Traditional Italian stores, Ottica Rossi and sister store Ottica Talluto, dedicated to professionalism and an offer of unique eyewear, have an established authentic history of serving their community. The owner Luca Rossi told us he has added his own limited sunglasses line to his selection of eyewear – a project he has dedicated to the local people and the beautiful landscapes of the Tuscan region.
In the dreamy seaside towns of Orbetello and Maremma (Tuscany), Luca Rossi’s traditional optical boutiques – Ottica Rossi and Ottica Talluto – offer a combination of traditional eyecare services with a wide choice of frames and sunglasses – selected for the local community and, in normal seasons, a stream of tourists and visitors who come to the area for sun and relaxation. The eyewear collections in the stores currently include famous fashion collections and independent brands Barton Perreira, Seeoo and Maui Jim, as well as the Italian classic, Persol.
Rossi’s dedication and passion for his work has culminated in a new project in 2020. The optician has created his own collection of 10 sunglass models, produced locally in Italy and inspired by the location of the stores. Featuring classic colours of ochre, tortoise and black and retro-inspired shapes popularised by the stars of the Italian cinema of the 1950s and 60s the line is designed as a connection to the local Italian region, with a nostalgic and classical style, a nod to “la dolce vita”.
About – In the heart of Porto Santo Stefano, overlooking the sea, Talluto Ottica first opened in 1987, to serve the local community and tourists visiting the town. Ottica Rossi is located in Porto Santo Stefano, close to the sea front. Today both stores are run by optician, optometrist and contactologist Luca Rossi. www.otticarossi.it Written by Clodagh Norton – all rights reserved
Continuing its roll-out of new stores with a focus on cities closer to home, MYKITA has opened their first Hamburg store at Neuer Wall 88.
Located between the city’s canals and shopping boulevards, the shop brings the distinctively modern design aesthetic of the Berlin brand to the heritage-listed Stadthöfe, a recently restored architectural ensemble steeped in baroque and neo-renaissance style.
The fourth shop to open in Germany, it offers MYKITA’s comprehensive range of optical services using state-of-the-art instruments from optical partner, Zeiss. The full MYKITA product portfolio is available – the ultra-light stainless steel eyewear designs, mixed material models, and award-winning MYKITA MYLON collection made with 3D printing technology – as well as the design collaborations with Maison Margiela, Helmut Lang, and Leica.
Neon signage marks the street-level shop location in the ‘Palaishaus’ built in 1881. Once inside the six-metre high doorway, visitors are welcomed into a modern, warm atmosphere with a seated consultation area, providing an unrushed and comfortable space to receive a personal and professional optical service. Eyes are immediately drawn to the open mezzanine level and the view of the optical lab and workshop used for in-store frame adjustments and lens fittings. Construction details and furnishings in a deep orange shade break up the reigning warm, neutral tones of wood and stone.
In addition to the MYKITA Shop Hamburg, the brand now has 14 shops worldwide, including locations in Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Cartagena, Los Angeles, Monterrey, Munich, New York, Paris, Taipei, Tokyo, Washington and Zurich. For more information visit www.mykita.com
A new Erker’s flagship store has opened in St. Louis, Missouri in 2020, the latest and most luxurious in a long line of optical stores run by the Erker family through their extraordinary 141 year history.
“The Saint Louis Galleria is the premier shopping destination in Saint Louis where the top stores are located,” Jack Erker III told Eyestylist. “The customers are from many demographics and come from all over to shop with us. Our focus is the hard-to-get-quality boutique brands including two of our own, Erker’s 1879 and NW77th.”
Alongside an eclectic range of collections by Barton Perreira, Dita, Cazal, Tom Ford and Jacques Marie Mage, the Erker’s 1879 collection represents an exclusive reference to the local legacy of a company that has served its community through generations. “Since the brand has deep roots, it resonates very well within the local market,” says Erker. “Many customers travel all over and see our brand in other markets as well and this lends to deep credibility within our local market. The focus of the store is primarily our brands, and are supplemented with other niches of brands that go well with our own.”
The decoration and design of the interior is classical with a luxurious orientation in line with the high-end feel of the St Louis Galleria, with clear, eye-catching branding.
“Our brand is well known in our market and our customers still yearn for a brick and mortar store to give the service to the customers that they are used to receiving from us,” says Jack Erker when we asked about the key benefits of the store, even in the current climate. “The traffic in the mall allows us to have a larger reach to continue to grow the brand within the region. The local community is thrilled for us to be growing and it adds momentum internally within our family (employees).”
About Erker’s: Describing itself as the first optical laboratory west of the Mississippi River, Erker’s was founded in 1879 by A.P. Erker and brother, August. Today the company is led by the great-grandson Jack Jr. with his two sons, Jack III and Tony. Erker’s is one of the oldest eyewear establishments in the US with the rare claim that it is still owned by members of founding family. The family’s own extensive eyewear collection, Erker’s 1879 can be viewed directly at www.erkers1879.com. For additional information visit www.studiooptyx.com
New interior at The Purists Club in Ho Chi Minh City champions luxury and handcrafted eyewear design
Niche accessories specialists The Purists Club in Vietnam have renovated their Ho Chi Minh boutique to add “exclusivity and a niche environment” for the presentation of its extensive luxury eyewear brands. Currently The Purists Club own two stores (in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) and stock a selection of global eyewear brands including Kuboraum, Tavat Eyewear, Rigards, Chrome Hearts and Matsuda.
Created as a space to welcome their dearest customers and friends, with a warm and engaging atmosphere to bring people together, the new interior space has a vintage-inspired design concept. “We found a vintage boutique style is ideal to connect people together,” said Tung Duy Nguyen, “a style that evokes nostalgia, and that has a lasting quality in a world that gradually becomes flashy…people can feel at home here, sitting and talking to strangers like members of their family, and sharing stories with each other.”
