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Anna-Karin Karlsson with Le Snob

Collaborations have come into a new realm in the last months. Creative independent eyewear designers are uniting with terrific independent fashion partners, and raising the bar beyond the traditional eyewear collabs. One such union? Swedish designer Anna-Karin Karlsson and Le Snob’s co-designers B. Akerlund and Robert Lussier, who have created a cool, covetable cat’s eye, with iconic elegance.

A rather gorgeous exaggerated upswept shape with round lens, the Black Swan sunglasses have flip-down front pieces, a concept that can be traced back to the lorgnettes and make-up glasses of the 1950s/60s. Pictured above: Model Guinevere by Tim Walker for Le Snob. Guinevere wears the new Black Swan shades.

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Le Snob
Black Swan sunglasses by Anna-Karin Karlsson for Le Snob

Le Snob, set up by co-designers B. Akerlund, stylist, and Robert Lussier, formerly Creative Director at Vuitton and Dior, presents a street-sharp collection of haute utility, luxury leathers, canvas, eyewear and “gilded” gear, under the concept of “snobbility” – rhyming with mobility and nobility, proposing a superbly original take on innovative luxury. A relatively new entry in fashion, the brand is making a powerful debut in the fashion industry with the addition of big names such as Tim Walker shooting Guinevere Van Seenus in their latest campaign. Le Snob Black Swan sunglasses ($865) and other styles in the collection are available online at http://shop.lesnob.com/shop/le-black-swan CN

Historic Fashion Rediscovered

The Fabulous Wardrobe of Countess Greffulhe

Her wardrobe – as well as her life – was the toast and talk of Paris. Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe (1860-1952) was the epitome of elegance, with an exquisite, enviable wardrobe, the focus of a stunning exhibition at Palais Galleria in Paris.  She was an avid patron of the arts, promoting and encouraging James Whistler; Auguste Rodin and Gustave Moreau; and the ballet impresario Diaghilev and his  Ballet Russes. The Countess was also a supporter of composer Gabriel Fauré, and his Pavane was premiered at a garden party in the Bois de Boulogne that she organised. In addition, she produced and promoted operas including Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde and Twilight of the Gods.

Charles FrÈderic Worth (1825-1895). Robe byzantine portÈe par la Comtesse Greffulhe pour le mariage de sa fille, 1904 - Taffetas lamÈ, soie et filÈ or, tulle de soie, application de paillettes. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.
Charles FrÈderic Worth (1825-1895). Robe byzantine portÈe par la Comtesse Greffulhe pour le mariage de sa fille, 1904 – Taffetas lamÈ, soie et filÈ or, tulle de soie, application de paillettes. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.

Proust immortalised her for posterity as the Duchess of Guermantes in Proust’s novel A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time). The Countess captivated Parisian society with her tireless activities and her glorious wardrobe. She was a fascinating, slender figure in an alluring cloud of tulle, gauze, chiffon and feathers, or in her velvet coats and kimono jackets. The Palais Gallieria displays fifty dresses worn by the Countess, designed by grand couturiers including Fortuny, Worth, Lanvin and Babani.

Charles-Frederick Worth (1825-1895). Tea gown. Velours ciselÈ bleu foncÈ sur fond de satin vert. Dentelle de Valenciennes. Doublure en taffetas changeant vert et bleu, vers 1897. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.
Charles-Frederick Worth (1825-1895). Tea gown. Velours ciselÈ bleu foncÈ sur fond de satin vert. Dentelle de Valenciennes. Doublure en taffetas changeant vert et bleu, vers 1897. Galliera, musÈe de la Mode de la Ville de Paris.

There are evening and day dresses, coats, accessories, portraits, photographs and films. The exhibition is a marvellous invitation to go “in search of lost fashion”, and to become acquainted with the divine Countess, whose image was inescapably linked with her luxurious wardrobe. La Mode Retrouvée (Fashion Regained) Dresses of Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe opens 7th November and continues until 20th March 2016. www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr JG 

Hall of Frames Zurich Convention Center 12-13 September 2021
Götti Switzerland
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Top image: Photographie de Otto, la comtesse Greffulhe dans une robe de bal, veers 1887 Copyright Otto/Galliera/Roger-Viollet

Mehran Baghaie – Spectacle Eyeworks

Mehran Baghaie in Vancouver Canada weaves tradition, art and history into his frame creations. Ideas and inspiration are inexorably linked with his Persian ancestry, and then beautifully balanced with trends of today’s style and technical directions. Baghaie and his wife Anisa are both opticians, and managed several shops in Vancouver, where they have lived since 1984.

Bret from the stainless steel collection by Mehran Baghaie at Spectacle Eyeworks
Bret from the stainless steel collection by Mehran Baghaie at Spectacle Eyeworks

However, as Baghaie explains, “I wanted to design something of my own, and my first SILMO was in 1999, and there were only a few independents. Now there are many more people gravitating towards micro brands, and people are looking for brands that cater to independent opticians.

