Summer sunglass serenade: Blackfin

Seaside pleasures, silky sand, blue skies and the sea inspire the latest elegant sunglass designs by Blackfin. The Italian label combines stylish design, impeccable crafting, superb materials and rich colours into each frame. Blackfin’s theme centres on Natural Awareness – a journey of discovery and rediscovery, culminating in new realisations. Minimalism accentuates the frames in the material par excellence – Titanium –  celebrated for its characteristics of strength, durability, and featherweight properties. A plus for summer – titanium is resistant to corrosion in seawater and does not tarnish. Among the exquisite designs (above) is Cape May, a tribute to the Victorian charm of the summer resort in New Jersey on America’s east coast.

Contemporary form: Ventura Blackfin Natural Awareness

Titanium technical brilliance shines expressively in Ventura with a contemporary form, and distinctive detailing on the frame front and a double bridge. Innovative titanium production processes ensure the frames are extremely flexible, yet lightweight and strong.

Dramatic silhouette: Coral Cove by Blackfin

A dramatic silhouette reminiscent with hints of retro, Coral Cove is generously shaped and trimmed with white on the frame front. Coral Cove is also available in other striking contrasting palettes. Click on www.blackfin.eu for more Blackfin designs with beauty and technical superiority. JG   Photos: Giovanni De Sandre All Rights Reserved

Coterie: eyewear + jewellery

Coterie, the luxury eyewear retailer in China, has branched into jewellery in its latest department store concept. “This is our attempt to move further along the road of accessorizing eyewear,” David Leung told Eyestylist. “By adding “real” jewellery to our assortment, our consumers can mix and match more freely.”

Coterie: display of earrings and necklaces

The brands featured alongside the sun and eyewear collections currently include the Italian luxury collection by Cynthia K Sakai, Vita Fede (also producing Limited Edition sunglasses handcrafted in Japan) and  YvMin Jewellery by Zhang Xiaoyu  and Li Min, based in Beijing. The selection of high-end eyewear labels include international brands such as Balenciaga, and Gucci, as well as the Korean brands Fixxative by art director Veronica Kang, and Irresistor.

Coterie: Vita Fede displayed alongside sunglasses

Coterie has opened concessions in Galeries Lafayette Shanghai and MIXC HangZhou and the performance is described as “very encouraging”.  “We may plan to open more in the near future,” says Leung, whose vision for optical retail continues to lead the way in the region. Find out more on Instagram @coterie_store and at www.coterie.cn CN

Morel 1880 – model 60042

Intense colour in a classic panto shape is an easy-to-wear option for men all of ages. Morel’s 1880 collection offers an array of time-honored shapes with modern, carefully finished details and highlights such as the small ‘M’ engraving on the temples – a touch that indicates the artisan finesse that defines this collection. Made in the Jura region of South East France, the frames are part of a tradition of spectacle-making that dates back to the 19th century, and everything about them continues to define that tradition while adding the latest technological benefits, for a light and comfortable eyewear experience. Discover more about this classic collection at www.morel-france.com CN

The Contemporary Indigenous

Solo Show by Athena Anastasiou, London

At the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery in London this week, a new exhibition by Athena Anastasiou offers personal insights into the true face of South America, exploring how indigenous culture and global diversity has influenced the people of today. Through interviews and portraits of many nationalities along the journey, she culminates her own visual interpretation, uniting contemporary people with their native indigenous history.

Above: The artist pictured with ‘Bringing the Past to New Horizons – Oil Wool and Acrylic Yarn on Linen’

The Heart of Cuba Oil on Circular Birch Plywood 2019

In a journey of discovery, she found vibrant people and societies far richer, more diverse, energetic and eclectic spectrum of influence than she ever imagined.

The Modern Muisca (2019)

The portraits in this series offer a vibrant expression of colour, pattern, form and texture with bold use of interwoven fabric and multicolored yarns, referencing the artisan crafts and traditions of the Latin American cultures which live on today. www.roa-galleria.com / www.athenaanastasiou.com

The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, 1-2 Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London (until 18th May 2019).