Asked about the Vietnamese market, Nguyen told Eyestylist that customers in Vietnam today are loyal to brands, they are well informed and open to what is new and different. “In our city we have around 10-20 ’boutique’ fashion and style stores, stocking big brands as well as niche quality labels like NYC perfumery, Le Labo Lab.” At The Purists Club, customers can order a made-to-measure suit as well as selecting eyewear or a watch. “This means that we have customers who engage and visit more than 3 times for a fitting; they therefore have an excellent chance to have a closer look at our eyewear collections and learn about craftsmanship and the work that goes into a pair of our bespoke horn frames. By offering these services together, we have created a dynamic and lively atelier environment in our city; the customer feels comfortable and enjoys the time they share with us, and this means they are happy to spend time with us and pay us visits when they want, irrespective of their product needs.”
The new store – operated by Hai Au Tran, with Tung Duy Nguyen, is located at Villa 37 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. www.thepuristsclub.com
A boutique independent retail chain with 85 years in optics
An optician with an impressive heritage, S. R. Gopal Rao is a family business founded in 1936 and passed down through generations. Since 1982, the business, which remains in the same location on N.R.Road since it was opened in 1936, is directed by Hemanth and Uma Manay and focuses on an ever expanding range of high class and luxury eyewear collections, always presented in respect of the original philosophy of the family, with strict principles of trust and care.
“Dedication to accuracy, focus on customer needs and a holistic approach to the purchase of prescription spectacles, lenses, sunglasses and other eye-wear accessories…”
Today the stores in the chain sell a wide range of eyewear collections which include independent collections from Cutler and Gross, LINDBERG, Silhouette and Maui Jim.
“India is a large country with people from all walks of life, varied personalities and levels of exposure,” stated Hemanth Manay- CEO, S.R.Gopal Rao Opticians & Optometrists, when we asked about the desirability of independent collections in India. “Some prefer sleek, minimalist frames like LINDBERG, others choose thick, statement eyepieces like Cutler and Gross. There are many who believe in buying eyewear with a purpose and that’s where brands like Modo eyewear come in. While LINDBERG is well known in India since it has had its presence in the country for over 15 years, other brands are yet to make a mark.”
Asked about their experiences in the pandemic at the present time, the team told us that they have adapted their stores to meet safety/hygiene requirements and increased phone and online communications to ensure those who cannot visit are well served from the comfort of their home.
The S. R. Gopal Rao Opticians flagship store is located on N.R.Road. A second store is open on Jayanagar & Residency Road and a third in Jayanagar (Bangalore). Find out more: https://www.srgopalrao.co/
A new ‘Framed Opticians’ has opened this month in Chorlton in the UK featuring a selection of fresh independent collections. Beech Road in Chorlton (Manchester) provided an exciting, long-awaited opportunity for the independent optical retailer to expand with the opening of its third shop. The area offers a wealth of like minded, independent and ethical business, and a thriving community, committed to supporting small businesses and ‘shopping small’. It’s also full of fashion-aware individuals, who see their eyewear as an accessory through which they can express their style.
The store has a brand new, minimal design combining natural wood textures, with graphic lines and muted colours of grey and terracotta. With focus on eyewear styling, the staff have many years of experience under their belt; whether customers visit knowing exactly what they want, feel stuck in a stylerut, or need guidance on what suits them, the team are on hand to help them choose something that fits perfectly, suiting their style and personality, and most importantly, something enjoyable to wear. The boutique is currently stocking independent brands like Moscot, Booth&Bruce, and some special, colourful design lines such as FACE A FACE.
All customers require is an up-to-date prescription, and one of the shop’s optical experts will guide them in the correct lens and eyewear choices. Through the pandemic and current restrictions, the shop is open for customers “by appointment” and for passers-by in restricted numbers. Framed Opticians has two other branches in London (Angel) and central Manchester (King Street). Framed Opticians, 113 Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 9EQFind out more:www.framedopticians.co.uk
Amsterdam-based eyewear label Suzy Glam has taken a temporary pop-up store in Rotterdam, in the Pannekoekstraat, next door to Blick Brillen, with whom the Suzy Glam brand has a close and fruitful relationship. The design of the shop is described as “a true mixture of Suzy Glam Amsterdam and blick brillen Rotterdam”. Designer Susanne Klemm of Suzy Glam wanted to integrate their ‘Amsterdam chic’ with the ‘Rotterdam laid-back coolness’.
Suzy Glam’s Amsterdam store is located in Roelof Hartstraat 32HS. The shop is a showroom for the handmade eyewear collection, which has become synonymous with good taste and a creative, sculptural style with a colour palette that is inspired by retro design, while striking a new mood that is confident, chic and contemporary. The temporary store can be visited during the regular opening hours of blick brillen at Pannekoekstraat 35A 3011 LC Rotterdam.www.blickbrillen.com / www.suzyglam.com
Curated with exceptional care and attention, the distinguished family-run optical boutique Kitschenberg in Munich, has been providing an eyecare service and an extraordinarily refined selection of eyewear to a very specific community of frame wearers – for more than 20 years. Stocking over 80% panto and round glasses shapes, owners Andreas Kitschenberg and his wife Steffi choose every piece themselves; with an unprecedented knowledge of the highest-quality labels and an appreciation of the craftsmanship and finesse of the materials – Andreas says they have identical taste for glasses – the couple go out of their way to explore new makers and designers with individual, covetable designs from around the world.
