Boutiques

Sacrées Mirettes – Lille, France

‘Opticien Lunetier Responsable’ – Sacrées Mirettes – by Sarah & Flo – opened in December 2020 during the pandemic

Sacrées Mirettes is an eyewear boutique located in Vieux Lille, the historic area of Lille, France. Though the store is situated in beautiful surroundings, steeped in history and culture within a bustling city, the business and founders Sarah and Flo did not have the warmest welcome into the retail world. Opening in December last year in the midst of the current pandemic was no easy feat; between curfews, lockdowns and newly imposed laws to tackle COVID-19, it is a testament to Sacrées Mirettes and everyone involved in its set up to have made such a strong start, in spite of everything.

The store specialises in responsible, high quality brands and features an interesting mix of frame styles

Vieux Lille itself is known for its colorful houses, charming restaurants, bars, and its streets of independently owned shop fronts – amongst which Sacrées Mirettes can be found. The boutique faces onto the impactful Notre Dame de la Treille; this cathedral is a stunning piece of unconventional French architecture.

Upon entry, the shop has a warm and comforting atmosphere – the founders designed the space alongside architect Quentin Glorieux with the intent to put their customers at ease, allowing them to shop and browse in homely surroundings. The warmth in the colour palettes used throughout – from the wooden floorboards to the rose coloured feature wall in the back of the store – really radiates the attention paid by all involved in implementing this interior.

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The collections available include Lunettes Alf and Gotti Switzerland

As well as being aesthetically lovely, Sacrées Mirettes also focuses on sustainability and environmental responsibility. The founders aim to raise awareness about the impact of the optical industry and do so by stocking responsible and high quality brands including Clément Lunetier, Oscar Magnuson, Vue DC, FOLC, Aude Herouard and Gotti Switzerland, among many others.

An independent boutique in an historic city that survived the toughest of beginnings and one that is making strives towards an eco-friendly world of optics is undeniably admirable, impressive, and definitely worth a visit. By Victoria Brunton for Eyestylist.com.

Sacrées Mirettes, 15 bis Rue du Cirque, 59800 Lille, France www.sacreesmirettes.com/opticien_lille/collections/

Lewes optician: Taylor-West & Co. (UK)

Opened in January 2021, the stylish boutique in Lewes is the third Taylor-West & Co. Opticians in the south of England

In a corner of Lewes, known for its cafes, independent stores and the Needlemakers historic building to which it is attached, the new Taylor-West & Co. practice is a bijou boutique with an elegant and smart appearance. The choice of collections on offer, and the design focus in every detail of the interior are carefully curated to meet the discerning tastes and demands of the well-known and historic town and its community of creatives, artists and music lovers.

“My aim was to create a warm, welcoming and stylish environment, ” says owner Sophie Taylor-West who also has stores in Hove (Brighton) and Dulwich (London). “I wanted to make people feel comfortable and at ease, just as they would feel in the home of a friend. I also wanted it to have an element of fun and frivolity, to suit the range of frames I sell!” A pink and gold ‘Woods’ wallpaper by Cole & Son, adds a whimsical touch to the interior which is otherwise minimal and white with some old exposed brick. An apothecary drawer unit which immediately catches the eye was a special find on Vinterior – shipped over especially from the Netherlands.

Above: the interior features vintage furniture and bespoke displays for individual frames to make each one stand out and to highlight its special character. The shop has large beautifully decorated windows and an airy, fun and sunny space has been created by the owner Sophie who is passionate, creative and dedicated as well as “hands-on”!

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Kirk & Kirk frames at Taylor-West Lewes; a local brand with HQ just down the road in Brighton

Sophie told us that she and her builder did all the work to redesign the shop. “I love sourcing all the decor and display materials myself; I have put a flash of yellow in each store, and the yellow armchairs I found are perfect for this. The neon sign in the window is something I haven’t tried before, but I wanted this to be really eye-catching for people walking and driving past, to make it obvious what sort of establishment we are! Lastly, I’m pleased with the faces display in the second window, which I painstakingly made myself from acrylic. I think they really showcase our style.”

Taylor-West & Co. Lewes – featuring RES/REI, Anne & Valentin, Mykita and more!

