Churchill’s reading spectacles go on sale

Antique expert Catherine Southon is including a pair of Sir Winston Churchill’s tortoiseshell spectacles made by his opticians C. W. Dixey & Sons in a Christmas auction on Wednesday, 6th December 2017. The auction will be held at Farleigh Golf Club, near Croydon, UK, not far from Churchill’s Kent residence, and the spectacles are estimated to sell for up to £2,000.

The full rimmed round glasses with white dot to tip of each arm, contained within a leather spectacle case embossed C.W.Dixey & Son London 1777, together with a typed statement from Director of C. W. Dixey Mr P. Varnes verifying that the spectacles were made for Winston Churchill and claiming ‘usually three pairs of spectacles were made to Churchill’s prescription and kept at the Cavendish Square showroom later the Wigmore Street practice. After Churchill’s death C.W. Dixey had three pairs of Churchill’s spectacles still in their possession. It is believed one pair were given to Chartwell, one pair auctioned in 2011 and this is the final pair.

The spectacles were give to the present owner by Mr P. Varnes Director of Dixey and Sons, as the present owner, also an optician, was developing a new range of spectacles in the style of Churchill and Mr Varnes said he should ‘have the real thing’.

Churchill was very fond of his distinctive eyewear – either half-eye or the fully round style which were tailored for specific purposes and marked accordingly. The metal dots in the corner of the frame indicate its purpose – one dot for reading only and two dots for speeches, but he also had specially made glasses for sketching, painting, or card playing.

The wartime prime minister was often seen wearing the circular tortoiseshell spectacles in his later years. He had several made, so he would always have spares and if there was anything wrong with them, they would then be left with opticians Dixey for repairs.

Catherine said: “We are absolutely delighted to be offering a pair of Winston Churchill’s spectacles, especially as this area is very proud of its Churchill connection. His spectacles are as iconic as his cigar and hat. We expect a lot of interest both here and abroad as Churchill memorabilia is always very collectable.”

C W Dixey – Chartwell 01 and 02 are modern versions of the original spectacle styles worn by Churchill

Today, the British spectacle makers C W Dixey & Son produce a range of classical designs including a faithful replica of Sir Winston’s legendary circular frames, model Chartwell 01, picture above. More details on the line at http://www.cwdixeyandson.com/range.php

Further details on the auction visit www.catherinesouthon.co.uk / More about CW Dixey on Eyestylist.com: https://www.eyestylist.com/2012/02/men-and-their-glasses/ CN

Update – 11th December: The spectacles sold for £6000. (£7,296 incl. Premium and VAT). The spectacles were veryfied by a typed letter from the director of the opticians.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion V&A London

Since the renowned Spanish couturier created his first fashion collection, it was Balenciaga’s time-honoured tradition to create fine quality designs that inspired, endured and were relished by his customers.  This year, two museums have hosted exhibitions celebrating the designer – Musee Bourdelle in Paris, www.eyestylist.com/balenciaga – and currently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion. Top image: The Balloon hem silk taffeta evening dress Cristobal Balenciaga Paris 1954 Victoria and Albert Museum London

Cristobal Balenciaga at work, 1968 Paris France Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

Diana Vreeland, the iconic editor of American Vogue in the 1960’s and early 70’s proclaimed: “For twenty years, Balenciaga was the prophet of nearly every major change in silhouette.”  Christian Dior pronounced: “Haute couture is like an orchestra whose conductor is Balenciaga.”

Wild silk evening dress (detail), Cristobal Balenciaga with embroidery by Lesage, 1960-2 Paris France Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The designs are characterised by their sculptural quality, deft manipulation of textiles, and dynamic use of colours and textures. Inspiration derived from many sources: his own Spanish heritage; influences from 19th century dress; and the Japanese kimono.

