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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

 

Götti Switzerland
Hall of Frames Zurich Convention Center 12-13 September 2021
OGI Eyewear

 

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 www.kirkoriginals.com

Babou Olengha

Butcher Couture

Babou brings an intriguing international background to her designs for Butcher Couture – leather frames that are created with her philosophy of “Slow Design”. That is the term that the designer uses for her framecreations that are made with traditional manufacturing processes, and working with skilled craftspeople and artisans. She is also an avid believer in using natural materials whenever possible, and likes to design frames that merge both style and functionality.

I had the pleasure of meeting the personable and charming designer last summer in Paris, and was impressed not only with her innovative frames, but her philosophy and unconventional approach to frame design.

Babou was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but grew up primarily in the UK, and attended University in England. She now divides her time between Oslo and London, perfecting her craft of Optical Tailoring in frames, which are made in France – giving a global flavour to her products.

BLACKFIN
OGI Eyewear
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MOREL par Jean Nouvel

She emphasises that the overall focus of Butcher Couture is to offer design, quality and to evoke timelessness. In addition to frames available in boutiques, customers are able to purchase and commission frames on a made-to-order basis, and clients can choose from a selection of leathers, threads and various finishes. “I’ve always enjoyed a love affair with leather, which I believe is inherently linked to my love of all things craft and artisan,” she says, “and since starting Butcher Couture in 2007, my passion for leather is a crescendo into somewhat of a full blown obsession. (more…)

Maison Bonnet, Paris

PARISIAN EYEWEAR, FIT FOR A KING

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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OGI Eyewear

BLUE MAGIC EYE

Creative spirits don’t allow a bumpy economy to interrupt plans. Despite rocky global predictions in 2009, Guya Montermini and Ciro Tugnoli launched their first eyewear collection, Blue Magic Eye, at Silmo, where we discovered them. Their risk venture paid off from the debut, as the frames are now sold all over Europe, America, Canada and New Zealand.

The charming design duo have a specific concept for their frames. “We want to create eyewear in clean and traditional shapes, but not the “usual” version,” says Montermini, “and we create frames without thinking about a special target audience. We design what we like, and think about what we would wear. It’s important that the frames are comfortable and easy to wear. We don’t like big logos on frames; that is all too showy and extreme for us.”

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Film inspiration

The unusual company name is taken from the movie, American Gangster. “Blue Magic was a famous product in the film, very competitive and very high quality. This is our philosophy for the frames,” says Montermini. (more…)