The shop itself is something of a destination and perfectly encompasses the beauty and refinement of the selection of eyewear inside. Andreas explained to us the redesign: “Last summer, the time had come for something new and we completely renovated the shop. The 29 square meter shop has a 4 meter high ceiling and is covered with walnut wood. The lines are very angular, the inner shape is like a cube – a clear contrast to our otherwise round glasses. We worked with interior designer Stephanie Thatenhorst – and as you might imagine we have had a lot of compliments for the design of such a small yet striking space.”
Labels currently featured here include TVR from Japan, Lunettes Alf from France, and Savile Row from the UK. “These are glasses with a soul, just as we like it; glasses that stand out from the crowd, handcrafted with absolutely meticulous attention down to the smallest details…”
The Kitschenbergs have also added their own small acetate collection – Kitschenberg acetate – and a luxurious buffalo horn series – Kitschenberg Horn. “All of the styles are of course Pantos,” says Andreas, with delight.
At Kitschenberg everything is by appointment, it has always been that way, allowing a more personal fitting and selection of a frame. “We are located in a very beautiful part of Munich, between the old town and the Isar river. There are good restaurants here, but no other shops. We don’t have walk-in customers…everyone is coming to us very specifically and often they have been coming back time and again for years.”
Owner Laurent Schnitzler presents a bright, light elegant boutique in the historic centre of Nîmes (France)
Lunetterie Laurent opened on 11th May 2020, when lockdown ended in France and shops including optical boutiques were allowed to welcome customers back in store. The refined tasteful interior boasts exposed stone, mixed with a palette of minimal white, dark indigo and fittings in light, natural wood. “All our design details, colours and furniture have been coordinated by my wife and I personally,” says Laurent. “We have worked on the presentation of the interior since January. Through lockdown – with unexpected time on our hands – we were working in the store ourselves, painting, decorating and preparing for our opening.”
Located in the historic centre, with an old, stone facade decorated with hanging baskets, the shop has focused on offering handmade collections and brands are selected on the basis of quality, artisan production and exclusive provenance, with a particular focus on local French production. “We only offer very fine materials – quality acetate, titanium, buffalo horn, shells, gold and wood. We are most interested in eco-friendly, organic and sustainable materials and of course a unique and interesting style of design.” Customers tend to be around 30+ years old, with some families and children, catered to with specialist brands like Very French Gangsters.
For adults, the store stocks Dokomotto, Vuillet Vega, Ovvo optics, SALT. Optics, Kley’s eyewear, Meg eyewear, Gaston eyewear, Dick Moby, Frod’s, Lesca, Friendly Frenchy, and Maui Jim.
We asked Laurent how things have been particularly for the opening with new regulations after lockdown. He told us: “We have adapted. To receive our customers with care we have arranged to have one door as an entrance and one for an exit. Of course we are wearing masks and we use anti-bacterial gel widely, and after every customer visit. We have become used to washing our glasses with soap and water after each fitting. Our interior has space enough so that we can welcome 3 customers in the shop at the same time and easily observe social distancing.”
Lunetterie Laurent, 3 Rue de la Trésorerie, 30000 Nîmes, France
The Belgian watches and eyewear brand has new opened its new architect-designed flagship store in the heart of its home town of Antwerp. The design is by Berlin-based architectural studio AAS Gonzalez Haase. Keeping the interplay between light and architecture at the forefront of their designs, AAS have gained an established reputation for their innovative spatial concepts. Their work includes major artwork installations, luxury retail interiors, residential extensions and conversions for industrial and art-related spaces. Some of their best noted works include the Marta Herford Museum, the redesign of the Balenciaga stores and the Andreas Murkudis Berlin store.
For KOMONO in Antwerp, AAS emphasised their spatial language by creating a clear gallery in which the eyewear, watches and related product takes centre stage. A reduced palette of materials combined with smart use of space focuses on transmitting the light and creates an airy visual effect. From translucent to opalescent, the materials are assembled in simple and repetitive display shapes to avoid any unnecessary details. Large mirrors are separated from the main displays and convert into the large glass windows so that light naturally flows into the space and is diffracted among the displays. Bright horizontally placed ceiling lights accentuate the goods presented and further enhance this concept of spaciousness.
Götti Switzerland has opened its second store in Switzerland, in collaboration with a leading optician – Ramstein Optik. The elegant minimal “space” has been conceived for the presentation of the entire series of Götti Switzerland collections, and its broad choice of designs and materials, from natural horn to titanium and state-of-the-art 3d printed eyewear.
The minimal bright white interior design concept was created by Götti Switzerland and executed by local partners in Basel. In addition to the spacious display wall, which presents the products with wonderfully enhanced light, allowing customers to explore the collections with ease, the focal point of the new boutique is a large decorative chandelier of glass spheres and over 400 acetate frames which takes pride of place at the service counter.
“The second Götti brand store fulfills a longstanding dream,“ according to Sven Götti. “We found the perfect partner with Ramstein Optik. The basis for such a close collaboration has to be a specialty store, and a team acquainted with the collection for many years that uncompromisingly identifies with the brand.” Find out more at www.gotti.chBy Clodagh Norton
Interior design collaboration with Stephanie Thatenhorst
Mykita opens its third shop in Germany in central Munich, close to Maximilianstraße at Am Kosttor 3. A historic listed corner location formerly used as a gallery space, the shop presents the design language and handcrafted eyewear collections from MYKITA in a welcoming luxury atmosphere where historical elements are offset with one-off furnishings and contemporary design accents.
In a different vein from the typical sleek, minimalist tradition of other MYKITA stores, the interior design was a collaborative effort between the Berlin eyewear maker and local architect office Stephanie Thatenhorst: behind the restored façade of the historical 19th century building, oversized arched windows and doorways set a grand tone followed up by the use of luxurious materials, including marble surfaces, bronze mirrors, glass lights and custom-built furniture pieces from Thatenhorst.
