Eyestylist

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…)

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.

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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…)

A quest for the best eyewear

At the start of this new episode, we will review 5 optical frames and 5 sunglasses each month. The aim is to pick out some of the trends, and products with a special design, feature or technical attribute that we believe meet our goal in this “quest” for the best eyewear and sunglasses from around the world. Our aim is not to overload our readers – but to create a personal selection of individual pieces which we believe are representative of our times, unique in their features and absolutely worth a peep if you are into eyewear, sell glasses or sunglasses, or if you simply want to find a style for yourself that stands out from the crowd. We are fastidious about recommending quality designs. We are also pleased to hear other views and experiences so please feel free to contact us with any thoughts. Our other stories are about all kinds of subjects linked to eyewear: shops we have discovered on our travels, trends that are coming up; new gorgeous accessories; fabulous kid’s products; click on our Editorial Calendar for more…

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Tortoise jungle Robert Marc

Tortoise Jungle

Robert Marc

Robert Marc’s Tortoise Jungle is a collection of optical frames and sunglasses inspired by the organized and rhythmic pattern of tortoiseshell with new unexpected colours. Tortoise is a central theme in eyewear history but can still look thoroughly modern, as Marc proves here. And as the New York designer puts it, tortoise says beauty, quality and craftsmanship.

I have viewed the whole collection first hand and I’m a fan of the quality of the acetate teamed with clever colour proposals. The exotic interpretations work brilliantly, red spotted tortoise and chic onyx with black tortoise are for those who want a walk on the wild side.

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Robert Marc is an established luxury name in New York with an enviable celebrity following and a passion for quality, creativity and hand-finished products. If tortoise is your thing, don’t let this pass you by…   www.robertmarc.com

Paint by Numbers by KBL

New York brand KBL is relatively new in Europe. But they are already stocked by some important opticians including the Mykita Shop, Zurich (www.mykita.com), Probst Optik Switzerland and JLC Opticien in France. This is one to watch….they started in 2009 with sunglasses…now they have launched a first optical range, with a discerning approach to materials, precision milling, careful hand finishing and, they say, rigorous quality control. I may not have seen them up close but there are some cute designs and the model “Paint by Numbers” has a clever approach to vintage, combining a lovely-old-fashioned shape with fresh, hip colours and a lush finish. www.kbleyewear.com

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