theo’s exceptional Somers Optiek store in Antwerp, a window on the eyewear label’s world of colour, love, energy and design, always has a trick up its sleeve. In anticipation of the Chinese New Year in February and theo’s passion for all things ‘Valentine’ (14th February), the boutique is now resonating with the vibrant colours and textures of colourful dragons from the East.
Somers Optiek first opened in its current location behind the KBC Tower – a landmark ‘Art Deco Skyscraper” – in 2008. Since our last visit in 2012 – see Joan Grady’s feature at https://www.eyestylist.com/2012/11/somers-optiek/ – the store has expanded, with a new fresh open space designed to cater to a young customer and their particular requirements for styling, colour and design. The space was designed by APRIL ONE’s Karine Ribbens (www.aprilone.be).
The store features a comprehensive selection of new and past designs by the iconic Belgian company, many of which are hidden behind the scenes, ready for customers to explore and try on at their leisure. Just a few frames are displayed on cabinets or in alcoves to highlight new colour, shapes or special releases. Somers Optiek offers a comprehensive eyecare service with state-0f-the-art eye testing available in the lower level consulting rooms as well as styling expertise from ‘theo’ trained frame specialists. Visit online at www.somersoptiek.be / www.theo.beCN
Alicia Hartman opened Eye Q in 2011 at the luxury location Limegrove Lifestyle Center on Barbados platinum west coast, a shopping hot spot featuring luxury fashion stores – Vuitton, Burberry and Ralph Lauren. Despite a worldwide recession at the time, the shop quickly became the leading independent optical boutique on the island. In 2018, the owner launched her own independent sunglasses label, PFB (Peoples from Barbados) dedicated to the Bajan community and its unique all-embracing lifestyle, filled with warmth, colour and natural style.
“Many people thought I was crazy to take on a project of this scale with no experience in retail, marketing and management,” explains Alicia Hartman with a smile. But with the support of her husband Sam and family she achieved what she set out to do, “with passion and love”.
Alicia set out to offer personalized stylist consultations offering the best eye care with a stylistic approach and a laid back yet professional atmosphere. “Initially we brought the world to Barbados through a combination of designer and independent brands,” she explains. “From day one, I preferred independent brands, but I did incorporate some of the well known designer brands as crowd pleasers.”
Over the years she gained the trust of clients and was able to focus on creative independent brands. With this came Peoples from Barbados in 2017, Alicia’s own collection of sunglasses. “The shop has a real purpose beyond eyewear and I’m excited. It’s as if we’re taking Barbados, the people and the culture to the world through a truly unique colorful understated and glamorous collection!”
The store itself offers a clean minimal space designed to showcase the frames – with Caribbean flair, and a personal playlist of music that reflects the owner’s love for travel and other cultures. “Initially there were wall decals of different people in glasses. We referred to them as the #eyeqpeoplez with a “z”. In Barbados “my peoples or my people” is a connecting phrase, to make someone feel a part of something special. The idea was always to have a personalized stylistic approach bringing people together in Barbados, regardless of there class or colour – and with one thing in common: “great taste in glasses and the desire to be unique and stand out from the crowd”.
Today a few things have changed. “To liven up the minimal space there are life size black and white portraits of beautiful Bajan faces in PFB eyewear by local photographer Adrian Richards. We wanted to showcase the real Barbados – not just the “postcard images”.”
This season, the collections in the store include independent brands from different cities around the world. “On an island, it’s important to do that! The demographic here ranges from aristocrats to fishermen to artists and celebrities.”
When I select designs I have a specific client in mind. I must offer glamour (Linda Farrow / UK), colour (theo /Belgium) , and technological sophistication (Mykita / Germany). With the Peoples from Barbados collection, we can also offer our own distinctive DNA ‘with Bajan Soul’. “I have aspirations for PFB, to make my Bajan people proud of who they are. I plan to promote Bajan artists and local talent and to encourage them to think independently – to live their dreams!”
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
With a taste for modern design, well-planned contemporary fittings and new ideas, 27-year-old Nicolo Plebani says the new Indice store is hard to explain without mentioning every single detail that has gone into the final store design concept. “To my colleague Giovanni and I, Indice represents our passion for design, research and innovation, expressed through the world of optics”. The shop is, needless to say, far removed from the traditional optician’s store, and intentionally so.
Approximately 200m squared and split on two floors, this exemplary eyewear destination is located next to the imposing Cathedral of Brescia, a city located in the Northern Italian region of Lombardy. The setting is eye-catching and original with focus on a personal appreciation of design and creativity – a stunning environment for an eyewear experience and the ideal showcase for talented independent designers.
Silver leaf, iron and glass tables, and refined display cases and shelves, which rest on mirror carpets are some of the ad hoc elements in the modern space created for shoppers who appreciate fine design. Fittings also include Eames Vitra chairs, Afteroom stools and a purple armchair by Albini Cassina and the space is lit with Flos spotlights and lamps, further embellished with Poseidon Cattellan Italia chandeliers.
