Swiss design, Sol Sol Ito: 044 DF

Swiss design label Sol Sol Ito has some memorable shapes amongst its ‘Original’ collection, of which the 039 and 035 are two of the standout shapes (find more of the models at https://www.eyestylist.com/2019/05/sol-sol-ito-captivating-sun-styles-that-sizzle/). This month, another standout one has joined the series, based on a classic teardrop pilot shape with a beautiful double bridge. A close inspection reveals a slight lift on the upper rim and a svelte ‘sculpted’ lower rim, typical of the 1970s (both the acetate and metal designs in this genre).

044 DF: the makings of an icon at Sol Sol Ito, Switzerland

Colours at Sol Sol Ito come together as if from an artist’s palette, with some of the most outstanding yet subtle graduated tones we are currently seeing and a choice of rich hues as well as transparent ‘crystal’ pastel tones. The new 044 DF frame is offered in hand polished yellow-green, brown-orange and beige-gold – paired with the lightweight modular ‘click-in’ temples,  the design of which Sol Sol Ito has become especially well-known.

Sol Sol Ito glasses and sunglasses are produced by design duo Monika Fink (designer/sculptor) and Sandra Kaufmann (co-head, industrial design, Zurich University) in Switzerland. Their sun and optical collections are stocked by some of the finest opticians worldwide including Auerbach & Steele (London). For more details and further stockists, visit www.solsolito.com. Above: Photography for Sol Sol Ito by Hans Hansen.

John Lennon’s glasses in London auction

Sotheby’s to auction items from across The Beatles’s career including iconic Oliver Goldsmith wire-framed sunspecs

Described by the auction house as “The most iconic sunglasses in rock and roll history”, the round metal rimmed glasses were given to Lennon for a role in the film ‘How I Won the War’ and caught on as his signature look. They later came into the possession of The Beatles’s’ chauffeur, Alan Herring, left behind in the back of his Mercedes.

John Lennon sunglasses by Oliver Goldsmith c. 1966 – owned by chauffeur Alan Herring and now going to auction

“In the summer of 1968 I had picked John up with Ringo and George in Ringo’s Mercedes and driven the boys into the office,” recalls Herring. “When John got out of the car I noticed he’d left these sunglasses on the back seat and one lens and one arm had become disconnected. I asked John if he’d like me to get them fixed for him. He told me not to worry, they were just for the look! He said he’d send out for some that fit. I never did get them mended – I just kept them as they were as John had left them.”

Archive image of model Cluj – which was available in three colours. Image by kind permission of Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses

The glasses themselves were a version of the model ‘Cluj’ (see above) and an example with the same gold finish is still to be found in the Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses London archive, according to Claire Goldsmith, Oliver’s great granddaughter and custodian to an extensive rare collection of Oliver Goldsmith original frames with a rich and fascinating history. Claire said: “John Lennon was renowned for his eyewear and in particular the round metal frames we made for him. To be the brand that designed them is something we are very proud of.”

An original silkscreen poster, 1200 x 905mm., c.1967, pinholes in each corner (from the Apple Boutique) – with reference to John’s iconic round eyeglasses

The Beatles sale includes a number of other curious items including the psychedelic portrait of Lennon by Larry Smart (above). Also up for sale are a semi-acoustic guitar owned by George Harrison (guide price £40,000 to £60,000), shirts worn by the band, a parking ticket, and a collection of items from the homes of The Beatles, which include a toaster.

In 2007, a pair of Lennon’s sunglasses – worn during the band’s 1966 tour of Japan –  were expected to fetch £1 million pounds, according to The Telegraph. The final amount paid for the glasses was never disclosed.  (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1559161/John-Lennons-sunglasses-sold-at-auction.html).

The Sotheby’s auction takes place online from 2pm GMT on 6th December 2019 – 13th December 2019. For more information visit www.sothebys.com . All rights reserved. Photography: @ Sotheby’s Auction House / PA

Auerbach & Steele, London

Auerbach & Steele have moved to a new location, a few doors down, at 123 Kings Road, London

The prestigious optical store on London’s fashionable Kings Road – Auerbach & Steele – has moved to a state-of-the-art 3 storey architect-designed retail space just a few doors down from its original location.

Visible from the street, a vast minimal contemporary open space at ground level is now home to one of the UK’s most comprehensive and diverse selections of fine independent eyewear collections for which the practice has become a trendsetter and point of reference.