Sol Sol Ito: Captivating sun styles that sizzle

Alluring, bold and distinctive sunglasses adhere to the edit of Sandra Kaufmann and Monika Fink, the founders of Sol Sol Ito. They believe that frames should capture the personality of the wearer, plus ensuring beautiful craftsmanship, comfort and durability. Sol Sol Ito sunglass creations are individualistic with dash and dare, as seen in style 020S (above) with its splendid voluminous shape in acetate and metal.

Stunning sun specs by Sol Sol Ito

Voluptuous shaping highlights glamorous Sol Sol Ito Original style 039 in luminous acetate and quality metal. Precision production and intricate technical advances are ingrained in each pair of stunning frames created by the independent Swiss brand.

Bold and beautiful sunglasses by Swiss label Sol Sol Ito

Prodigious shaping and eye-catching design radiate strong, confident impressions in Sandra and Monika’s latest sunglass design – Sol Sol Ito Original 043DC. Black-gold highlights the acetate front, with jade side pieces and golden metal temples. Discover more fascinating Sol Sol Ito designs at www.solsolito.com JG Photos: Nina Maria Glahe All Rights Reserved

Amanda by Kirk & Kirk

Bold and shimmering with luminosity, Amanda sun specs by Kirk & Kirk are exemplary with style and substance. Handmade in France, the attributes of Italian acrylic include its transparent beauty, comfort, and durability – an avant-garde material that is also extremely lightweight. Amanda is elegantly sculpted with graphic angles for a distinctive contemporary attitude. The sunglasses gleam in Earth (above); there are seven other gorgeous colourations also available. Visit www.kirkandkirk.com for more details on the stunning acrylic designs. JG

London Craft Week 19: Scorched

An exhibition of char-coaled wood pieces by leading contemporary artists and designers, London

As part of the acclaimed London Craft Week, a festival of design, artisan craft, arts and fashion, Scorched is a new exhibition showing at the beautiful Fitzrovia Chapel in London. “My ambition is to create a densely forested installation that will silhouette against the highly figured marble and gold mosaic of the Fitzrovia Chapel”, explains gallery owner Sarah Myerscough. The display shows a collection of hand-crafted scorched objects and unique furniture pieces using traditional wood working processes, celebrating the wood material and its significance in the world of craft, art and design.

Scorched exhibition, London

“My aim is for the intrinsic and modest beauty of wood to truly shine when juxtaposed with this decadent chapel interior. The organic and imperfect against the refined and geometric, the prosaic as opposed to the rarified and the matt black against the gold, one absorbing light and the other reflecting it.”

Scorched exhibition, London

The Sarah Myerscough Gallery has long been aesthetically connected to the traditional Japanese charred wood process of Shou-Sugi-Ban. The exhibition offers an inspiring opportunity to investigate this process from a western perspective, with artists featuring who have already considered the process of scorching in practice.

Scorched exhibition, London – in the Fitzrovia Chapel

The 17 featured makers are: Max Bainbridge, Eleanor Lakelin, Sebastian Cox, Alison Crowther, David Gates and Helen Carnac, Christophe Kurtz, John Makepeace, Malcolm Martin and Gaynor Dowling, Gareth Neal, Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley, Benjamin Planitzer, Wycliffe Stutchbury, Julian WAtts and Nic Webb. Prices range from £1,800 to £22,400. Fitzrovia Chapel, 2 Pearson Square, W1T 3BF

Photography above by Dan Weill London – www.danweillphotography.co.uk. For more details about London Craft Week which continues through to 12th May 2019 across London, visit www.londoncraftweek.com CN

Finest Seven sunglasses: Sleek style statements

Gracefully sculpted with generous, glamorous shaping, Finest Seven sunglasses boost your summer fashion esteem. Passionate about eyewear – the husband and wife design team – Jesse and Ainjali – embrace their belief with frames that are contemporary, comfortable and chic. Precise attention to detail additionally enhances the luxurious materials featured in Finest Seven designs. The design duo – originally from New Zealand – bring an artistic attitude to frames with graphic elements combined with handmade excellence. Above photo: A distinguished round shape – Zero 14 – features a delicately curved nosepiece with alluring gradient Violet Flash lenses.