Inside, the eyewear collections are extensive, and include the designer collaborations with Maison Margiela, Helmut Lang and Bernhard Willhelm. A Zeiss Vision Center provides comprehensive optical services and the opportunity for a customised optical profile, to perfectly adapt the frame and lens to each customer’s face. MYKITA Shop Munich, Am Kosttor 3, 80331 Munich, Germany – www.mykita.com
A design-focused independent eyewear boutique, north of Dundee
“We do things differently here,” says Gary Clelland in his Instagram profile @clelland_and_co. The pictures posted on the account show just how far the store has come in a short space of time. Clelland bought the optical shop in February 2018 completely transforming it from a tired, old-fashioned traditional shop with run-of-the-mill frames into a treasure trove of modern independent eyewear, sourced from around the world. Above: a 1950s wood haberdashery cabinet – repurposed for storing the eyewear, takes pride of place in the shop
“I went to Silmo for the first time in 2017,” Gary Clelland told Eyestylist, “and I was blown away by the variety and quality of niche eyewear available, I knew then I had to bring some of that to Montrose.” In 2019, Clelland introduced Gotti Switzerland and SALT. Optics to the store and began a process of transformation which culminated in a wonderful redesign with the assistance of the stylist Pamela Taylor (@Pam_picks) from Aberdeen.
“For the interior, I didn’t want the shop to look like every other optician’s. Scotland is awash with ‘normal’ optical shops, and not many practices are brave enough to create a different experience for their customers.” The work on the refit was completed in February 2020, and by that time, more new collections had been selected for the store, including theo, Anne & Valentin and Lowercase, following buying trips to Opti Munich and 100% in London.
“Fast forward 2 years from the beginning and we are now selling far more stylish eyewear with much better lenses,” says Gary. “Our retail environment has been completely transformed with a view to improving the customer experience. From lighting, to paint colours, to the materials used on the seating, it has all been done to help the customer feel relaxed and at home. We now work with far less suppliers but have more depth in each collection. I am now confident that we can bring our clients a fantastic selection from some of the best eyewear manufacturers from around the globe. Anyway why not, we think our customers deserve it!”
Clelland & Co is offering a unique selection of over 450 frames including Rolf Spectacles (Austria), Anne & Valentin (France), Bruno Chaussignand (France), Gotti (Switzerland), la eyeworks (LA), Lowercase (NYC), THEO (Antwerp) and SALT. Optics (California). For more information visit www.clellandandco.com
In an exclusive brand partnership the luxury Tasoni boutiques (Zurich, Switzerland) are releasing three glamorous Lapima sun models with a chic collab “Lapima + Tasoni” logo, discreetly appearing on the inside of the temple. The Brazilian SS2020 sunglasses collection (including models Teresa, Andrea and Joca) is the latest addition at the much-admired Swiss fashion stores which specialise in luxury brands and emerging designers for men and women, curated by sisters Taya and Tary Sawiris – and sourced across the globe. Above: SS2020 Lapima: the model wears model Teresa in mint. The frame has a bold square shape, inspired by 1960s retro sunglasses.
The Andrea, a statement frame in the release, is a unisex piece inspired by scuba goggles, with the distinctive oversized shape based on the aviator. The colours of the shades are inspired by the ocean, ranging from delicate tones of mint, one of our favourite tones of the summer collections, and caramel alongside bold cherry and dark olive green (see Andrea above).
About the brand – Launched by Gisela and Gustavo Assis in 2016, Lapima is based on Brazilian design, with geometriclines that play with light and shadow in frames produced principally in Italian acetate. With backgrounds in dance and sport, the founders are both inspired by movement and aesthetic rigour, which set the path for creating the essence of a novel artisan sunglasses collection. The label is based on and continues to expand through constant experimentation, and proposes pieces which “frame the face” while still evoking a sharp image, filled with contemporary attitude. All Lapima frames are manufactured by artisans in São Paulo, Brazil.
Lapima sunglasses are available at Tasoni, St. Peterstrasse 1, 8001 Zurich (Switzerland) and branches including The Chedi Andermatt. For more information visit www.tasoni.com and www.lapima.com
Julia Gogosha’s Echo Park flagship is just 2 years old. She describes it with a twinkle in her eye. “A Tetris cathedral artspace playground is how I imagined it…with different sources of inspiration, including artists, sculptors and works of art for which I am passionate.”
A minimal colour palette, injected with saturated tones of lilac, coral and mint, contributes to a bold deliberately architectural interior with the wow factor, designed with precision to house one of the most carefully curated selections of eyewear by internationally acclaimed independent designers. A variety of sunglass frames are displayed, intentionally visible, demonstrating their colour, shape and character and inviting customers to view them like works of art, and try them on. While the optical frames are housed in custom flat file/bleacher seating hybrid sculptural furniture cladded in speckled playground rubber. The space has been designed to include a state-of-the-art in-house workshop. Above: Julia Gogosha, Gogosha Optique – photo by Stephen Schauer
Curated with “the best of each category”, the boutique offers a mix of design-focused core collections such as theo and Anne & Valentin, and design brands offering a variation of price points including Kaleos from Barcelona. Two internationally successful homegrown collections – Ahlem and JacquesMarieMage – are represented alongside some of the most avantgarde designers of the moment, Rigards from Hong Kong, Masahiro Marayuma from Japan and Kuboraum from Berlin. Julia is also innovative in collaborations and events with designers and labels bringing where she can a fresh slant to how she presents them to her customers. Launching for Spring, she has a new project underway with Dom Vetro, an LA label specializing in made-to-order and fully customizable frames – and more collaborative concepts are coming soon.