Auerbach & Steele: a stunning display of innovative eyewear

Distributed through the basement and two further floors beyond the main retail space, the practice also offers 2 private consulting rooms for eye testing and styling appointments, its own lens lab and one of the UK’s most unique dedicated spaces for beautiful, colorful kid’s eyewear. In line with its reputation for clinical excellence, the new location is fitted with cutting edge testing equipment, for the most comprehensive eye examination.

High ceilings and beautiful displays at Auerbach & Steele, London

Curated by Gail Steele and a long-serving team of optics and design experts, the eyewear collections at Auerbach & Steele offer something for everyone including minimal design labels from Scandinavia, colorful British eyewear classics, exciting 3D printed frames and the most highly regarded avant-garde and statement eyewear from cities like Berlin and Zurich.

Gail Steele told Eyestylist: “Since we opened Auerbach & Steele in 1996, I have been dedicated to marrying absolute clinical and technical excellence alongside the dispensing of ever changing beautiful, cool and unusual frames which we source, and often have made,  from around the world. We are thrilled to now be able to offer our special service from our beautiful new luxurious space spread across four  floors.” Visit Auerbach & Steele at 123, King’s Road, London, SW3 www.auerbach-steele.com CN

Rigards x Uma Wang exclusive collaboration

Sources of inspiration include ancient mosaics, 19th century eyewear + Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

A second collaboration series between artisan fashion designer Uma Wang and the avant-garde eyewear innovators from Hong Kong, Rigards caught the attention of Paris Fashion Week at the fashion designer’s much talked about RTW Spring 2020 catwalk show.

The two designs – UW5 and UW10 – are intentionally closely linked to the previous models, with an aesthetic derived from 19th century eyewear.  Above: backstage at Uma Wang, Paris Fashion Week – collaboration design UW10

UW10 (The Shanghai)

UW10, (a codename for the 10th anniversary of Wang’s brand) was undertaken as a follow-up design to the successful prior collaboration design, the UW1.

Conceived from a thread that runs through Wang’s latest collection (the golden age of Pompeii), Rigards’ Ti Kwa says they “zoomed in on the smallest element of the decorative arts of the Roman Empire, extrapolating it into something uncommonly inventive.”  An eco-friendly bio-acetate is used for the side shield inspired by ancient mosaic glass tiles—” these are as vivid now as they were 2000 years ago, relicts of Pompeii preserved by Vesuvius and the passage of time.”

Rigards x Uma Wang : UW10 (The Shanghai)

A further historic inspiration came from the extraordinary stained glass windows at Barcelona’s Sagrada Família, conceptualized by the great Antoni Gaudi and designed and produced by artist Joan Vila-Grau, a highlight of Kwa’s recent tour to Barcelona.
This frame, nicknamed “The Shanghai”, honors another artistic treasure, particularly dear to Wang. The exquisite Old Shanghai Art Deco stained glass windows are a legacy of the once-flourishing, now forgotten Jesuit Tushanwan Orphanage and its exceptional young foundling apprentices. The frame is produced in five spectacular shades, each one a literal rendering of seeing the world through tinted specs.

Rigards x Uma Wang UW5

With an aesthetic derived from 19th century eyeware, UW5 (The Victorian II) reflects the design vocabulary of UW3, a prior collaboration with a minimal silhouette.
The so called “owl-eye” style has been increased in size and thus works ideally for wider faces. “Building with copper allows the application of our exclusive, proprietary ‘Time Machine’ hand-aging process,” says Ti Kwa. “What emerged wer the most beautiful examples of metal coloring—expressive, painterly patina that further enhance the personality of the frames, as though weathered by the passing decades.”

Rigards x Uma Wang, backstage

Uma Wang’s Pompeii inspired show took place in Paris in September featuring the collaboration frames with Rigards on the catwalk.  For more information about the two brands visit www.rigards.com and www.umawang.com CN

Kerin Rose Gold: a-morir is 11 years old

Designer to the stars Kerin Rose Gold says she is celebrating 11 years of a-morir, her creative eyewear, accessories and ‘objets d’art’ business in New York. Photography (above): Sophy Holland

I understand you are celebrating a milestone after a very busy 10 years! What does that feel like and has it been an exciting time for you? The 10th year went by so fast, and the studio has been so busy! Believe it or not, we’re on our 11th year. a-morir started casually and took off unexpectedly, it’s been hard to keep track. I kept meaning to plan some sort of celebration or dinner for my closest friends and biggest supporters and I just confirmed an 11th birthday party at the beginning of December. I have also created an online-only collection named after some of my best friends. I’m also preparing for a digital sample sale that include some one of a kind pieces from my archive.

