“While spectacles are a growing fashion phenomena, there are too many unattractive and unfashionable items in the eyewear accessory market,” says the owner of Diffuser, a Japanese independent label that is already a leader in its field at home in Tokyo. Masaki Hirose, formerly at eyewear brand Dita, questioned the situation and turned his attention to developing attractive, distinctive accessories designed for men and women with discerning taste.
Launched in 2012, Diffuser’s concept is to create a well designed set of timeless accessories – with more accessibility for men, in well crafted quality materials, including leather and silver. “We are offering customers the satisfaction of wearing a better product – at an affordable price,” says Hirose. “The range now includes glasses cords, eyewear cases and pouches and some small leather goods – all of them coordinating with one another.”
Diffuser designs are original and come in a tasteful colour palette which includes natural tan, navy and black, with gold lettering – well suited to luxury eyewear and classically focused yet in line with contemporary trends. The accessories are widely available in Japan and are stocked by a selection of handpicked optical stores worldwide including Milan Lunetier (Paris), Haute Eye (S. Korea) and Senses Optik (Hong Kong). For more information visit: www.diffuser-tokyo.comCN
Narrow golden temples and a brightly patterned front in acetate: the new PFB label from Barbados has a colourful entry for all occasions in model PFB 03, now in a hot pink/red (colour C2). The design is one of several in this chic collection designed to embody the Bajan spirit: warmth and individuality in a graceful and softly feminine frame with a high-tech finish including screwless hinges and a lovely lightweight feel.
Peoples from Barbados is the new line by Alicia Hartman, the owner/optician at EYE Q Opticians in Limegrove (Barbados). The frames are designed in Barbados and made in Japan. Coming soon to selected optical boutiques in the UK and US: www.peoplesfrombarbados.comCN
We took a look for ourselves and discovered tiny aliens with an obsession for kung fu. This is the inspiration behind the installations at the new 2-floor Gentle Monster store in London, a space that is more straightforward in its conceptual presentation than sister stores in the US or Korea, where part of the fun is the architectural excellence of the spaces and unexpected surprises encountered as you literally “journey” through the stores.
In London, the experience is more about the installations themselves: they include a huge kinetic apparatus with a gong that sounds every three minutes, a Kung Fu “training field” and “battle ground” for the aliens and a waterfall video installation by artist Ryoici Kurokawa, referencing the places where an aspiring Kung Fu master would typically train and meditate.
And then there are the glasses and sunglasses: not so much at centre stage, and displayed in typical Gentle Monster style, in amongst the installations, usually on minimal, open shelves, but always designed to invite us to pick up and try them on as much as possible, the experience of which is positively encouraged at Gentle Monster.
The eyewear and sunglass designs available here offer a mix of wearable and very flamboyant metal and plastic shapes, colours and forms, and are priced – unexpectedly – at more moderate prices than we had imagined (some just under £200 – all made in China or Korea). Highlights include very classic plastic sun styles in easy colours – the collab with Tilda Swinton was a memorably classy one – and a few outlandish sci-fi pieces with metal details such as the capsule, Once Upon a Future. Much more is promised, with London Fashion Week being the immediate focus for September and, as in other GM shops, a changing and evolving theme, a part of the DNA of the label, will ensure nothing stays the same for too long.
The new store is located at 28 & 29 Argyll Street London, just near Liberty’s in Central London. The opening in the UK follows a second store in LA and a new pop up in NYC at DSM and Selfridges on Oxford St., London. Gentle Monster was founded in 2011 by Hankook Kim. www.gentlemonster.comCN
Award-winning fashion graduate Becky Hong studied Millinery Design at the Royal College of Art, and fell in love with eyewear, now one of her principle design projects and – she hopes – a possible career path. Eyestylist first met her at the 100% Optical fair in 2017, when she won the fair’s student competition with an exceptional design project entitled My Tribe – in that year students were asked to consider the wearer and their activities and lifestyle, by designing a frame for a specific person and specific use. Becky considered the frame’s capacity to work like make-up. https://www.eyestylist.com/2016/12/rca-x-100-optical/
This year, Eyestylist returned to London to meet Becky at her RCA finals show in June. Allthat Solidity, All that Fragility– RE-FORM looked at breaking – in eyewear and millinery – to ‘re-create’, says the young designer.
“Through challenging the possibilities of the construction based on materiality, the technique of breaking, displacing and replacing both the lenses and the frame itself is reflective of the wearer’s impermanent real life experience and fragility of the wider society…”
The project offered exciting ideas in lens design concepts and frame functionality, extending not only through the refined reconstruction of the “broken” and “reconstructed” designs themselves but also in a strong, minimal concept in packaging. For more details about the young designer visit www.beckyhong.comCN
Young Italian label Delirious Eyewear is the first eyewear collection to receive special recognition in VOGUE ITALIA’s Who’s on next? annual awards, supported by Altaroma, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade.
Delirious founder Marco Lanero was honored at the event held in June alongside fashion names which included Angelia Ami, Diletta Cancellato, MRZ and MTF Maria Turri. Accessory brands highlighted ranged from Maissa (luxury accessories), Manfredi Manara (shoes), and Woobag (a collection of bags), as well as Delirious, the only eyewear label present in the accessories category. In addition, Tomorrow, the international fashion sales platform, awarded a special prize to Delirious for their expertise and precision in Made in Italy production while the eyewear label also took away the Sugar prize, a special accolade awarded by the avantgarde concept store in Arezzo (Tuscany).
The awards are judged by fashion experts from Altaroma and Vogue Italia, with the winners being voted by an eminent Jury who includes manufacturers, distributors and the Italian and international press. The new collection for 2019 will soon to be presented at the Paris trade fair SILMO, September 2018 including new launches in buffalo horn and a titanium/beta titanium mix.
Delirious Eyewear is available at international concept stores and optical boutiques including Ackerman (Rotterdam), Epice (Osaka) and Visionary Optics (NYC). For more details about the collection, visit www.deliriouseyewear.com CN
Bold, voluminous, chic and sophisticated – Finest Seven captures all in the latest sunglass designs from their bespoke artisan collection. The design duo Jesse Stevens and Ainjali Fine create heirloom eyewear styles that reflect timeless traditions, while embracing cutting edge technology. Zero 14 features a beautifully crafted round shape with a curvy bridge – and lenses in the glamorous shade of Tequilla Sunrise. A stunning selection of other lens colours is also available – including Lilac Flash, Champagne Mirror, Grad Green and more. Visit www.finest seven.com for more sleek designs with shape diversity and expressive lens colours. JG