For eyewear choices, the store is equally avant-garde. The first collections available instore include Kuboraum, Cazal, SUPER (a special edition was launched by the store in June), and other equally individual lines, designed to give shoppers a different choice of products that combine extraordinary quality with good looks and a story far beyond the ordinary. Indice Vision is a new concept store by Nicolo Plebani and Giovanni Comotti – Address: Via Giulio Bevilacqua 7, Brescia – www.indice.vision – CN
Two of London’s youngest success stories in optics came together with the Celine Sunglasses team for a summer party in London’s Kensington in June. The Eye Est. opened in July 2017, and is one of London’s most elegant new optical and sunglass boutiques, located in a neighbourhood that supports their forward-thinking selection of fashionable eyewear and bold modern statement styling. Above, left to right: Fahmida Kamal Rob of The Eye Est., with Vanessa and Annie of Frame Chain.
The Eye Est. store currently stocks a range of design labels which include CELINE, Komono, Dita, and EYEVAN7285. It has also become known for its passion for coffee, and offers a unique espresso bar serving an independent London brew by Drury Coffee.
Frame Chain, London’s fast-expanding accessories label, has become known for its glamorous eyewear chains, available in fashion retailers such as Liberty’s in the UK and at leading optical retailers worldwide. The brand is the creation of entrepreneurs Vanessa Harrington and Ann-Margret Kearney, who have grown the fashionable appeal of the eyewear chain beyond all expectation in a short space of time.
Frame Chain’s latest line includes gold designs in yellow, white and rose versions as well as new finishes such as rhodium and enamel and decorative Swarovski and pearls. Inspired by jewellery, the chains can be worn with any glasses, or as a piece of jewellery on their own thanks to the changeable silicone ends. For more details visit www.eye-est.com and www.framechain.co.ukCN
French creative designer Jean-François Rey announces the opening of a redesigned flagship store, located in Marseille in the South of France – home to the company. Two passionate young opticians take the helm of the store – Julia Maggio and Valentin Abrioux – which first opened in the French city in September 2008.
The shop has a new striking black facade with a new identity : ‘Jean-François Rey, Créateur Lunetier’, strengthening the link with the Jean-François Rey company, now over 30 years old with a global distribution. Inside, the shop has been completely transformed with a beautiful, chic and creative area for each of the company’s different specialists collections: JF Rey, JF Rey Petite, Kids&Teens, Boz, Volte Face, Sky Eyes, Jean-François Rey 1985 and LE CUIR.
The company told Eyestylist: “The result is just perfect. This is the universe of designers Joëlle and Jean-François Rey! Our intention was to express the mood of each of the brands, the spirit of the designer and the House Jean-François Rey. Our customers can now see each and every one of our collections, the inspiration, and the original, creative style of our frames.” Marseille, FranceCN
Majestic architecture, the river Danube and the backdrop of the Buda Hills make Budapest one of the most stunning weekend destinations in Europe. The city is also home to Hungary’s no 1 independent eyewear company Tipton Eyeworks, located in the centre of the city across the street from the historic Cafe Centrale.
A wide choice of inventive eyewear at Tipton’s showroom
Opened to the public in 2017, the showroom offers a wonderful peep at a team of industrious, highly skilled artisans finishing frames, and a buzzing retail space exhibiting the collection, where Zach Tipton’s first eyewear designs and some very special limited edition glasses – including the NVSBLE range and a tribute to Bob Marley, are on show. A highlight is the photo wall of famous faces, including Robbie Williams, Elvis Costello, Fred Durst and Elton John. “I started with rimless in early 2000, but soon moved into vinyl,” explains Zach as we toured the workshops and store. “Over the years we have perfected how we use the vinyl and we remain the only company who has pursued this direction with a growing global success in top-level boutique shops.”
Visitors to Budapest can arrange an appointment to make their own frame at the showroom, with expert artisans on hand to explain the process of assembling individual frame parts, personalising the frame with gold lettering, and, eventually cleaning and polishing the frame – ready to wear. In the background music plays from the vinyl archive on a retro ‘record player’: we play all the LPs we use for the frames, Zach explains, as he puts on a mysterious 90s ambient album that has come from a London warehouse. A current favourite is AC/DC, the focus of a collaboration using the 22 x multi-platinum “Back in Black” album.
Tipton Eyeworks has also achieved notoriety in the film industry in Budapest, producing frames for particular requirements on set, and as special commissions and gifts for the many actors and actresses visiting the city. This Spring, a Limited Edition design from the Cinematiq Collection was created for Antonio Banderas during the shooting of Genius: Life of Picasso. These unique sunglass editions are presented in a flat circular case similar to that used to carry old-school film.
Alongside the VINYLIZE collection launched in 2004, the new Cinematiq concept presents luxury acetate frames which make use of vintage 16mm film footage – perfectly aligned inside the temples where light illuminates the colourful action and characters within. And there is no stopping there. Whilst we were at the store, an ingenious, collaborative eco-inspired project was in production – a limited edition commission by coffee machine makers, Nespresso, recycling the aluminium coffee capsules into a chic run of co-branded sunglasses for Hungarian stores.
True to its city’s exceptional focus on design, eyewear brand ic! berlin takes fashionable eyewear to exciting heights, and its flagship store is no exception. Located just next to Berlin’s state-of-the-art ADIDAS and close to its original place of birth in Max Beer Strasse, today the company’s retail HQ in Munzstrasse (Mitte) offers a wide selection of eyewear possibilities, highlighting the most comprehensive collection of ic! frames (over 500!) alongside limited editions and vintage collectibles.
Browsing is worthwhile and will allow a peak at the very latest designs and colourways that have just launched at the international eyewear fairs. Staff are on hand to explain the new colours, designs and materials with a special knowledge of the innovative state-of-the-art screwless eyewear for which the Berlin company has become known worldwide.