Is all your work in eyewear today? While eyewear is where I started and remains a-morir’s ‘heartbeat’ I’ve had the pleasure of expanding. I had been doing custom crystal work for my big eyewear clients like Rihanna and Lady Gaga, and that half of the business has expanded beyond celebrities to private clients and large corporations. I’ve had the pleasure of working with J.Lo, Missy Elliott, Serena Williams, Cardi B, Lizzo and Halsey on non eyewear projects.

I’m also releasing accessories and art ‘objets’; a-morir started out of things I’d made for myself – which I still do in my free time. When my friends have seen those pieces, they’ve asked to purchase them as well.

Choi – Crystal – a-morir style

One of my favorite recent ventures has been working with clients on custom eyewear pieces. I go back and forth with clients via email; if they are in NYC they come to the studio for a design session. A  week later they get a custom piece shipped to their private address.

What is your fondest memory in the last years? There are many! I suppose highlights include a shout out from Rihanna on TV and being selected by Vogue Italia as a new talent in 2011. Today, every time someone orders one of my pieces online I still get a thrill. I’ve recently launched the first ever bridal eyewear line – it came with a beautiful profile on Vogue.com!

Are you located exclusively in NYC or are you travelling a lot for shows and commissions? I’m lucky that I get to stay in NYC. Nearly all of my creative collaborators and companies I work with are based here. The studio is skilled at shipping our pieces to anyone who isn’t. At the beginning of my career, I was based in a luxury accessories showroom in Europe and moved on to the Paris fashion tradeshows; I was receiving a lot of email inquiries from boutiques around the world and selling to them, but I wasn’t finding buyers at the tradeshows or in showrooms who were interested in what I was doing. Around the same time, I grew tired of doing large collections twice a year and I took a risk and went back to the way I was doing things when I first started; it has been better for me to design when I am inspired and release pieces through my website. I now try to travel just for fun. This leaves me stimulated and invigorated when I return home and get back to work.

Lena by a-morir: from the Bridal Collection

How will you celebrate your 11th “company” birthday? With the December party…and a Zine produced with my wonderful husband. It’s a limited edition ‘self published DIY magazine’ to share our story. I see it as a ‘loveletter’ about the last 11 years.

Have you got plans for the next few years that you can talk about or is it top secret? Some things are top secret, but I look forward to finding new ways to push the boundaries of my eyewear, expanding the bridal line, creating more eyewear x jewelry sets, and doing more fun collaborations! I love the teamwork involved in collaboration, and look forward to doing fun things with brands and boutiques that I love. I’ve also finally teamed up with a wonderful lens laboratory who are handling prescriptions for my collection, and that part of the business is taking off. The lenses are beautiful and I’ve had a lot of clients get extraordinary pieces filled in their eyeglass prescription; seeing the frame transformation and how they are worn is a thrill!

Ayesha crystal fringe collector showpiece

What is your focus in your design work today? Tell us about the highlights in the collection for 2019. Now that I’ve gone back to my roots, I’m excited to be experimenting with over the top avantgarde pieces again. One of my most favorite recent designs is the Ayesha. I’ve had the honor of working with Preciosa Components, and am obsessed with their black plated chain. I wanted to make something extravagant out of it and this is what I wound up with! I originally said it has 75 feet of chain, (approx. 25 meters) per piece but I think it may be more. I’ve sold more of those than I have some of my more conservative releases from the same collection.

You are dressing many celebrities. What is the best thing about working closely with celebrities? Superstar celebrities have access to everything in the world – I’ve seen it first hand – knowing that they have chosen to wear something from ­a-morir is flattering because they don’t have to. I’m not giving them anything for free and I’m not paying them for endorsement – they’re doing it because they love the design and trust in my creativity and artistic process. What I do isn’t limited to celebrities, that’s also important; I have a handful of wonderful private clients in NYC and abroad. They tell me what they want and trust me to execute their vision. For more details about a-morir, visit www.a-morir.com / www.amorirprojects.com CN