Contemporary chic: Zero 14 in white by Finest Seven

Different frame colours and lenses create a totally individual look to a design. White frames are trending this season, and Zero 14 with gradient Navy lenses reflects current eyewear directions, plus a cool nod to retro. Visit www.finestseven.com for additional expressive sunglasses from the independent label. JG Photos: Laoqin xxx Styling: Pur Style All Rights Reserved

Optik Studio, Luxembourg

An eyewear store with the feel of a creative gallery, Optik Studio is located in Luxembourg city. An exclusive stockist in the country for 90% of the brands it carries, their goal is to make people discover how beautiful designer eyewear can be. “We’ve tried to do something different,” explains Maxime Drouna. “Our brands come from all over the world…France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Spain… and each of them has its own universe: you won’t see the same frame in two different collections; we are conscious that we must cover every trend.”

At present the mix includes Pugnale Eyewear, La Petite Lunette Rouge, L.G.R Sunglasses, Meg Eyewear, Mr Lenoir, and Masunaga. “There are a few more that we shall be launching shortly,” says Drouna who is passionate about original design.

In keeping with the collections, the interior of this store is elegant, understated and comfortable. “We have two little spaces where we can welcome our clients with a cup of coffee. It’s then our priority to find the right pair of glasses for every face. We don’t have large tables or dazzling lights. Instead when you visit, we would like you to feel at home.” Optik Studio is also offering a successful service for home and office appointments. For further details find the shop on Instagram @optikstudio.lu. 20 Rue Beaumont, 1219 Luxembourg – CN

Falvin Eyewear: Contemporary elegance

With her keen eye for elegance, refinement and detail, Birgitte Falvin creates bespoke frames that reflect her philosophy for subtle, chic luxury. Her jewellery background, unified with precision and attention to every aspect of fine design, enables Birgitte to create beautiful frames with discreet opulence. SHADES for the sunglass season, highlight frames the Danish creator streamlines in customised, graceful Titanium silhouettes, sometimes accented with rose gold or 24carat gold. (Above image: Orbit and Halo Shades)

Equator Shades by FALVIN in Titanium with Champagne coloured lenses

Danish and Japanese craftsmanship by gifted artisans who understand the importance of comfortable fit and the sleek contours of the designs, ensure frames with a prestigious pedigree. Discover more sumptuous FALVIN designs at www.falvin.dk JG

Buffalo horn excellence: Delirious Eyewear

The restrained elegance of the Delirious collection from Italy is well represented in the subtle shaping of their new model Explorer, one of the most beautiful horn designs shown at the eyewear trade fairs this season.

Wearing a horn frame is akin to wearing a tailored suit or elegant silk dress. The natural material has a soft and tactile surface, making it pleasant to wear, comfortable on the skin and completely hypoallergenic. In the sculptured artisan shape of Explorer, hints of the geometric trend are achieved while retaining the comfort of rounded rims in the lower section. Delirious focuses on time-honored traditions for its buffalo horn collection. The company founder Marco Lanero has been recognised by  Vogue Italia in Who’s on next? (2018) – an award scheme by AltaRoma (www.altaroma.it) for excellence and innovation in the production of Italian-made fashion products. The label is stocked exclusively by renowned opticians and concept stores around the world. For more details visit www.deliriouseyewear.com CN

Independent newcomers: Lunettes Alf, France

New labels with an artisan direction make a refreshing focus in a crowded eyewear field

Designed in Paris. Made in France. Closely following the most timeless sunglasses designs of the past. The French label Lunettes Alf, now in its second year, is the work of two brothers, Alexis and Germain, who have made it their mission to produce a small, authentic collection based on classic design and precise traditional production techniques.