The industrial, gallery-like interior reflects style and design attitude, with details such as art works and floral displays that are immediately welcoming. At the back of the space is an area for high-tech eye testing, and should you have a creative streak, there is an option to design your own sunglasses choosing from an almost infinite number of frame and lens colour combinations. This service is unique to the shop and one that offers a particularly mind-blowing opportunity for combining frame and lens colours according to personal preferences.
ic! berlin brillen GmbH is a German company which designs and produces high-end, handcrafted eyewear in Berlin, and distributes it worldwide. The company was founded in 1996 by Ralph Anderl.
Following the flagship in New Orleans, and a 6 month pop-up style residency, in Soho, New York, US brand Krewe has opened a permanent location at 85 1⁄2 Spring St.
The airy minimal interior has been designed “to cultivate an intimate experience with the brand while strengthening the ties between New Orleans and New York”. Utilizing flora displays, a modern white decor and New Orleans-based artisans to create interior finishings, the space has a close affinity with Krewe’s standalone storefront in the French Quarter of their city of origin.
“New Yorkers are continuing to seek out Krewe,” says founder and creative director, Stirling Barrett. “This store is a celebration of the success that we’ve had with our 6th month residency and our relationship with the SoHo neighborhood.”
Krewe was founded in 2013. The brand is built on the philosophy of doing something unexpected from a place no one would expect. Using the spirit and soul of New Orleans as a source of inspiration, KREWE’s frames are designed to embrace individuality. Designed by Barrett in KREWE’s New Orleans design studio the collection includes colorful hand-carved plant-based acetates, mixed metals, and a wide array of premium lenses. www.krewe.comCN
Repeated visits to the elegant Götti + Niederer Boutique in Lucerne, Switzerland are always a genuine pleasure. Located in a landmark building, the boutique – celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – is situated on an historical square – Mühlenplatz – in the city’s charming Old Town. Evolution and discovery go hand in hand for Urs Niederer – whose passion for fine eyewear sizzles with enthusiasm.
The latest excitement in the boutique is the launch of The First Floor. This beautiful space, just above the main building, with its original parquet floors and decor has occasionally hosted exhibitions, designer appearances and short-term events, but was never used continuously. Now Niederer – with the design expertise of Thomas Frischknecht, who works at Götti Switzerland in Marketing and Communication – has launched a concept for young, fashion conscious people who love frames, but may not be able to afford luxury labels.
Emphasis is on sunglasses, with frame prices not exceeding 300 Swiss Francs. Niederer resources young eyewear and accessory designers from Switzerland and globally. The selection includes Sunday Somewhere from Australia; Pride, Web and Gambini from Italy; Funk Food in Germany; and Myth from Korea, among others.
The decor on The First Floor is fresh, contemporary and chic. “I love cactus,” says Niederer, “so when Thomas and I were discussing the design concept, we wanted something simple and natural.” Frames are displayed on cube units, wall shelves, and metal latticework, with an exotic selection of cactus displays. Frischknecht’s streamlined, uncluttered approach to The First Floor ambiance ensures an inviting, relaxing environment for leisurely trying on frames. Niederer plans to hold various events on The First Floor – and stipulates: “Everything is going to be fun and an adventure!” And indeed it is! www.goetti-niederer.chJG
Isabelle Lunettes Nantes, interior design by Decodheure: redesigned in 2017, the new store explores colour and minimal open spaces to highlight exclusive individual eyewear collections.
“I first opened my shop in 2008, in a collaboration with the network Rien Ne Va Plus,” explains Isabelle, the owner of Isabelle Lunettes in Nantes, one of the most beautiful optical stores we have seen in Europe in recent months.
“The shop was originally, “Le Petit Salon des Créateurs.” In 2017, I decided to leave the group and became completely independent. At that time I got in touch with friends who owned an agency in Nantes called Idile Edito and I started the year with a total redesign of our visual image and graphics. We changed the name, the logo, and the graphics completely. And then I realised it was also the right time to change the interior.”
By the end of the year, Isabelle had completely transformed the store with a new striking interior. “It was natural to choose Decodheure (www.decodheure.com). Sandie and Pierre-Edouard were introduced to me by my communications agency Idile Edito who have worked with each other on many different projects. When we met, we were completely in tune with the vision and design and I was able to put all my trust in their work. The project was completely focused on DESIGN – GRAPHICS – and COLOUR….”
“I am completely in love with the new store, I feel completely at home here. The interior design corresponds completely to my vision of creative eyewear: chic, modern, and very colourful”, Isabelle told Eyestylist.
Featured brands: Cutler & Gross / Dita / Thom Browne / Struktur / l.a. eyeworks / Coblens / Kuboraum / Kaleos Eyehunters / Blake Kuwahara / Clément Lunetier / Robert La Roche. Address: 24 Rue de Strasbourg, 44000 Nantes, France – www.isabellelunettes.fr Interior design by https://decodheure.comCN
Deepak Oberai is the owner of Albert Road Opticians, a beautiful converted Edwardian house in Wilmslow. Eyestylist asked him about the store, which has an original setting and exquisite mix of eyewear collections.