For the current unprecedented situation, as the Coronavirus crisis affects businesses globally, we also talked about what this has entailed so far. In March, Gogosha was open for daily emergencies with one member of staff available in store to fulfil orders and attend to immediate needs such as repairs. The entire Gogosha team have also been providing virtual fittings during the lockdown from home. “We’ve been doing distance fitting appointments intuitively for years, mainly for longstanding clients who might have moved out of the area,” says Julia. “We will continue to adapt and streamline our services to deliver glasses right to the customer’s door. We consider vision essential and will continue to creatively pivot to best service our clients’ vision needs virtually and with a greater appreciation and greater focus on connection and conversation in a time of separation for the safety of humanity.”
An eyewear boutique setting trends in Krakow, Poland
A new generation of independent optical retailers is appearing in Poland, as young opticians develop a curiosity and passion for specialising in unique brands. In Krakow, Optyk Panski’s owner Pawel Szpytma established a new style of store in 2016, having taken over the family optical business in 2011. In 2019 the boutique which had moved to a location near Kazimierz and Podgorze, an historic, significant part of Krakow was developed with a contemporary architectural interior and a roster of exciting brands, which started with Tavat (from Italy) and AM Eyewear (from Australia).
Eyestylist met Pawel Szpytma in Munich in January, and we asked him what had inspired him to open a shop of this calibre: “I was always curious for something new. I really wanted to step up my knowledge and skills. After visiting international optical fairs and discovering many independent eyewear brands, I realized how much more there is to do. When it came to the design of the shop, the idea was to mix a loft look with modern design details. I wanted to create a place with a luxury touch where you can also feel comfortable and at ease. I did a few of the finishing touches myself – I wanted to have this personal bond with the place.”
Today alongside Tavat and AM, which have become hugely popular with local Krakow customers, the shop stocks Cazal, SALT. Optics, Matsuda, Moscot and Lesca. “I am still gaining knowledge all the time working closely with brands I admire,” says Pawel. “They have taught me a lot about production and materials. Quality always was important to me and always will be.”
Optyk Pański is located at sw. Kingi 8, Krakow Poland. The name of the shop represents a play on words. It means also “your” and “royal, manor” – representing a place where customer can experience a service above the normal level. Optyk Pański has also become known for their after hours openings for customers and events including exhibitions and Whisky tastings.www.optykpanski.pl
The independent store is showing an exhibition by talented young watercolorist, Pauline Bachel
‘Portraits v Self-Portraits’ is an exhibition created especially for the independent eyewear boutique, Les Belles Lunettes – located in Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean close to Madagascar. As admirers of the subtle and unique work of the artist, Les Belles Lunettes has selected Bachel as the muse and face of their new campaign. “We then asked her to interpret the images in the campaign in her own style,” explain Karine Chane Yin and Patrice Fuma Courtis, art directors for Les Belles Lunettes, who currently produce 4 campaigns for the store each year. “Portraits v Self-Portraits is a two-tiered experience for the artist : she is both the subject of a series of portrait photos, and then through the projection of her interior world in the form of self-portraits created after we had shot the campaign photos.” Art Direction / Photography / Styling : @kplusp_art_direction – (the works of art featured in the exhibition are available to purchase.)
Les Belles Lunettes is located in St Pierre, Réunion and stocks a selection of fine eyewear brands including Gamine NYC, Anne et Valentin, theo and Andy Wolf. Two further stores are in planning and will open on the island in the near future.
About the artist: Pauline Bachel studied applied Arts and Textile Design at the Lycee Ambroise Vollard, St Pierre, Réunion. Her first exhibition at ‘Cafe Social Club’ launched her career as an illustrator/artist and brought her recognition – with clients who include Apple. Inspired by the Creole culture, simple pleasures and travel, her beautiful works of art embody an idyllic tropical picture of nature with subtle references to a deeply personal focus on femininity.
Constrasting materiality with a refined finish at new practice, designed by Studio Edwards
Eyescan, Melbourne opens its new architect-designed store just next door to its well-known location on Toorak Road. The design, by award-winning practice Studio Edwards, presents an immersive and refined experience for the customer with a bold display of more than 300 frames throughout the distinguished contemporary retail space.
The interior makes use of existing raw brick work walls – in white – revealed to contrast with floating shelving. Blackened raw steel and walnut cabinetry form functional vertical frames supporting the shelves and highlight specific zones within the store. A walnut island display bench adds focus to the front of the store while to the rear, the ceiling is subtly angled downwards to define the waiting area and consulting rooms.
Eyescan offers a unique mix of fine eyewear brands ranging from the avantgarde styles by Lool Eyewear (Barcelona) to fine classics such as Persol, Moscot, Maui Jim and Garrett Leight. The Eyescan team is lead by Dr Harry Unger, ophthalmologist and Dr Natalie Savin, optometrist.
Sitting among other different and unique shops and stores in an authentic Parisian arcade boasting an impressive collection of vintage designer glasses; from statement Jean Paul Gaultier’s to genuine Ray-Bans – Pour Vos Beaux Yeux may only be equated to a pot of gold for eyewear enthusiasts – one of both luxury and incredibly unique vintage designs, just waiting to be discovered. Above: interior of the Paris store, run by Alexis Bouchara, + owned by Charles Mosa – expect to find vintage frames by Cazal, Ray-Ban, Sol-Amor, Alain Mikli, Vuarnet and Christian Dior.
The interior is small and quaint with four dark wood chairs lining the off-white wall on retro lavender, cream, teal and green patterned – almost, but not quite ‘gaudy’ floor tiles that enhance the old-time feel. A somewhat modern spin on this antiquity comes from the black and white photo collage of icons of the past: Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and even Ringo Starr – to name a few.