Spiral silk hat Cristobal Balenciaga (Eisa label) Spain 1962 Victoria & Albert Museum

The V&A exhibition showcases over one hundred garments and hats by Balenciaga, his pupils, and contemporary designers inspired by his innovation. Jacqueline Kennedy; Pauline de Rothschild; Gloria Guinness; Greta Garbo; and Mona von Bismarck; were among his notable clients in the 1950’s and 60’s. To view his beautifully tailored suits and exquisite evening dresses is to witness a master class in couture art. Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is sponsored by American Express at the V&A, and continues until 18th February 2018. www.vam.ac.uk JG

Style, imagination and beauty: Götti Dimension

Years of research, patience, exploration, and dedication radiate in Sven Götti’s 3D printed eyewear collection – Dimension. The newest breakthrough technology allows design concepts and ideas to be integrated into innovative designs that unite opulence and minimalism. Top image: Pabek in Moss

Enriq sunglasses in Ash Silver by Götti Dimension

Superb swiss craftsmanship is reflected in the lightweight designs with colour and finishes that are silky soft, plus comfortable fit and sleek styling. Enjoy the video and discover the individualistic and technical know-how for Götti Dimension.

Sven Götti reflected: “For over twenty years, glasses from Götti have been characterised by a carefully developed and purist formal language. The result of this 3D development is an in-house production of high precision printed glasses.

Pabis by Götti Dimension in Ash Silver

“With Götti Dimension, we are getting a step ahead and taking inspiration from contemporary, dynamic and fast-moving trends, while still remaining faithful to our design philosophy. For our company it’s a new challenge, but also the best way to produce the frames in our own factory. It’s our joy to realise a high-quality product from the first idea to the last production step with our great team.” www.gotti.ch JG

Sunglasses at night: Lool Eyewear

Non Stop City – a night edition 

Launched last month at the Paris fair SILMO, Non Stop City is a bold “night” sunglasses collection – and perhaps the ultimate “clubbing” accessory, by the young Barcelona start-up, Lool Eyewear.

Inspired by club culture, urban living and streetwear fashion, the futuristic frame designs are fitted with NSC SYSTEM photochromatic lenses. The glasses are able to adapt to changes of light, darkening during the day and lightening at night, while a luminescent ‘neon-like’ line profiles the lens.

Designed by Aris Rubio, these made-in-Barcelona “nocturnal” glasses are specially designed for style conscious “non stop urban dwellers”, clubbers and “night owls”, with the lightweight construction, comfort and slimline proportions of the brand’s mainline collection which is influenced by architectural concepts and retrofuturism.

Lool Eyewear launched their first steel eyewear collections at SILMO in 2016 and have received a warm reception from the design, fashion and eyewear worlds for their technical precision and commitment to innovative ideas and top-notch production. For Lool’s new projects, visit www.looleyewear.comCN

Kensington: Eyeworks London hosts Kirk & Kirk

British brand Kirk & Kirk’s latest colour-confident, statement frame designs previewed earlier this month in Kensington’s Eyeworks, one of London’s most welcoming contemporary optical boutiques on Gloucester Road. Owned by Brenda McKernan, the store presents a clever and different mix of independent eyewear labels, including lesser known brands sourced at the European eyewear fairs, suited to all ages and tastes.

Managing director and creative designer Jason Kirk attended the preview night on 9th November, guiding customers in shapes and colours and encouraging feedback and discussion to help individuals find their style. The Kirk & Kirk brand has been available at the store for over 18 months, and continues to catch the customers’ eye; the store attracts a crowd from Kensington and Knightsbridge who desire fresh designs and flattering modern colours in eyewear.

Bridget from the Kaleidoscope collection by Kirk & Kirk in the UK

The evening presentation was attended by customers of all ages, fashion and design bloggers from the neighbourhood, friends, eyewear enthusiasts and a beautiful King Charles Spaniel! Eyestylist was delighted to take part.