When did you first open and can you tell me about how you had imagined your store initially? Albert Road Opticians is set in a house that has a lot of character. When we first opened, I was aware of the potential but did not maximise this. However after an impromptu climb of Mt Kilimanjaro, I decided I wanted us to be ‘The House of Spectacles’. So I decided to take it back to the original features (fire places, picture rails) and treat people as if they are coming over to your house, with a lovely cup of tea! This was a game changer for us.
You are working with very creative brands like theo from Belgium? How is it going, and is there a greater interest for statement design? What have your experiences been so far? Theo is my personal favourite. Initially when we introduced this at Albert Road Opticians we did not know how to approach the bolder design conversation. However, as with anything, practice makes perfect and we are now known for brighter, bolder designs in our local community. Our clients who have bought this eyewear may have been reluctant initially, but as soon as they get a compliment from a stranger (and this happens), they turn into raving fans. It’s incredible to see such joy on people’s faces.
Tell us about the design of the shop and who worked with you on it. The shop and its unique quirky features lend to the building we are in perfectly. We worked with Sheffield based interior design company 93ft (https://93ft.com) and they really know how to push the boat. The style chosen was reclaimed furniture with a modern twist. The dark colours compliment the handmade cupboards perfectly and the reclaimed flooring brings the design together.
How much do you change your selection of frames – do you stick with old favourites or add newcomers if you find them in the shows? We attend international optical shows regularly to see what is up and coming. When we see something exciting we like to build relationships with that brand and see if they are a good fit for us. Generally we only take one new brand a year if we really like it. However working with innovative brands like Theo or Anne & Valentin, their new collection releases can almost feel like a different brand so that helps keep things fresh.
You have clearly gone out of your way to provide a really special service. Tell us about this and where your priorities lie. Coming to Albert Road is like visiting a good friend. The atmosphere is relaxed; we want people to feel they are in a non-clinical environment. As the building has several rooms, we have renamed the front room, and we call it our ‘Tea Room’. This is where we offer drinks, a bit like a hotel. It the scene for the rest of the show.
Our eye examinations are longer than the average 45 minutes. This allows us to get to know our clients better from a personal perspective. This slow, personal approach means we can highlight opportunities for multiple pair purchases, in the future, where necessary. The eyewear is presented in the ‘Eyewear Gallery’ with a few frames on show, and others hidden in drawers. We like to style people, and this subtle approach of introducing quirky eyewear works very well. Most of all we want our clients to be happy. We always say ‘Our reputation walks around on your face’ and we want this to be spectacular. This friendly relaxed approach has won us many fans.
This January, a second shop – Station Road Optician – has opened in Cheadle Hulme. 18 Albert Road, Wilmslow – plan your visit atwww.wilmslowopticians.co.ukCN
Copenhagen Fashion Week is underway, and as always, the Danish brand Ørgreen has something special to show. Its new 3d printed collection with Yuniku is presented in a spectacular design window by GamFratesi at the flagship store in Store Regnegade 1, a street that boasts some of the city’s most fashionable shopping destinations.
Drawing attention to the exclusive customised collection which currently has 12 models in six colours, the GamFratesi installation takes inspiration from Pablo Picasso’s diverse and eclectic approach to portraiture, never rendering one face in the same way. The accentuated quirks of Picasso’s portraits—evident in the portrayal of his muses Dora Maar, Olga Khokhlova, and his daughter, May—work to celebrate the diversity amongst people: their unique shape, size, and spirit.
The partnership between Ørgreen and Yuniku is an extension of Ørgreen’s desire to provide diverse product range choices for a wider spectrum of consumers, always with respect to a Nordic aesthetic, and with an eye for the newest technological innovation.
Meaning “unique” in Japanese, Yuniku celebrates the uniqueness of the human face with a special scanner that measures facial features. By taking the lifestyle of the consumer into account, lenses are individually designed while the frame is 3D printed around the individual’s visual needs, all in all matching vision, face and personal styling. More details at www.orgreenoptics.comCN
New experiential retail space, Not Just Another Store is curated by UTTER and MARR, two independent companies, who, through creative collaborations with artists, illustrators, photographers and more, seek to break the norm of a traditional fashion store – in London.
Opened in Shoreditch in December (’17), opposite the Ace Hotel – their offering includes over 30 emerging brands across womenswear and menswear, literature, art and interiors – with eyewear launches planned for 2018.
With collaborations at the heart and core of the concept, Not Just Another Store will also be partnering up with various creatives and designers to curate innovative events, installations and exhibitions. The shop also includes an open plan mini kitchen offering brunch, lunch, juice and smoothies served by local independent chefs and barristas.
Asked about eyewear, Buying Director Dami Akinnaike told Eyestylist that the store will stock specialist Asian brands – Rosemanclub – the Japanese eyewear label launched in 2014 – and Gentlemonster – the much hyped Korean brand – coming soon in Spring 2018. Not Just Another Store, 189 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6HUwww.notjustanotherstore.com CN
Italian flair, charm and charisma envelope the elegant boutique opened by L.G.R founder Luca Gnecchi Ruscone. Located in the prestigious Brera district of Milan, at 36 Corso Garibaldi, the shop features the expressive and stunning creations of the luxury eyewear company. The flagship store’s interior is inspired by the colours and shapes of Ottica Bini, Luca’s grandfather’s emporium in Asmara, Eritrea.