The boutique beautifully unites the antique and vintage eras of glamour with the vibrance and electricity of modern design, and the range of eyewear sold is no different. The oldest pair of glasses for sale dates back to 1890 – the frame comprises two simple bronze wire-like circles, held together by a tiny bridge, with no arms and a pair of pinching nose pads; the plethora of vintage designer pieces close the gap from ancient to new – with Lunettes Alf taking principle place as one of the most current artisan eyewear collections available in the store.
Alf is a niche French-born eyewear label owned and made by two brothers. They currently have a range of 6 types of acetate frames available in 5 colours as well as a choice of 4 shades of photochromic lenses or ophthalmic lenses – the concept allows for each client to make their chosen pair of glasses unique and personal to them, but certain to be consistent in quality of wear and design.
This boutique is a must visit for vintage lovers, connoisseurs of antiquity, and infatuates of fashion as well as anyone in between: an optical ‘match’ for any and every suitor is guaranteed in this haven of unique and curated eyewear. For more information visit the store at 10 Passage du Grand Cerf, 75002 Paris, France.http://www.pourvosbeauxyeux.com/
For further details about Lunettes Alf visit www.lunettes-alf.comReview by Victoria G. L. Brunton in Paris for Eyestylist.com
Situated in the heart of the 3rd arrondissement – an area of Paris stretching from Le Marais to République known for its fresh, vibrant and consistent embracing of diversity and innovation, lies a special address in the growing world of sustainable fashion in Paris – the 100% circular and ecologically friendly brand store, Waiting for the Sun.
Like the area in which it is so justly located, this boutique is as current and ‘on trend’ as they come. A clear glass shopfront with incredibly ‘instagrammable’ shrubbery and plants combined with a quaint café serving organic tea and juices lure in passers by.
The interior of the shop is clean-cut, using natural wood and modern whites without being over clinical – a balance between comfort and professionalism and an apt setting for the brands evolving and varied collection of eyewear displayed around the store. To the right of the open-plan boutique is an island covered in a candy-like display of optical treats; the sunglasses and optical frames are laid out across this oasis and on the surrounding natural wood side-boarding along the white concrete walls, as well as being dotted across glass panels in the shopfront of the store amongst the micro-rainforest display. The use of natural materials is intrinsically important in the immersive ‘story telling’ layout of the brand’s pieces from the earliest wooden models to the latest eco-friendly acetate and metal “beta steel” and recycled frame selection.
The essence of the brand is encapsulated in this small, well laid out space. If you happen to be wandering around Paris and find yourself in need of an eye test or an update to your eyewear, perhaps an organic tea or even a quiet place to escape the bustling Parisian streets – look no further than Waiting for the Sun.
Waiting for the Sun has released their new BASE collection for SS2020. The line is dedicated to young people with focus on sustainable materials including recycled steel at an affordable price. For more details visit www.waitingforthesun.fr. Review by Victoria G. L. Brunton in Paris for Eyestylist.com.
Opened in 2007, the exquisite Tokyo store offers an impressive architect-designed interior and one of the widest selections of frame collections we’ve ever seen.
Decora, Tokyo is located close to Tokyo Station in a tasteful shopping centre inside the Shin-Marunouchi Building. Their name means “deconstruction” – and refers to their focus on individuality and service “to help pick the frame most suited to your desire and needs.” Huge glass windows welcome the passer-by, who can see straight inside to the back of the store and its light, minimal interior.
The wide choice of frames available is mainly not out on display. Shop manager Takayuki Okabe, told us that like European stores, Decora has been designed like this to buck the trend in Japan and put greater importance on the personal consultancy with the customer, before the eyewear is picked out – in a peaceful and pleasurable atmosphere.
What is highlighted, is on show in architectural displays behind the main area of the shop, arranged with care and subtlety, honing in on the designs and shapes and less focus on bright colour or showy styles. The extensive choice of well known and lesser known brands from Japan available here include Yellows Plus, Yuichi Toyama, and the elegant Propo Design collection; European brands represented include LINDBERG from Denmark, Mykita from Germany and from LA, Jacques Marie Mage and Ahlem. Shapes like the classic round metal rims and the Boston, Panto and 3P shapes extend across the displays of eyewear to a beautiful, mysterious chest containing examples of rare vintage spectacles. The distinctive Diffuser Tokyo silver and leather glasses holders and accessories – the ideal accessory match for these luxurious frames – take pride of place in the window presentations of the shop.
For those who would like to see an example of one of the finest independent stores in Japan, Decora is a haven of minimalism and luxury style while maintaining an unpretentious and friendly atmosphere. It’s a rare example of a retail environment in which to choose a unique timeless pair of spectacles in the hands of experts with a deep knowledge of the history and culture of eyewear and its most directional and refined representative collections of today.
Shinmaru Building 2F, 1-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-Ku – www.glasses-co.jp Decora owns a second store in Kobe, Japan. The store stocks similar brands including Mykita, Yuichi Toyama and Native Sons. Special thanks to Takayuki Okabe, Decora and Masaki Hirose, Diffuser Tokyo.
Auerbach & Steele have moved to a new location, a few doors down, at 123 Kings Road, London
The prestigious optical store on London’s fashionable Kings Road – Auerbach & Steele – has moved to a state-of-the-art 3 storey architect-designed retail space just a few doors down from its original location.
Visible from the street, a vast minimal contemporary open space at ground level is now home to one of the UK’s most comprehensive and diverse selections of fine independent eyewear collections for which the practice has become a trendsetter and point of reference.
Distributed through the basement and two further floors beyond the main retail space, the practice also offers 2 private consulting rooms for eye testing and styling appointments, its own lens lab and one of the UK’s most unique dedicated spaces for beautiful, colorful kid’s eyewear. In line with its reputation for clinical excellence, the new location is fitted with cutting edge testing equipment, for the most comprehensive eye examination.