The store currently features eyewear brands from around the world – Anne & Valentin, Mykita, Ahlem, Orgreen Optics, RES/REI, and Kirk & Kirk, and the curated selection varies from store to store as Sophie explains in detail. “My brand choices have changed organically over time. For example, the only brands we still have in Hove which have lasted since opening are Anne & Valentin and Kirk & Kirk, (which just happens to be a Brighton brand). It’s so difficult to know who your customers will be and what they will want when opening a practice from scratch. You just have to pick what you like, and then really believe in them. You also have to know when something isn’t working and be brave enough to phase it out…! We found a lot of new brands when we opened in Dulwich, such as Mykita and Ahlem, and they have worked well when we got them in Hove and then Lewes. I’m a great believer in the expression ‘you can’t be all things to everyone’. I’ve sometimes worried that our average price point is too high and this will put off some potential customers, but in this climate you have to differentiate. Decide where to place yourself in the marketplace, and do it really well. I prefer to stick to handmade, high-end eyewear which will stand the test of time, and trust that our patients want the best quality there is.” Taylor-West & Co. The Needlemakers, West Street, Lewes, E Sussex www.taylorwestandco.uk

History & heritage: Ottica Casoni, Modena

A family-owned store with a rich past – officially listed by the Province of Modena with the title “Bottega Storica” (Historic Artisan Store) of Emilia Romagna

With an historic architectural style that is typical of the city, Ottica Casoni is located in an impressive palazzo building which offers elegant warm colours and distinctive porticos. Formally the French embassy in the 1800s, the location was first turned into an optical shop in 1933 by two young women.

Giovanni Casoni, the first member of the Casoni family to work in the optical business and at this very location, graduated as an optician in Emilia in 1946. After a short stint working in eyewear production, he decided to take over the shop from the previous owners in the 1950s, and he grew and directed the family business until his son Roberto took over in the 1980s. Today, brothers Emanuele and Alessandro, the 3rd generation of the Casoni family to be involved with the business – are running the store together, with passion for and dedication to some of the finest eyewear brands from around the world.

Interior: in 2016, the interior was renovated to present its rich history

The shop was last renovated and redesigned in 2016, Alessandro told Eyestylist. “We’d been thinking about it for a while. And we gradually have managed to update the interior to what you see today. We wanted to resurrect different elements of the interior of the past…gradually adding some of the items and instruments used by our grandfather – in order to create a special point of interest and to take a look back in time at how our store looked in those previous times. The final project to make it a reality came through our collaboration with the designer Dino “Neropaco” who created a perfect harmony between the history and modern day/avantgarde.”

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Interior; balancing historic Italian grandeur with contemporary design

A love for fine eyewear design is immediately evident in this shop, and in its tastefully edited social media posts that first caught our eye several years ago. Alessandro adds, ” A love for eyewear is part of who we are, and something we’ve inherited from our family. Our interest has evolved because we are curious and we enjoy finding out more and traveling to international fairs…this has allowed us to come across some marvelous projects which always impress us, whether it’s the innovative crafting, an original form, or an extraordinary precision in the details.”

Traditions of the past – a corner for frame adjustments with vintage style fittings and old-fashioned tools

Today, Ottica Casoni offers independent eyewear brands from around the world, including Anne & Valentin, AKONI Haffmans & Neumeister, Piero Massaro, JMM, and Lesca curated as a special selection because “each collection has its own unique identity which makes it recognisable and different from the other ones.” One of the latest to be added was the Italian designer Piero Massaro, who works with skill in multi-layered acetate designs. Asked about sustainable materials, the brothers added that they have decided to dedicate more space within the selection they offer to limited small-scale production and designers using sustainable materials, recycled packaging and sustainable practices that are based on low waste.

Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 65, Modena, Italy

The Art of Optics, Dubai (UAE) – Box Park

A store with a young and energetic vision – Box Park, Dubai

Ahmad Albanna, owner and founder of The Art of Optics, Dubai, is an eyewear aficionado with his own collection of independent specs and sunglasses and an enthusiastic interest in art and design. “With a passion for frames, I have always been in search of unique, unusual colorful eyewear,” he told Eyestylist. “So when I opened my store I went to the optical exhibitions to select each pair of glasses myself. I knew some of the brands from being a collector. But when I started to visit the fairs I got to know some more. Some of the brands we have are here in Dubai for the very first time. We stock just one of each optical or sunglass style selected,” he adds, a way to ensure exclusivity for customers in Dubai, and a theme that runs in store and on Instagram endorsed with the hashtag, #WeOnlySellOne.