The boutique windows are inspired by neo-Gothic and Venetian shapes, using core materials that include wood and coir – a coconut fibre. This reflects L.G.R.’s distinguished heritage of African adventure combined with Italian elegance. Pale green and blue hues are used throughout the interior space, evoking the Eritrean sky and sea. Giampiero Celani Piendlbach created the beautiful, flowing renderings on the walls exclusively for L.G.R.
“Milan’s international presence and undisputed reputation for luxury and lifestyle makes the city a natural choice for our first store in Italy,” says Gnecchi Ruscone. The entire collection of superbly crafted L.G.R frames – optical and sunglasses – is on display in the new Boutique. Luca Gnecchi Ruscone noted that the opening of the Flagship Milan store is the first step in an expanded retail strategy. For more discoveries about the creative universe at L.G.R visit www.lgrworld.com JG
H.B.K Hamburg, an independent store created by Klaas Stolzenburg and Gregor Thomsen has opened in north Hamburg. The shop is located near Stormarnplatz, and presents a mix of independent eyewear brands including German design labels REIZ (www.reiz.net), Coblens (www.coblens.de), MatzeMarpe (www.matzemarpe.de) and Hamburg Eyewear (www.hamburg-eyewear.de) as well as Dick Moby (www.dick-moby.com) from Amsterdam and the Danish brand Orgreen (www.orgreenoptics.com). The interior has been designed by the two young opticians, who explained how they installed – for the most part – the interior fittings and lighting themselves.
Simple natural wooden floors, wood shelving and display areas, industrial lighting, and large floor-to-ceiling windows create an atmosphere that is fresh and welcoming, with the feel of a friendly open gallery.
“Whether trendy, retro or extravagant, our range offers the right eyewear for every taste,” explain the owners, who have a passion for handcrafted quality collections. “The shop has a cozy Hanseatic ambiance, designed to make the eyewear purchase a real experience for anyone who comes to see us.”
British brand Kirk & Kirk’s latest colour-confident, statement frame designs previewed earlier this month in Kensington’s Eyeworks, one of London’s most welcoming contemporary optical boutiques on Gloucester Road. Owned by Brenda McKernan, the store presents a clever and different mix of independent eyewear labels, including lesser known brands sourced at the European eyewear fairs, suited to all ages and tastes.
Managing director and creative designer Jason Kirk attended the preview night on 9th November, guiding customers in shapes and colours and encouraging feedback and discussion to help individuals find their style. The Kirk & Kirk brand has been available at the store for over 18 months, and continues to catch the customers’ eye; the store attracts a crowd from Kensington and Knightsbridge who desire fresh designs and flattering modern colours in eyewear.
The evening presentation was attended by customers of all ages, fashion and design bloggers from the neighbourhood, friends, eyewear enthusiasts and a beautiful King Charles Spaniel! Eyestylist was delighted to take part.
Eyeworks London, a leading eyewear store in this friendly, fashionable South West London neighbourhood, offers comprehensive eyecare, expert style advice and a modern and exciting selection of fine eyewear and sunglasses. The business also runs ‘Eyeworks for Film’ who provide prosthetic contact lenses for the film and TV industry in the UK. If you pop in, don’t be surprised to see a famous face or two! For more information visit www.eyeworkslondon.com Kirk & Kirk is run by Jason and Karen Kirk from Brighton, UK. Their colourful frames now sell around the world in some of the finest optical boutiques. The bright colour palette, handcrafted finish and interesting materials have bought them notoriety. The acrylic frame material featured in the Kirk & Kirk collection has a beautiful intense colour. www.kirkandkirk.com
Our friends at independent luxury eyewear destination, Eyespot, are launching a new series of in-store events, dedicated to emerging designers. EYESPOT X COLLECTION will be run as a Pop Up shop featuring exceptional designer ranges, selected from around the world for a limited engagement. Some of the exciting new labels with be making their first appearance in the US, allowing customers to get a very special taste of the most creative and innovative small labels and, in many cases, to meet the designers behind the brand at the opening events.
Appearing for the first boutique exhibition is Mondelliani Glasses from Rome, whose collection will be launched in store on September 15th and 16th from 10am until 5pm (open to everyone). Flying in from Italy, founder of the brand, Federico Mondello and family member and designer Roberta will be available through the weekend at Eyespot, to talk about the creation of the collection and their background in optics in Rome, where the Mondello family whose first optical store opened in 1975, now own several optical boutiques themselves.
Typical of the eye-catching handmade collection is the Eolie Collection, comprising glamorous sunglasses inspired by the beautiful, vivid colours of the Mediterranean and the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. These super sunglass styles have uniquely flattering shapes and fresh toned, matching high-quality lenses produced by world leader Zeiss for an “exceptional visual experience”.
Also exhibiting is the Birds Collection, inspired by the play of colours of the feathers of birds, and the brand’s avantgarde Rigadritto range, a tribute to great icons of international cinema. Minimalist lines and exciting lens shapes come together in this exclusive artisan series. The label will also show a super collaborative limited edition line with US textile designer, John Robshaw.
EYESPOT is the only retailer in New England carrying this prestigious collection from Italy. The collection will be available at the store following the Event this coming weekend and through to end of December 2017. The EYESPOT event takes place at One Boylston Street, The Street, Chestnut Hill, MA. For further information, visit https://eyespot.com/ – www.mondelliani.itEyestylist.com isdelighted to support the new EYESPOT x COLLECTION events. CN
Tom Herrington’s enthusiasm for handmade eyewear has led to the addition of new RockOptika Sports designs in 2017, dedicated to the needs of the road cyclist, and balancing traditional craftsmanship, vintage-inspired design ‘with style’, and subtly integrated technical attributes – an ambitious project. The collection has launched at RockOptika HQ in St Leonards (UK), a vintage-inspired store presenting the brand’s full collection of opticals, sunglasses and limited edition sunglasses as well as a few hand-picked designs from other British eyewear designers.