Curated by Gail Steele and a long-serving team of optics and design experts, the eyewear collections at Auerbach & Steele offer something for everyone including minimal design labels from Scandinavia, colorful British eyewear classics, exciting 3D printed frames and the most highly regarded avant-garde and statement eyewear from cities like Berlin and Zurich.
Gail Steele told Eyestylist: “Since we opened Auerbach & Steele in 1996, I have been dedicated to marrying absolute clinical and technical excellence alongside the dispensing of ever changing beautiful, cool and unusual frames which we source, and often have made, from around the world. We are thrilled to now be able to offer our special service from our beautiful new luxurious space spread across four floors.” Visit Auerbach & Steele at 123, King’s Road, London, SW3www.auerbach-steele.com CN
Industrial elements, custom-designed furniture, and colour and texture inspired by the Thai capital. A new MYKITA store has opened its doors in Bangkok, developed by the in-house architectural team at the German design house. Located in the Sindhorn village development in the Pathum Wan district, the shop defines the brand’s high-tech aesthetic in an open, minimal space with distinctive mirrored walls and delicate green foliage.
The ground-level space has the familiar white interior and wall. Pale green touches are added on the expanded metal ceiling, eyewear storage trolleys and the metal detailing on the oak furniture. On approaching the shop, the entrance to the in-store optical lab is visible through floor-to-ceiling glass front, providing a showcase for the handcraft and high technology that defines MYKITA’s Modern Manufactory.
MYKITA Bangkok stocks the full collection of optical frames and sunglasses including the designer collaborations with Bernhard Willhelm and Maison Margiela. A Zeiss Vision Center provides comprehensive vision care. Sindhorn Village (Room C115/2), Soi Langsuan, 10330 Bangkokwww.mykita.com
Denmark’s first sustainable optician shop is now open
The Danish eyewear label Monkeyglasses has opened a flagship store in Denmark, as they celebrate 10 years in eyewear – placing complete focus on sustainability.
“We have created a flagship store where we can show the full potential of the market for sustainable products,” says Mai-britt Seaton, CEO & Designer. “In the store, our guests can experience a wide selection of sustainable products: our frame designs in all the available colours, Zero Waste accessories made from surplus materials from our eyewear production, eco-friendly contact lenses and eyeglass washing kits with organic coconut soap and hand-tied washing brush. Our idea was to bring together a complete universe where environmental concerns are a given.”
The furniture in the shop is second-hand or has been built by hand by the Monkeyglasses team. The interior style is inspired by classic Danish mid-century modern with dark woods and sturdy metals, finished with a high level of craftsmanship. Modern touches come in the form of upcycled materials such as the scrap iron used for the counter and the former backyard gate (pictured above), repurposed for the design-office partition wall, preserving its patina, aged over many years by the Danish weather. For more information about the brand and the new store visit www.monkeyglasses.comPhotography by Robertsosis.dk – CN
The pretty town of Market Harborough has become home to one of England’s most beautifully restored optical boutiques in an historic 3-story townhouse. Statement colours, extraordinary attention to design details, the reintroduction of heritage features and a warm and elegant atmosphere: the renovation and refurbishment of Clarke & Roskrow took nearly 16 months from start to finish, and resulted in a stylish contemporary practice that rivals some of the UK’s most successful contemporary optical retail spaces.
An optician’s since 1974, Clarke & Roskrow, which the Clarke family bought in 2014, had an old-fashioned appearance, despite the historic building in which it was located. Anthony Clarke remembers his first ideas on how to develop it and create something quite new. “The practice was tired and the building was being under utilised, operating from two rooms on the ground floor. I had an idea in my mind of how it could be transformed; something akin to a small, luxury boutique hotel, full of “period features” but with a modern and slightly quirky twist over several floors. I wanted the new space to take inspiration from its heritage whilst simultaneously giving a clear indication of our new forward-thinking path.”
“I had to “think out of the box” to get 93feet interested in our project,” he says, on finding the right partners for the work, often a particularly challenging stage in a project of this scale. “I sent them a video of me and the interior, recorded on my iphone. The next day I got a call from their designer Jim Butterell. The rest, as they say, is history!”
The restoration project and rebranding took place simultaneously. “For the building work, we approached several local building/construction firms. James Barby of Rockingham Construction had the “can-do” attitude and proven track-record of high-end finishes that we were looking for. 93feet understood what we were trying to achieve with the interior of the building and our “brand identity”, whilst Rockingham Construction were able to bring the design element to life, remaining true to the original design brief.”
The rooms are painted in bold yet warm heritage-inspired tones and feature an array of restored fittings from fireplaces to Victorian style ceiling coving, picture rails and authentic reclaimed wooden flooring. Contemporary Danish furniture is mixed with custom built pieces, designed and made by 93. Some eye-catching light fittings and works of art create an added finesse to each room where the luxury eyewear is displayed for customers to try on.
“I wanted an environment that gave clients an experience, something memorable and quite different from a traditional optician’s. I am very pleased about the response that we have had from clients, the overwhelming majority of whom are thrilled with the transformation; of course I’m also delighted that our project won the Federation of Master Builders Award (Commercial Project, Midlands – June 2019).”
Today, focus is placed on exceptional eye care and a handpicked selection of independent eyewear brands, mixing well-known names with emerging labels. The selection this season includes LINDBERG, Maui Jim, Anne+Valentin, Leisure Society and the iconic eyewear collection from l.a. Eyeworks. Anthony Clarke takes the view that his clients deserve the very best choice in interesting, colourful independent frames, right on their doorstep.
“If you want to sell beautiful and luxurious eyewear whether in a large city or small market town, you have to have an environment that reflects that,” says the owner. “The general public tend to assume that you’re a competent clinician, but we’re also judged on the quality of the products that we sell and increasingly, the experience that goes with it.”