Nadia from Pussy Galore by Mehran Baghaie
Nadia from Pussy Galore by Mehran Baghaie

“Materials that are personally fascinating to me include wood – which I started to use in 2004. I’m a real history buff, and I’m very fond of Native Arts, including Homa, a mystic bird from Persia, and a lion from the 17th Century. Also, I love gothic, and vintage cat-eyes have a special place in my heart, and a cat-eye is  an uplift for the face.” Baghaie has a unique collection – Pussy Galore – devoted only to sleek cat-eye shapes in ravishing colours. Another favourite Baghaie material is stainless steel. His latest collection in the German crafted material is distinctly angular, with modern, clean design that brings a chic mystique to each style. Colours are contrasted with multi-layering, which results in rich intonations. Baghaie has added a special touch with a message included inside one temple. One phrase is ‘Oneness of Mankind’, and Baghaie reveals:”I was always moved by these words, and I wanted to share them by bringing hope of peace on earth.

Soozee in stainless steel by Mehran Baghaie
Soozee in stainless steel by Mehran Baghaie

“I like to create frames that I can relate to in my collections, which means carving beautiful fashion that recycles itself. My influences change by my surroundings and by world events.” Spectacle Eyeworks is sold throughout Europe, America and Canada. For more information on the collection, visit www.spec-eyeworks.com JG

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Götti Switzerland
MOREL par Jean Nouvel
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Specstacular Opticians, Shoreditch

A vintage destination for eyewear connoisseurs

“It’s lined with up-and-coming design stores,” says Hackney boy Keval, explaining the location of his inspirational glasses store – Specstacular – on Cheshire Street in Shoreditch, East London. “Hala and I opened the shop in May last year, but we’ve planned the business over a much longer period of around 7 years. I was driving across the country to source furniture and increase the vintage collection. I have been collecting vintage frames for around 20 years.” In the centre of the shop is a wooden cabinet featuring unusual eyewear exhibits including an “eye mask” that dates back to Roman times. Lining the walls of the shop are a selection of the frames – different types of vintage design, folding glasses, unusual safety eyewear and visors, and classics of all shapes and sizes. Pictured above: owners Keval and Hala at Specstacular, Shoreditch

 

Rigards x Royal Selangor
Rigards x Royal Selangor, coming soon

The shop was introduced to Eyestylist by Rigards’ Ti Kwa, whose unique horn designs are now available here – aptly it’s the first stockist of the Rigards collection in London, and the only store in the UK that will have the exclusive Rigards x Royal Selangor designs in horn and pewter – coming soon.

Alongside Rigards are several other carefully selected new labels such as Michel Henau and Kuboraum, – Keval says the new ones have to be really interesting – “the wackier the better” – and the selection of incredible vintage designs, which dates back to the 40s, giving the shop its historic appeal. “We have become a destination for eyewear brands and designers; we are involved in all kinds of special TV and film projects including a documentary on the Royal Family and a Hong Kong-Chinese romantic film called ‘Triumph in the Skies”.

MOREL par Jean Nouvel
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Festival eyewear: Hala models safety frame fitted with bespoke lenses
Festival eyewear: Hala models vintage safety frame with bespoke lenses

“Customising lenses is one of our specialities and this is an area where we seem to have caught the public’s imagination. We are able to play with colours and tints that you wouldn’t normally get, and we can fit them in frames that are not easily found,” explains Keval.

Theo - 'Petillante'
‘Vintage’ Theo – ‘Petillante’

Planning for the future, the duo mention a new 15 piece collection of their own, coming in summer 2016. “I am working on it and I’d like to launch next year. We will start in acetate with a few combination styles. The aim will be to create a collection that fits with our specialism in vintage, with, of course emphasis on artisan quality and precision.” Further details at www.specstacular.london CN

40, Cheshire Street, London E2 6EH 

Rigards – Elegant and Sculpted Aesthetics

Metalloid Frames by Innovator Ti Kwa

Napoleon III used aluminium plates for state dinners – and Jules Verne – in his novel –  “Journey to the Moon” – describes an aluminium space rocket. Now Ti Kwa at RIGARDS, uses this exceptional and naturally occurring metal for sculpted frames. This traditional material is strong, yet lightweight, durable and non-toxic. The result is five marvellously crafted designs in three colours – grey, ink blue, and gold.

Sanjuro by RIGARDS from the Metalloid Collection
Sanjuro by RIGARDS from the Metalloid Collection

Creative shapes for men and women that embrace RIGARDS gutsy, yet refreshing eyewear expressions, enhance the designs. The frames feature specially created screw-less hinges, and innovatively designed nose-pads for superb fit. For more info on RIGARDS Metalloid directional frames, visit www.rigards.com JG

 

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