Careful research and detailed conversations with ex pros and amateur cyclists led to the production in France of two models, Jet-Pac and Allez. “Our goal was to design the most stylish glasses on the road. They also had to be totally fit for purpose,” explains the designer, who is also a cycling enthusiast.
Each model is produced in bespoke Italian acetate alongside classic tortoiseshells with a vintage feel – quite different from an average sports frame. A high-quality back coated anti-reflective lens and leather temple grips ensure the frame offers UV protection, comfort, and a stable and snug fit on the face – factors that contribute to enhancing the experience of the cyclist (and their style) in variable weather conditions.
RockOptika frames are designed in the UK, and made in France, in the traditional spectacle-making region of the Jura. The frames are available from selected opticians and the flagship RockOptika store in St Leonards (UK), as well as online at www.rockoptika.comCN
Etnia Barcelona released official images of its flagship store by Santa Maria del Mar (El Born, Barcelona) in April. Remodelled by Jordi Tió, the project also involved interior designers – Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the design studio behind some of Barcelona’s most fashionable hotels and restaurants, including Boca Grande, El Nacional and Soho House Barcelona. Eyestylist visited the building in August 2017.
Etnia’s flagship store extends the brand identity of the Barcelona label in a stylish design focused building with two shop floors, showrooms, workshops, a terrace and a bar/entertainment space at the rooftop, with beautiful views over the city. Owned by David Pellicer, and created over 17 years ago, the Spanish eyewear label has become a top-selling European brand across the world – after particular success in France, as well as further afield, in the US and S. America.
The remodelling of the building was led by Jordi Tió, a design expert related to the design world of Vinçon (a former retail company in the Catalan city) and architect of the Barcelona and Berlin Camper Hotels, amongst others. The work involved the demolition of several bearing walls to create diaphanous spaces in the old building, as well as the lift well, running from top to bottom, with views of the different floors of the store. The façade has been strictly preserved, right down to the colours, respecting the original appearance of the building.
The shop interior speaks for itself. As well as some ‘Catalan’ touches in the colourful details – the elegant lift is based on a classic Barcelona ‘ascensor’, the individual spaces offer a pleasurable experience for browsing and trying on frames, with recurring themes: furniture and mirrors with the feel of an old-fashioned barber’s shop, and central “bar” areas with mirrors and vintage “objets” – recovered from old optical stores -, flowers and glass dome displays.
The furnishings and lighting portray a 1940s style, referencing different trades and spaces. From old operating theatre lights to a jeweller’s work bench or theatre dressing table with its light mirror, to create a kind of backstage feeling. The store also stocks art monographs and photography books, to underline the brand’s relationship with the world of the arts, a focus for many of their limited edition sunglasses. www.etniabarcelona.com Eyestylist.com wishes to thank Noemi at Etnia Barcelona for arranging a tour of the store. CN
An avantgarde shop rarely passes us by and while Eyestylist hasn’t yet managed to visit, we look forward to this experience in the future. Monica Albanese agreed to talk to me about Iconaocchiali – Italy, and her new project with MiN New York.
What is your background?
Our store project was born in 2011 when I joined my sister Barbara’s company. The idea was for me to enhance her great technical know-how, with a new and different aesthetic direction. I am a collector of clothing, handbags and glasses. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years with a lot of different brands. I was also a teacher at the Istituto Marangoni, in Milan and Shanghai.
My family is important to me. They have taught me a lot about respect, beauty and a beautiful style of working. My sister taught me to entertain customers with professionalism and courtesy. She also taught me her love of taking care of the customer’s vision by being very careful to match the technology with beauty. My uncle is Paolo Seminara, who has taught me everything I know about eyewear. He is an important eyewear designer – he created the Vogue eyewear brand in the ’70s. It became a very successful brand – and was sold to Luxottica in the ’90s. Image above: Barbara and Monica Albanese
What is currently available in the shop?
Our store is unusual and unexpected. I like it when people ask “what do you sell?” We like to amaze in a gentle and discreet way, choosing elegance and cultural “references” in eyewear. In our store, you can find niche brands. Some are strong on image, some are more valuable in the construction of the glasses and the choice of materials. Among the brands we have selected are Linda Farrow, Lotho, Platoy and Frency & Mercury.
We also love Kuboraum and Slave to Ancestors, the collection made entirely in leather. We work with many more, including Jacques Durand, Sama Eyewear, Portrait, Robert La Roche, Lunor, Jean Francois Rey, and Orgreen.
You are also involved in a sunglasses collection with MiN NYC – how did this come about? Are you the only stockist of MiN in Italy?
This is a funny story. A young man entered my former shop in Florence. He was very enthusiastic about the brand selection and the elegance of the store. From that moment on, we became friends, and this has developed into a working relationship. Matthew called me in the summer asking me if I wanted to work with him and Chad to create the MiN NEW YORK glasses line. I immediately accepted, and began to seek the right language that respected the aesthetic aptitude of their brand.
