Cutler and Gross: new Mercer St. store in NYC

After more than a decade at 110 Mercer Street, Cutler and Gross has announced the opening of a new larger NYC store, located in the same popular neighbourhood. Built in the early 1920s, the pre-war 2,400 square-foot space is located at 71 Mercer Street, and presents a ‘new look’ for the brand, due to be rolled out across the other five locations.

The Soho space was designed by brothers Chris Leong and Dominic Leong of Leong Leong – an internationally renowned New York-based architecture studio. “We envisioned the store somewhere between an informal social club and a minimalist contemporary gallery,” shares Chris Leong, “Customers can either lounge on one of the couches or wander around the space and explore the styles that line the walls.”

Sophisticated furniture and contemporary frame display in the new store on Mercer Street

Described by the company as a social, contemporary store with hardwearing fabrics and luxury accents – the interior has been conceived to simultaneously celebrate the Cutler and Gross’ British roots in 1960s London and ushers in a modern mood. The space will be populated with iconic props by London designers from the 60s and 70s, as well as emerging pioneers, including Axel and Mélissa Chay, and Philippe Malouin. Works by renowned designer Matthew Hilton, Verner Panton, and ceramicist Nicola Tassi will also feature.

Featuring wrapped granite shelving and a curved oak tambour wall, the space offers a refined lobby – a welcoming social zone with soft seating – as well as a bar, where customers can browse the collections. The space culminates in what is described as the “Lounge”, complete with eye examination room and exclusive bespoke area.

The new-look collection presentation at Cutler and Gross – NYC store

Cutler and Gross began in 1969 as a bespoke spectacle maker, and the new SoHo store is also returning to this well-known aspect of its interesting heritage . 71 Mercer Street is to provide customers with the opportunity to create a truly unique frame: they will be able to choose from an array of acetates or specialist buffalo horn and personalize their frames with engraved messaging, pin detailing, and metal hardware.

To mark the opening of the store, Cutler and Gross partnered with Case Furniture, who worked closely with the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation to rerelease the iconic Forum sofa. Exclusive to Cutler and Gross, the sofa has been reupholstered in a bespoke fabrication.

Cutler and Gross, 71 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012 / www.cutlerandgross.com

All images courtesy of Cutler and Gross

Handmade for men: Duke by RES/REI

In the Gentlemen collection by RES/REI launched for the current season, model Duke exemplifies the brand’s elegant contemporary take on designing artisan eyewear styles for men – always striving for an inimitable style of sophistication and handcrafted finesse

Distinguished by bi-layer acetates and the blending of horn tones and vibrant blue or green, through the intricate 3d detailing, model Duke is part of the Gentlemen collection conceived to suit the modern man. With its sophisticated shapes, accomplished workmanship and rich details, the frames in the line all feature 5-joint hinges and a decorative metal inner core within temples. Above: model Duke comes in six different colourways including the rich Brown Tortoise variation in acetate from Mazzucchelli 1849’s archives – the additional colourways (not pictured above and below) are – Brown Havana with slate blue and ultramarine blue; black/green; and olive green.

Detail: model Duke by RES/REI, pictured in brown horn with ultramarine blue

Decorations in this collection are inspired by the tradition of the Speakeasies that arose in the United States during Prohibition. The lettering on the inside of the frames follow this theme.

Detail: model Duke by RES/REI, pictured in grey-blue horn and green

The Gentlemen Collection by RES/REI currently boasts twelve models sorted into two main directions: the first features thicker fronts and temples, while the second is characterised by thinner profiles. Both design styles incorporate numerous masculine details. Find out more at www.resrei.com

Bril Gallery, South Africa

Bril’s Founder Werner Fourie has refurbished the original flagship store, turning it into a fun and welcoming eyewear gallery space – Bril Gallery – which brings the local community together. We caught up with him to ask about this enterprising new store experience in the beautiful wine region of Cape Winelands…

When was Bril founded and where are you based? How many stores are there now?
We embarked on our journey six years ago, establishing our flagship store in the picturesque Cape Winelands region, specifically in the charming town of Paarl. Since then, we’ve expanded to proudly operate five distinctive stores across South Africa.
What was the idea behind the Bril Gallery and when did you re-open this flagship store – was it this year?
Our Bril Gallery is a testament to our belief that every space we create is unique, with its own character and story. Originally opened six years ago as our flagship store, it was recently transformed into the Bril Gallery. Inspired by its lofty ceilings reminiscent of an art gallery, we curated an ambiance that showcases eyewear as a form of art. We’ve also incorporated playful elements, such as adding eyewear to iconic art pieces with hidden messages, creating a delightful experience for our visitors.
Bril Gallery: eyewear presented as art
What was the atmosphere you wanted to create in the Gallery space, and how have you made the space unique and fun?
At the Gallery, we aimed to cultivate a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. Our upbeat house music sets the tone, complemented by a diverse selection of refreshments that evoke a cozy coffee shop or bar vibe. Adding touches of yellow throughout, a signature color representing happiness in our brand, further enhances the sense of warmth and joy.
In your posts on Instagram, you say it is a place of “joy and happiness”. Please explain. What was your aim with the interior colors and fittings?
Our brand essence revolves around spreading happiness. Through thoughtful design elements like cheerful wall tattoos featuring inspirational quotes, pops of yellow hues, and playful eyewear keyrings, we infuse every corner with a sense of joy. Our marketing strategy embraces quirkiness to bring smiles to our customers’ faces, ensuring they leave our stores with a positive and uplifted experience.
A unique experience awaits at the gallery which has lots of special design features including a bespoke oversize collectible lens cloth and lens cleaner spray
Tell us a bit about the area where you are located and the people who shop at this special new optical haven “with wine tasting!”
Situated in South Africa’s renowned wine district, our location attracts a dynamic community of individuals who appreciate adventure, style and quality. We often host engaging events like wine tastings and collaborative art sessions with local talents, fostering a sense of community among eyewear enthusiasts and showcasing our commitment to creating memorable experiences for our customers.
What kinds of eyewear brands are you selling there, and do you find your customers have a particular focus – more on timeless design and quality, or trendsetting colors and materials?
Our diverse eyewear collection primarily features our exclusive ranges categorized into the Bril House, Bril Premium, and Bril Unique collections, catering to various style preferences. The Bril House range offers trendy and affordable options that evolve with fashion trends. In contrast, the Bril Premium range emphasizes timeless designs crafted from premium materials like Italian acetate or titanium. Our Bril Unique range showcases one-of-a-kind pieces renowned for their exceptional quality and innovative designs. Additionally, we curate select international eyewear brands not commonly found in South Africa, providing our customers with a unique and captivating selection.
Left: transport at Bril for the “Home Fit Service”; right, a pet-friendly practice – Pepe the wire haired fox terrier in residence
We have noticed some pets in residence at Bril Gallery. Tell us more!
Indeed, we have two beloved pets, Bekker and Pepe, who occasionally grace us with their presence at the store. They add a playful and endearing touch to our space, delighting customers with their charm and friendly interactions.
Bril owns stores in Paarl, George, Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Val de Vie. The Val de Vie space is described as a “concept store” with a fully equipped examination room, to be able to offer eye tests to the residents of the estate, the workers and the home owners at Evergreen. The store there also offers frames by designers from around the world. Find out more about all the different spaces by visiting www.hellobril.co.za.