Brenda McKernan with Jason Kirk

Eyeworks London, a leading eyewear store in this friendly, fashionable South West London neighbourhood, offers comprehensive eyecare, expert style advice and a modern and exciting selection of fine eyewear and sunglasses. The business also runs ‘Eyeworks for Film’ who provide prosthetic contact lenses for the film and TV industry in the UK. If you pop in, don’t be surprised to see a famous face or two! For more information visit www.eyeworkslondon.com Kirk & Kirk is run by Jason and Karen Kirk from Brighton, UK. Their colourful frames now sell around the world in some of the finest optical boutiques. The bright colour palette, handcrafted finish and interesting materials have bought them notoriety. The acrylic frame material featured in the Kirk & Kirk collection has a beautiful intense colour.  www.kirkandkirk.com

Erica by Res/Rei

Sculptured silhouettes, unique colourations, and beautiful Mazzucchelli acetate blend harmoniously in the latest Res/Rei designs. Oliviero Zanon appreciates the professional use and logic of fine acetate, and frequently researches Mazzucchelli vintage acetate. Incorporating contemporary styling, and often bespoke acetate made exclusively for Res/Rei, further enhances the designs. Streamlined with artisan Italian handcrafting, Erica suggests retro hints united with timeless form. Discover more Res/Rei designs – both optical and sunglasses – at www.resrei.com JG

Colour concepts

One definition of colour is a component of light which is separated when it is reflected off an object, such as the colours in a rainbow. To colour something is to add a hue, shade, paint or dye to an object or picture – or in this case, beautifully designed eyewear. The influence of colour in our lives is significant. Studies show that colour has symbolic and aesthetic functions, as well as emotional impact including the use of colour psychology. Colour transformed eyewear into a sought-after fashion accessory. Bold, stylish and unexpected colours – and a multitude of combinations – continue to bring passion and excitement to creative spectacle frames. Top image: The British brand Kirk & Kirk is known as the ‘Kings of Colour’, and their latest triumph is the Spectrum collection. Jason and Karen Kirk continue to experiment with the exceptional qualities of acrylic – particularly because of the endless colour opportunities, and the gentle luminosity. Anna is crafted in eight tempting colours: Pacific, Chocolate Blue, Autumn, Berry, Hazel, Spark, Mars and Summer. www.kirkandkirk.com

Kipper by l.a. Eyeworks

Extraordinary colours have long permeated the cheerful designs at l.a. Eyeworks. The latest collection by Barbara McRenyolds and Gai Gherardi includes Kipper – a generous round acetate shape with distinctive serrated details in Leaf & Hay, handmade in Italy. www.laeyeworks.com

Belle X by Plein Les Mirettes

Normandy artisans Christophe Morcamp and Pascal Guidice combine print and colour in Belle X – particularly  striking in a trio of hues. Discover more about the French brand at www.plein-les-mirettes.fr

Cartesio by Res/Rei

Italian creator Oliviero Zanon enjoys history, retro inspiration and experimental eyewear crafting. Cartesio is from The Philosophers – a collection of immaculate, streamlined shapes in contemporary colourations. www.resrei.com

Turner by Fleye Copenhagen

Layered construction highlights Fleye Copenhagen’s designs. Turner mixes solid and transparent acetate with beta-titanium, placing the different components on top of each other for a playful, thoroughly modern concept. www.fleye.dk

Eames by Face à Face Paris

Paris has a reputation as queen of the LBD – Little Black Dress. However, dynamic colour is entering the French women’s wardrobe and accessories. A selection of expressive and colourful frames by Face à Face Paris reflects the reasons why – as shown in Eames in bi-tone blush and blue. www.faceaface-paris.com

OOPS by OG Icons

Legendary styles by OG Icons include OOPS – and Claire Goldsmith comments that the two colours featured above are “my favourites without a doubt”, she says. The frames feature triple lamination for glamorous effect. www.olivergoldsmith.com JG

New launch: Crystal Diva, Silhouette Eyewear

Behind the luxurious design of this ‘jewellery’ frame are many steps of creativity and expertise, carried out in one of Europe’s most advanced eyewear production facilities. From the Elegance Collection by Silhouette Eyewear, the Crystal Diva frame features a unique crystal applique design: the Swarovski crystals are applied by hand to create an exquisitely detailed focal point on the temples – and a sparkling effect for a special occasion.

The Crystal Diva range comes in a stylish dusky rose metal finish, complete with luxe rose gold temples.

