in the line, and bright colours and trims set a chic Mediterranean mood. Chains in acetate are made by hand in France, designed as pendants to match one’s style or mood. Also on offer are a nice choice of soft and semi-hard cases, cords in leather and cotton, and pretty decorative chains with gemstones and tropical-style beads, styled as jewellery pieces with unique colour combinations and real individuality and flair. For further details about Valrose accessories visit CN