I am not the only stockist in Italy, but our store is like a “brand” showroom for MiN in Italy – since I’m directly involved in the creative side.
Last summer we presented our first part of the Eyewear Collection in Florence at Pitti Uomo; we also did Pitti Fragrance, and we went to New York for Vision Expo. We are brand new in eyewear, but already strong in the fragrance business.
What are the MiN Eyewear designs like and why has the perfume brand moved into eyewear?
Presenting fragrance and eyewear as a part of the same story is a completely new idea.
One by one we have created and translated every scent story into a spectacle in the form of glasses.
When we created every single style, we sprayed a cloud of perfume into the air and carried our emotions back and forth and went back to every place visited in Chad’s mind at the time of creating the scent.
The MiN New York fragrances are created to celebrate a moment, a minute of life (MiN as a dime of minute). We think that a better product can make life fuller and that through an authentic experience something of us is revealed, that was previously hidden. Physics and metaphysics. A journey within ourselves but with a propensity to life.
As a designer, what are your most important influences in Italy or outside Italy?
Usually my personal feeling is my starting point. My background is like a ‘chest’, filled with tastes and things that I choose and are the only thing that make me unique and special. As an italian woman I usually live among the flame of florentine architecture, I can see all the best painting exhibitions in Milan, where I live alf of my week (as a designer), I can travel north and sud for a week end, smiling and testing all the “colours” of life.
Mention anything else about your shop in Signa regarding the styling?
I love change. The store has taken shape in time and that it suits the flow of life with changing needs and what seems important or new at that time. For this reason we have not created any fixed structure, excluding a wall cabinet. Our project is born of the need to express in a simple and universal way (hence the choice of the ICONA name), the idea of the beautiful as a manifestation of an instantly recognizable functional aesthetic.
All the eyewear collections and the objects we sell (Grottaglie Ceramics, Monica Albanese Handbags, Bijoux bought in many travels, Objects of various nature and Pieces of Art) have been chosen through a careful search of what we really consider as the Icon and thus representing a style and elegance that will be an integral part of the customer who will choose them.
We like to think that we can present glasses and other products as small artistic masterpieces and design objects. CN Iconaocchiali, /29, Str. Vicinale Vecellio Tiziano, 2, 50058 Signa – Florence
Four years on, the shop owned by Gabriele Vergerio, and managed by creative eyewear expert Carmen Cox, has been restyled – by architect Andrea Eusebi. The new interior highlights the individuality of the frame collections on display in a chic understated neutral setting that exudes finesse and attention to detail, typical of the store which is one of the leading eyewear boutiques in Europe.
The restyled interior is adorned with elegant details including materials such as Palisander and brushed iron, in a design that was commissioned exclusively for the store “to reflect the image of the owner Gabriele Vergerio” – and realized in its entirety by skilled Italian artisans.
For 2017, Monocle highlights Jacques Marie Mage, Ahlem, Linda Farrow (newly selected), Matsuda, Dita, Thom Browne, Mykita, Hoffmann, Kuboraum, 8000 and the boutique’s own label, Monocle Eyewear. The store prides itself on providing an exquisite choice in hard-to-find designs, created to exacting standards of craftsmanship in luxurious, often unusual materials.
Monocle Eyeglasses gallery/Eyewear/Accessories, Via di Campo Marzio 13, 00186, Roma, Italy – www.monocle.it CN
Götti and Switzerland are synonymous with beauty and artistic creativity. Twenty-three years ago, Sven Götti opened his first optical shop with Urs Niederer – Götti + Niederer – and the first collection of Götti designs were sold there. The historical building – Mühlenplatz 1 in Lucerne – is now the setting for Sven Götti’s own exclusive eyewear boutique in contemporary, streamlined surroundings that echo the Swiss designer’s frames. The straight-lined interior provides the ideal setting for the minimalistic titanium and acetate optical and sunglass designs. The interior is sleek and pure in black and white, combined with oak parquet floors.
The complete Götti collections are on display including the Götti Dimension frames created using 3D printing technology; and the latest innovative Götti Perspective rimless project. The reception area features a “Wall of Frames” photo display with personalities that are fans of Götti eyewear. Among others you will find Tamy Glauser; Hans-Ulrich Obrist; Philipp Fankhauser; Stefanie Heinzmann; Greis; and Lea Lu.
The eye-catcher in the Boutique is a chandelier manufactured from over five hundred pairs of sunglasses from previous Götti collections. The unique light installation was specially designed for this store by the Zurich design studio Bureau Purée. There are many reasons to visit Lucerne Switzerland – the wonderful covered bridge Kapellbrüke (Chapel Bridge) built in 1333; the amazing medieval architecture; The Richard Wagner Museum; and now a stunning tribute to Sven Götti’s dedication to eyewear and Switzerland. www.gotti.chJG
A special thank you to Ti Kwa of Rigards for introducing us to Haute Eye, a leading independent eyewear store in Seoul – with a selection of collections that is both creative and individual.
The store is located in the bustling Mapo district of South Korea’s capital, a busy shopping destination close to universities, a huge variety of restaurants, coffee shops and eateries as well as famous nightspots – all in all, a thriving, fun place to visit with large crowds and lots of atmosphere.