Founded in 1964, Silhouette Eyewear produces all its collections in Linz in Austria. The company was one of the first to present eyewear as a fashion accessory and has become renowned for its technical know-how and minimal eyewear concepts.  More information at www.silhouette.com CN

Trends: Super fine

Fine lines and a totally minimal structural aesthetic in eyewear continue to trend for the season ahead. Many design brands have produced their own interpretation of the look, some returning to their archives to delve into the past – and eras where fine wired frames were popular – and others proposing a more futuristic design concept, employing advanced materials which are very strong as well as slim. Architectural influences have naturally had an impact on the styling, as more “open” frame structures and different ideas on volumes and the method of construction become significant.

neubau eyewear, the young Austrian brand at Silhouette Eyewear, the Austrian experts in minimalist eyewear design, propose a completely new line in their collection which highlights 4 designs in stainless steel – conceived to combine a forward-looking, yet timeless look and a comfortable fit, achieved through adjustable nose pads and temples and a choice of two sizes. Above: neubau eyewear has launched four styles in The Wire Collection, made from stainless steel.

Manu by neubau eyewear

Manu by neubau is part of the Wire Collection. With its classic round shape and double bridge, the style cleverly plays on current styles and is perfectly fitting for a young audience who are increasingly seeking out the minimal designs. Available in graphite matte, eclectic silver, eclectic silver/black and glorious gold. www.neubau-eyewear.com

SOBA by theo

From theo, and for those with an eye on a creative lightweight design, the new Noodles serve up minimalism with quirky original details inspired by the Japanese dish and its many varieties: Ramen, Soba, Udon etc.

The lenses are held in place by “sticks” likened to chopsticks and colours vary from neon to more subdued greys and blues – there are 20 colour choices in total. The frames are made of strong, flexible stainless steel, are chemically etched, and feature corners that are laser-cut for an extra delicate effect. Find out more: www.theo.be

Rigards – Aurel wears RG0100AG in .925 sterling silver, blackened.

Rigards, renowned for its artisan designs in buffalo horn, has created a new take on the oversized aviator in .925 sterling silver. The curves on the frames are meant to create an illusion that it’s always in motion. The delicacy of the bridge design points to a minimal refinement in designer Ti Kwa’s artisan work in silver for the new season. www.rigards.com

GOTTI Perspective

Rimless styling has returned to the catwalks, and the new collections with this look represent, in some cases, exceptional steps in technological excellence. Gotti Switzerland’s Perspective Collection offers the ultimate minimal frameless concept, with a new proposal in the construction which is free from screws, glue and soldering. The connecting piece between the stainless steel and the lens itself is manufactured for a seamless aesthetic using 3d printing. More details on Gotti Perspective at www.gotti.ch CN

French eyewear, Plein Les Mirettes

French Eyewear by Pascal Guidice and Christophe Morcamp

Plein Les Mirettes glasses are produced near Evreux, Normandy. Pascal Guidice and Christophe Morcamp shared their eyewear story since creating their women’s eyewear label in January 2013.

Have you both been in eyewear for a while or did you begin your careers in different sectors? 
Christophe Morcamp: My first job was managing visual impairments and strabismus as an orthoptist. Then, over the years after further training in optics, I took a position as an assistant ophthalmologist. At the same time I created two optical shops in Normandy. This was a new experience and allowed me to learn about French eyewear very quickly. I fell in love when shopping for my stores with the creative collections. Making a collection of my very own soon started to appeal to me.
Pascal has a background in R&D, purchase management and finance – in other areas of business. It is the union of our complementary skills that has enabled Plein Les Mirettes to establish itself as a specialist in women’s eyewear in just five years.

Hybride 1 – Plein Les Mirettes

Has it been difficult to grow your small label and what has been the main challenge? What has been the best thing for both of you?
We are lucky; the collection quickly finds an audience. The graphic quality and the traditional French production of our glasses enabled us to quickly find our place in a market which is already saturated.
In the first year, we opened more than 200 customer accounts in France, started exporting to Italy with Mattis our distributor there, and also to the Netherlands and Belgium. We were able to develop sufficiently for Pascal to leave his job to join me in this beautiful adventure in eyewear!