“Our designs are removed from any eccentricities, they are true timeless classics,” they say enthusiastically. “The Alf brand takes its inspiration from sober and refined styles. The ambition of our products is defined by the authenticity and uniqueness of the design, our best-in-class production method, innovative and carefully targeted communication, and a selective product distribution.”

Alf sunglasses: eye-catching artisan design

The sunglasses are produced in carefully selected acetates from Japan combined with very comfortable to wear photochromic mineral lenses – offering high-quality and a very attractive colour finish. Design elements such as the rivets – as in traditional frames – are visible in the front of the frame and on the temples. When you buy one of the sunglasses designs you receive an artisan leather case and matching cord.

The brothers have worked to achieve a strict quality control, and this is immediately evident in the frames when you hold them in your hand. “We have represented our dedication to quality on the designs themselves by adding a red thread knotted by hand (in the left end tip) in the workshop,” they explain.

“For now, we have 5 sunglass models in 6 acetate colours and 3 lens colours (a total of 90 possibilities!). They are offering 4 optical models in 6 colours (24 possibilities). The name Alf is short for Atelier de Lunetterie Français translated ‘French Eyewear Workshop’. For more information about this emerging brand, visit www.lunettes-alf.com CN

Shopping in London: 4 new stores

London’s choice of eyewear and independent design brands is rising quickly. Several new optical stores have opened across the city in the last few months. New mono brand stores and exclusive independent boutiques are changing the face of optics in a city where consumers are more informed and interested in eyewear fashion and good design.

1. Chakshu London

The new boutique style practice Chakshu is located in Camden. The store has been created by a team of optometrists who have also launched their own eponymous house brand  in premium Italian acetate. Their additional brands, meticulously chosen to suit a variety of styles, offer the latest designs. They include Lunor, SALT. Optics, and from Paris, FACEAFACE.

Chakshu London Opticians has been created as an independent practice “where you will receive a highly professional service from a knowledgeable and experienced team.” The eye examinations are conducted using state-of-the-art equipment, including an OCT 3D retinal scanner.

The co-founders have worked in a variety of different optometric settings from smaller independent stores to large retail chains. Combined, they have over 30 years’ optical experience between them. Chakshu London, 97 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1 7PP  https://www.chakshu.co.uk/

2. FourFourFour

Located in Chiswick, West London, FourFourFour opened in March 2019. This is a sister store to Barnes Nineteen at 19 Barnes High Street, and it stocks a variety of design labels including Henau, Nine, Silhouette and Garrett Leight. A modern and minimal interior – which moves away from the clinical look of some traditional British optical stores – is becoming the norm in the UK as eyewear is seen as an important fashion consideration. 444 Chiswick High Road, London

3. Izipizi Paris

Izipizi is the latest opening in the Soho/Carnaby Street area in central London. This is the French brand’s second stand-alone store in Europe; the debut store is in the Marais district of Paris. Located in the popular shopping district of Soho, this new corner store displays all of the brand’s adult and children’s collections in a small yet well designed open retail space. www.izipizi.com

4. For Art’s Sake

This is another stand-alone retail store, located in central Covent Garden in the busy covered market.  The store borrows bold design details from the brand’s penchant for eclectic style: decadent blue velvet furnishings and brass fixtures have been designed to “elevate the statement-making frames”. Many new retail features have been incorporated, from a selfie station to personal shopping (in five languages: Mandarin, French, Spanish, Italian and English), a concierge option, tax-free shopping, “Click and Collect” as well as exclusive colour choices for some of the frame designs. For Art’s Sake is designed by Xiwen Zhang who is featured on 2019’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list. www.fasforartssake.com CN