Erker’s Special Reserve: new Limited Edition models

Two new refined models elevate the design of the heritage collection at Erker’s with a new polishing process, adding a range of custom elements throughout the frames, and upgrading from a standard brushed metal to a shiny silver – the ferris wheel rivets reference an important moment in the brand’s history

Combining the Erker’s family expertise, which dates back through generations, the Bouvier and Deardorf optical styles have been developed as being completely representative of the heritage of the brand and featuring detailed insignia, telling stories of the Erker family in each little detail. Found on the temple tips, a goggles icon notes their making of Charles Lindbergh’s goggles in the first ever nonstop transatlantic flight, while their year of inception and the generations of Erkers to run the business are found on the opposite side. On the interior of the temples, a custom-designed wire core is meant to resemble a microphone, a nod to the one-of-a-kind legends from the family’s hometown and some of the big-name celebrities that have sported an Erker’s frame. Ferris wheel rivets join the temple with the custom German hinge, matched by the decorative rivets on the front of the  Deardorf model featured in the collection. Above: model Deardorf by Erker’s – in the Special Reserve Limited Edition

Deardorf by Erker’s – available in blue grey, green sand, grey brown, and black red (pictured above)

Named after a veteran sales rep for a handful of their Northeast territories, the model Deardorf has a classic square shape, thick brows with a gentle curve at the bridge to offset the thinner lower rims, paired with a wide temple for a bold, sturdy style. A classic saddle bridge complements the thicker build, ensuring a comfortable fit. Matching the authentic rivets along the temples, four Ferris wheel rivets decorate the front of the frame, drawing the eyes upwards for an “uplifted” look.

The Ferris wheel is a detail that references the history of Saint Louis, where in 1904 at the World’s Fair, the very first ferris wheel rides were given. Erker’s Eyewear was the official photographer of the event.

Bouvier by Erker’s – an elegant cat eye design

Model Bouvier, named after a long-time sales rep of the North Carolina territory, features a bold and expressive silhouette. The sharp cat eye edge gives a dramatic feel, further accentuated by a narrow rectangular shape, thick rims, and a sleek straight brow. Custom designed and exclusive to Special Reserve, model Bouvier is available in four acetate blends including Burgundy Night and Antique Tort. For both frames, with the aim of retaining real exclusivity, just 100 styles of each colour have been made. For more information visit https://erkers1879.com/pages/erkers-special-reserve

Gigi Studios: colourful models, sculptural shapes

The Spanish label has created a chic capsule collection in an innovative colour palette that is perfectly in tune with the 2024 Spring/Summer season of bold and bright hues

Inspired by exotic fruits and their wealth of colours and textures, the new ‘Odd Fruits Collection’ from Gigi Studios offers colours for all faces, balancing bright tones of melon, grapefruit, guava, dragon fruit, Buddha’s hand fruit and avocado, and a few classic tones of tortoise and black. The styles, which include three sunglasses and three optical frame shapes, play with the exciting tones through translucency and subtle laminations, to create flattering fashion statements with a striking feminine allure. Above: model Citrus, a large hexagonal design – available in rich fruit-inspired colours

Odd Fruits collection by Gigi Studios – model Tender comes in four colours including the bright yellow graduated colouration

The optical styles, named Tender (above), Fresh and Acid are presented in acidic and luminous colours with bold 70s and 80s inspired geometric and oversized shapes that frame the eyes.

Odd Fruits collection by Gigi Studios – sunglass style Lush – one of the three sunglasses in this collection

The rectangular sunglass style Lush (and sister model Bitter) feature laminations that add depth and new nuances to the designs.  The design team explain that these constructions have been worked on to feature bevelling effects that add lightness and that the CR39 sun lenses have been developed in tones which match the acetate colours of the different frames. The visuals for the collection present the frames and their unique colours next to artistic still life compositions featuring the colourful exotic fruits and brightly coloured apparel against a stark minimal studio backdrop. Find out more at www.gigistudios.com