You are only designing women’s frames but their appeal is huge! What is your focus? Why do women love your frame styles?
Plein Les Mirettes is addressed specifically to women. I wanted to have fun drawing, but also to address a lot of women through these designs. I think women appreciate the glasses because they have been made especially for them!

Re-Belle 7 by Plein Les Mirettes

You have a sensitive colour palette – that is broad and quite complex in terms of the graduated effects and transparency. Is this a natural gift or has it taken a lot of work to arrive at this in acetate?
I have a natural sensitivity to colour that comes from my childhood. I was lucky to be surrounded by women with strong characters and assertive tastes. I learnt a lot about what they liked.

In recent years, what have been your favourite trips abroad? Tell us a bit about this experience.
We are both a bit wild and we occasionally enjoy partying with a few special friends. During the many trips that we are now making to the various eyewear fairs around the world, we go out very little and dedicate ourselves exclusively to work. However we sometimes take a few extra days away from the madness of Vegas or NYC; we enjoy walking around the streets of Copenhagen or making personal visits to see our distributor in Canada or Tel Aviv.

Fantasque X by Plein Les Mirettes

We are fascinated by your factory in Normandy and its traditional production. Feel free to talk about this as it must be a huge benefit for you to have an intimate relationship with your producers and to live so close to them?
Our production is just near our house and this is a major asset for our success. The workshop and the team working there are close to us and understand our tastes. Being “on the spot” allows me to have access to some of their acetate stock and I think it makes me more responsive to the demands of women and opticians. I can also have an eye on every step of the production and have some things changed in real time if need be. But just as much as this proximity, another important thing is our producer’s know-how and recognised expertise.

Finally, what do you both love doing outside eyewear? What inspires you and what makes you feel happy or creatively inspired?
Pascal and I love to spend our life at work. We have the chance to work together, and we have our offices within the floors of our house in Normandy.
We are very different in our interests. I love cooking, gardening, and spending time modifying the decor of the rooms in the house, drawing objects, clothes, accessories. Pascal loves reading and visiting museums; and he absolutely loves ‘shoes’. www.plein-les-mirettes.fr CN

 

Kora by Vera Wang Luxe

Vera Wang’s latest luxurious optical frames are a stylish mix of shapes and colourations. Full acetates, plus metal and acetate combinations are accented with Swarovski crystals in square, round and baguette cuttings. Kora was inspired by Vera’s catwalk fashions – her philosophy a modern approach to glamour and beauty. The enduring appeal of Tortoiseshell highlights Kora – shown (left to right) in Tortoise, Heather Tortoise, and Blush Tortoise. Kora is also available in Jet Black acetate. Discover more Vera Wang Luxe designs at www.kenmarkeyewear.com JG

Stuttgart: Die Brillenmesse – Wunderbar!

In the pulsating ambiance of Motorworld, independent designers and brands introduced their latest collections to enthusiastic customers and visitors alike. Offering an excellent opportunity for opticians and their consumers – creative diversification was apparent with a medley of eyewear designs, materials, and colours – enhanced by continuing technological improvements. Top image: Swiss sculptor and eyewear creator Didier Voirol is inspired by the glamour and glitter of the 1980’s…and vintage cars!

Dr Robert Mayr, co-designer with Isabelle Molina from Miamai München…eyewear crafted in Germany

Titanium and stainless steel with luxurious finishes; acetate frames in exquisite colours, as well as sensual neutral tones; wood designs and 3-D frames that embrace modern technology, and energise the spirit of eyewear.

Eyewear canine companions are welcome at Die Brillenmesse! This elegant Dalmatian waits patiently as opticians view the Götti collection with Christian Hann – facing camera

The two-day event hosted at Motorworld, coupled with diverse topics in the Think Tank sessions provided visitors with educational inspiration, and creative concepts.

Vintage autos from the Motorworld collection are as eye catching as the frames!

Die Brillenmesse organisers Nathanaël Wenger and Steffen Keil have indicated that the 2018 edition will have exciting new changes. Keep posted at www.diebrillenmesse.de and Eyestylist.com! JG