Kirk Originals

Flagship store celebrates London opening

Kirk Orginals have long had their headquarters in Covent Garden…but all has changed..a newly designed one has opened in Conduit Street, just near Regent’s Street, in the centre of London…and what a joy to see such a thing. There are so many eyewear brands opening their stores around the world, London was just waiting for this…

I visited a few days ago for the launch party. This is a very contemporary looking optician’s store showing the full Kirk Originals’ repertoire of frames, which are exhibited in a fun, accessible way: each frame is like a work of art, displayed on white faces with expressive “lenticular” eyes that change as the customer moves around. The interior and window displays are inspired by the Kirk Originals’ Kinetic Collection, a line which uses lenticular printing (the technical term for this type of “moving” almost 3 dimensional, colour-changing imagery) to decorate the temples of the glasses.



Kirk Originals' wall display


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In addition, director of the brand, Jason Kirk has hand-picked two international eyewear brands that are available here exclusively: the very dashing Leisure Society collection, which is a luxurious treat with high prices but incredible design, clever detailing and lots of West Coast pizzazz: I have seen this line in its entirety recently, and it certainly stands out. And there is also Undostrial, an industrial, street brand from France that offers a slightly more conservative but nicely created range of colourful specs, primarily in metal. Indications are that there are more exciting brands coming soon. CN

Kirk Originals, 6 Conduit Street, W1S 1XE

Lunettes Collection Torstrasse, Berlin

A 1950s optical paradise

Necessity is the mother of invention, wrote Plato, centuries ago. And it was necessity that sparked the concept for an unusual eyewear boutique in Berlin.

Uta Geyer looked for a vintage frame when she started wearing glasses. Her profession was as a theatre decorator, so she was always looking for vintage accessories, which she loves. When she could not find a frame she liked – she opened her own store – in fact two shops, specialising in vintage eyewear. The first boutique, on the Marienburger is a charming little oasis in seventeen square metres. The latest jewel on the Torstrasse is bigger – fifty square meters that she opened in 2010.

The Torstrasse boutique is fresh and inviting – pristine white is the perfect, unobtrusive background for an astounding collection of vintage frames. Plus, authentic furniture from 1950’s optical shops add to the allure. Clients can happily browse and try on vintage frames that are perched on top of the dark wood cabinets. Uta says that people have a continuing fascination with vintage eyewear.

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A 50s styled interior, Lunettes Selection, Torstrasse

“The quality of these old frames is amazing, much better than most contemporary mass production,” she observes, “and vintage designs are more individual, and not as streamlined as today’s eyewear. This is probably because designs are now made by 3D programmes, and not drawn on paper anymore. Many of the frames are one of a kind, and people love the idea of having something just for themselves. However, it’s harder and harder to find authentic vintage frames.” (more…)

Maison Bonnet, Paris


We will be reviewing optical boutiques regularly; we plan to find some of the most exciting stores across the world. One of my favourites in Paris is Maison Bonnet, a fabulous optical find in a charming, historical area of the city. This chic little shop, located between the Palais Royal and The Bourse, is situated in Passage des Deux-Pavillions. Old Paris and history leap out at you upon entering this cosy oasis, designed in warm chocolate tones.

Maison Bonnet has its own special history. A family business that began in 1930, they create bespoke, exquisitely crafted frames in tortoiseshell, their speciality. Heads of state, Princes and Princesses, politicians and business tycoons, all wear Bonnet frames. Maria Callas and Onassis reportedly had artisanal designs created to their specifications. (more…)

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