The Art of Optics: an uplifting bold colour scheme is a highlight of this artistic modern store concept in Dubai

The colourful interior of The Art of Optics store presents unique eyewear designs from around the world. They include theo and Hapter, Kuboraum and Rigards, Sabine B and JF Rey, Nina Mur and Masahiro Maruyama. Against a backdrop that is bold and multicolored as you enter the store, the individual pieces are shown like works of art, and without crowding the walls. “I wanted to be simple but unique,” says Albanna, “and not like the usual optical store. The bright, joyful colours are welcoming and warm.”

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Line drawings on the walls of the store by Iranian artist and Dubai resident, Nadia Namvar

Eye-catching wall art lines sections of the interior, a visual focal point and “a main branding feature” at The Art of Optics. Assisted by Albanna’s son Salman, the team has taken care to achieve a successful profile for the store on social media and particularly Instagram. “The line visual by Nadia Namvar is simple but creative, and represents the brand. Our logo was designed by a young Emarati designer Nuha AlMuqbily and the interior design is by Italian designer Gian Luca Armucida.” On social media, the line visuals and professional shots of models wearing the unique and creative frames extend the brand identity beyond the confines of the physical store.

Find out more – The Art of Optics is located at Box Park Dubai (www.boxpark.ae). For opening hours and to learn about the unique glasses available visit the website at  www.theartofoptics.ae

Eyes On Hudson, Hudson Valley, NY

A family-owned, state-of-the-art store in Dobbs Ferry, NY – specialists in contemporary independent eyewear design

Katelyn Rogerson’s new store Eyes on Hudson opened in 2020, a breathtaking state-of-the-art retail space turned independent eyewear destination. With an extraordinary mix of curated collections by independent designers, the store represents a new dynamic retail concept achieved through youthful passion, a natural affinity with artisan design and over 10 years’ experience working in one of New York’s famed eyewear stores.

“When we moved to this area about 30 minutes north of New York City,” Katelyn told Eyestylist via Zoom, “we immediately knew it was missing a destination eyewear spot. We envisioned a place that not only had beautiful curated eyewear, but that would also be a cool place to hang out.”

The interior features reclaimed wood and timber and a refined use of colour

Despite restrictions of the pandemic, the husband and wife team opened the store in 2020, after a period of planning and design work, with Creative Director San Siguenza. “The vision behind Eyes on Hudson was an epiphany moment. The Hudson Valley, in New York state, is uncommonly beautiful with deep historical and artistic roots. Everyone lucky enough to wake up and see the Hudson River on a daily basis knows its breathtaking beauty. To see it is magical. To see it, you need to see. So the idea came to us that we can be the purveyors of vision to fully appreciate the beautiful place in which we live, and we should reflect that beauty ourselves as well.

Beyond aesthetics, Eyes on Hudson’s brand is rooted in being a local, family-owned shop for personalised eyecare, selling independent and locally designed eyewear as well as big name labels. “I have been fully entrenched in the independent eyewear world my entire career,” says Katelyn. “It was always a given that independent eyewear would be core to our brand. We are lucky that New York is rich with eyewear design talent, so featuring local designers has been fun and seamless.”

“When I think about what I love the most, I come back to our cohesive brand identity, which is rooted in the Hudson Valley and incorporates our independent ethos. It’s palpable from our logo to the colors and textures of our visual design to our digital presence.” Katelyn Rogerson

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Interior: features also include industrial metals and leather furnishings

Distinctive features of the interior include the use of natural reclaimed woods, timbers and industrial metals evocative of the Hudson Valley location and its history. The brass and leather furnishings were added to give a feel of relaxed luxury to an otherwise rustic/industrial concept.

These details go together with collections of eyewear that represent local talent from New York – Lowercase, MOSCOT, and Moss Lipow, – as well as several designer lines which are considered particularly prestigious at this time such as Jacques Marie Mage and Kenzo Takada for Masunaga.

And now, and for the future, the owners look forward to the return to retail offering a space that is sociable, inspiring and full of music. “Probably like most, we hope the pandemic will come to an end with the distribution of the vaccine” says Katelyn when we ask what her hopes are in 2021. “We know that many people have rightly avoided retail and non-essential doctors’ visits, in order to stay safe and healthy. We are here waiting when they are ready to emerge, and we are so excited to share with them our curated eyewear collection and the Eyes on Hudson experience.”

66 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522, USA – www.eyesonhudson.com