“We have many European collections and artisan editions,” explained the team who welcomed me and allowed me a look in some of the cabinets brimming with designer collections like theo, Vava and Mykita. “Rigards is a recent addition for us. We are also specialising in emerging Korean labels…Stealer is the new one, with ophthalmic and sun styles – made exclusively in steel – they are comfortable and very wearable, as well as cool.” (www.stealereyewear.com). Sister brand – Muzik, was created in 2013 and is produced exclusively in France (www.muzikeyewear.com).
In a small space, Haute Eye shows what can be done to offer the discerning eyewear enthusiast a unique choice of the latest eyewear – with the focus on emerging talent alongside creative icons. Watch this space for future news at Haute Eye. www.hauteeye.com/ CN
An intriguing journey is underway at Gogosha Boutique, one of the most highly regarded optical boutiques in America. Founder/owner Julia Gogosha has left her long standing store in Silver Lake, and is heading to a new location in Echo Park, via several pop-ups at some creative, alternative spaces.
“Rents have doubled and building conditions deminished. We needed to find a place that felt like home for the future of Gogosha Optique. We are building a permanent new location in Echo Park, which will be complete in the Fall. In the meantime we have been nomadic to be able to continue our services to our loyal clientele base as well as expose ourselves to new customers.”
The first pop-up was tucked away upstairs in what the Gogosha team called the treehouse, above Go get em Tiger, McConnell’s ice cream shop and next to the coveted 5 room Hotel Covel. Just recently they have moved across the street from the original location, next to a transformative dance studio and close to the addictive Night + Market Song Thai restaurant. “We’re even featuring a Garrett Leight Shop-in-Shop,” Julia explains. “It’s one of our most accessible brands and it’s a great service to have a greater selection for our clientele to show a harmonious collaboration between a vendor and a multi brand store who operate only a few miles from each other.”
These locations have been the result of relationships with clients and advocates, she explains. “Without them we would’ve operated solely from our West Third Street location for nine month greatly hindering the convenience for many of our East side clientele.”
“We’ve created each new environment on a shoe string budget with a skeleton crew – but with the highest visual impact. It’s as challenging as it is rewarding. We’re excited to learn and evolve with each move, continuing our love of eyewear and community. Then ultimately creating an environment that will help elevate a curated eyewear experience.” More information coming soon! www.gogosha.comCN
Independent eyewear and high fashion collide at Wolf & Badger NYC, with the introduction of Kirk & Kirk sunglasses for men and women. The colourful British brand’s Kaleidoscope collection is part of the curated edit of independent designer brands available at the store, which include many European brands being introduced to the US market for the first time. The shop will also present new exciting brands from the US market, providing it says “a platform to showcase their products, to share the inspiring stories behind their collections, and to connect with a design-focused and socially conscious audience.”
Since Kirk & Kirk launched in 2014, the brand has quickly expanded its international presence through optical boutiques and a few handpicked fashion retailers including Wolf & Badger in London. The availability of the line through the award-winning fashion retailer in NYC is yet another development for founders Jason and Karen Kirk, at a time when their US success – from East to West – is building steadily.
Frame Chain, the British label by Annie Kearney and Vanessa Harrington have launched their latest collection of glasses chains at the Spitalfields branch of British brand Cutler & Gross, in their first pop-up collaboration with a glasses company. Above: Co-Founders, Vanessa and Annie of Frame Chain
Founded in 2013, the brand, which is already available at leading fashion retailers including Liberty and Fenwick in London has quickly gained recognition for their striking, innovative chains which double up as a chic necklace.
The chains come in a variety of colours and designs, making an ideal match for all eyewear designs and, essentially, are suited to all tastes and age groups. New additions include several bespoke pieces where vintage jewellery details have been integrated into the 18 carat white or yellow gold designs. Current bestsellers include chains adorned with pretty natural pearls in varying sizes – a key trend for 2017 and an ideal way to work it into a summer wardrobe. Find more details on the range of styles and an online store at www.framechain.co.ukCN
Glori.us, a high quality fashion store located in Sherbrooke, Canada, is a specialist in luxury brands and custom made fashion and tailoring with individuality and flair. Created by Jean-François Bédard and Tanya Cloutier, the shop has opened its doors to like-minded fashion brands for men and women – including Surmesur (www.surmesur.com), specialists in made-to-measure menswear.
Eyewear is available in the store exclusively from Lunetterie Générale, Canada, a young, fresh brand by entrepreneurial co-founders, Julien Couture and Alexis Martel.
“We’re the first eyewear brand to build a shop-in-shop style concept store inside a fashion boutique in North America,” says Julien Couture. “Inspired by the museum and architectural grandeur of the Beaux Arts movement, the eyewear area, designed by Samuel Barker, is dedicated to Lunetterie Générale – and our new and growing collection, produced in Japan.”
The frames, produced with carefully finished details and a sobre, vintage-inspired colour palette are created in titanium, Japanese acetate and natural materials including wood, which the co-founders have researched to be able to include locally sourced varieties. “Our first collection was the result of a unique collaboration with Tommy O’Gara, renowned Art Director behind successful avant-garde eyewear brands. We’ve been able to create styles that know no limits and that will be at the forefront of the affordable luxury market.”
Asked about their interest in fashion concept stores, the team told us they will continue to work with optical stores, as well as developing a network of concept stores similar to Glori.us, where it has been possible to create a special relationship between the label and the store’s clientele. 90, Rue Wellington N, Sherbrooke, QC J1H 5B7. A second Glori.us store opened in March at 434, Avenue Victoria, Saint-Lambert. www.glorius.ca