18 Church Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7AA – For further information about the independent eyewear specialists Clarke & Roskrow visit www.clarkeandroskrow.co.uk Photography by Adam Fairclough. CN
History permeates the French port city of Rouen on the River Seine. Hero and martyr Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in Rouen in 1431; Edward IV of England (1442-1483) was born there, as was the novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821), and François Hollande, former President of France (2012-2017), and Claude Monet painted the Rouen Cathedral Series in the 1890’s while visiting there. Now French optical brand Lafont is creating a new and exciting history of its own – with a charming, inspiring boutique in Rouen’s historical Old Town.
The Rouen boutique is the first shop outside Paris for the Lafont family-owned business. Optician Fatima Deflinne explained: “There is a family history of friendship between the Lafont family and the previous owner of this shop, and when he was ready to sell, he approached Philippe Lafont. The shop is over one hundred years old, and has always been an optical boutique.” Ultra chic colourations of aubergine and olive green harmonise elegantly in the shop, located within a three-minute walk of the acclaimed Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen, plus intriguing shops and cafés. The complete range of Lafont’s diversified eyewear designs for men, women and children are on display. A specific area for children has been carefully allocated where they can play with toys or use colouring books, while also trying on the latest immensely desirable children’s frames.
The shop participates and supports city events, the most prominent activity being the International Rouen Armada that takes place in June every year. This is a major robust celebration on the River Seine, where the finest and beloved sailing ships arrive from all over the world to cruise and navigate along La Seine from Rouen to Le Havre. This year, as a tribute to the genuine love story between the city, the world of sailing and Maison Lafont, the Lafont Parisian workshop created a striking design to be sold exclusively in the boutique. The graceful, navy blue Armada frame is accented with a carved sailboat above the contemporary frame top.
Everything in the Lafont Boutique is personalised, and that includes customised, handwritten invitations that are sent to customers to experience and appreciate new collections. “We only use real invitations that are sent in the post,” explained Deflinne, “and visitors are welcomed with a glass of champagne. Rouen is really a community and everybody knows everybody.”
For Lafont, authenticity is linked to the credibility of the designs handmade in France, which have been awarded the distinguished certification ‘Origine France Garantie.’ For more information on Lafont products and shops, visit www.lafont.com JG
“My philosophy toward eyewear is simple: longevity and versatility are key”, says Coyote DeGroot. “I want the frame to last, from both from a structural and stylistic standpoint. The frame must complement, not overwhelm, the wearer. And it should also be suitable for all occasions, weddings, job interviews, bachelor parties, funerals….”
Lab Rabbit Optics, located by Wicker Park in Chicago, opened nearly 9 years ago. Today, Coyote sells a wide selection of independent collections, from classics like Randolph Engineering to avantgarde designers from Japan. “My customer base is very diverse in terms of both lifestyle and age,” he told Eyestylist. “I make eyeglasses for attorneys, musicians, television and film producers, bike messengers, retirees, bartenders, professors, performance artists, doctors, deviants, and over-achievers. Every day is a surprise.”
The development of an own label came naturally, owing to a serious passion and interest in design. “My own frames are designed in-house and handmade in Japan in limited quantities of 20-80 pieces per colour. The collection is comprised of nine different models, with another two in production. They have unusually sturdy hinges, and lots of titanium, along with Mazzucchelli and Takiron acetates. I try to offer something different in terms of the design, and I experiment constantly. My customers really like having access to unique, limited edition frames, from a Chicago-based brand. I’m now preparing for the frames to go into select optical shops outside Chicago.”
Asked about the attitude of young people toward independent labels in Chicago, Coyote is realistic but he sees a trend that suits his style. “I think buying cheap, fast eyewear via the internet is a phase that a lot of consumers go though. Many of my customers have purchased glasses from Warby Parker or Zenni in the past, and now they’re ready to invest in something better: cool handmade frames, more optically precise lenses, and attentive, personal service. My shop definitely does NOT look like the average optical shop that most people grew up visiting, but it’s growing in popularity among the adventurous, and among those who recognize the lasting value of good quality products and service.” For more information visit: www.labrabbit.comCN
Luca Gnecci Ruscone has opened a second L.G.R store in Rome, the city he grew up in and home to his sunglasses and eyewear company. Like L.G.R in Milan, the chic individual design takes inspiration from the atmosphere of Ottica Bini, the store which Luca’s grandfather, Raffaello Bini, ran in Asmara (Eritrea, Africa) between the 1930s and the 70s. It was in that store, in 2005, that Luca discovered some old and elegant frames dating back to the 40s. He then decided to take them to Italy to embark on a new business venture.
This combination of Italy and Africa, which represents the brand DNA, is part of every detail of the store. Wooden furniture and coconut elements have been carefully and elegantly manufactured by Italian craftsmen, while the fabrics and the chandelier designed by L.G.R have been made in Morocco. The wooden display niches in Venetian Neo-Gothic style have been inspired by the windows of the old Ottica Bini as has the colour palette of sand, green and turquoise. On the walls, the evocative illustrations by Giampiero Celani Piendlbach embellish the environment.
“After Milan, opening a store in Rome was my priority, not only for commercial purposes, but also for personal reasons. I grew up in Rome, it is my home, this is where our company has its headquarters. We are determined to grow and in the future we plan to open other monobrand stores in Italy – Florence may be the next one – and abroad.” says Luca Gnecchi Ruscone, Founder and CEO of the brand.
The new store presents the 2019 collection of sunglasses and eyewear, with L.G.R highlights such as Reunion and Asmara (Explorer line) and the new exclusive limited edition, RAW #2. L.G.R., Via della Fontanella di Borghese, Rome www.lgrworld.com CN