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.

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

Meccano by Vanni Nico Design

Meccano by Vanni

Nico Design

Turin’s Nico Design has some particularly outstanding optical frames in its Vanni collection. I have not tried this frame on, but the technical side of the Meccano line is interesting. There are 3 sizes of temple for a good fit and as well as stainless steel styles, there are several combination ones, using stainless steel and a very decorative acetate that is reminiscent of a natural horn, as seen in this image above. In the UK, there are plenty of opticians stocking these handsome Italian designs, so it isn’t as hard as you might expect to get your hands on them. I am told by the UK distributor that Vanni is currently available at Black and Lizars (Scotland), Roger Pope, Dulwich Village, Frames in the Lanes, Brighton, and Derek Spivack (Mayfair).

Showroom Baricole Nico Design
Show Room Baricole, Nico-Design


Nico Design is steeped in design history…and is proud of its “passion for all things lovingly crafted” with an “eye for detail”. The company has its own amazing store in Turin “the Showroom Baricole” (www.baricole.it) which is an impressive setting in itself for the presentation of the latest Vanni and Derapage ranges by the company. Should you be visiting Turin don’t miss it, it’s an eyewear emporium of the highest order. CN

Larry Gotti Switzerland

Larry at Götti Switzerland

I am one of the first lucky customers to try this frame, thanks to Sven Götti who has me wearing it just weeks after I’ve viewed the new Spin & Stow collection at the optical exhibition in Paris. This is a 100% titanium frame with temples in epoxy, a material that is soft to the touch and anti-allergenic. Götti has developed a matt finish for the epoxy which adds to the sophistication of the design. I’ve chosen a lilac front, always a good one for me given my pale complexion, teamed with neutral arms.

Apart from its streamlined elegance, the innovation that makes this frame special is the Spin and Stow mechanism which allows you to twist the temples around so that the frame can be super thin when you want to put it away in its case. It is a perfectly executed detail which you can really only appreciate if you take one in your hands and give it a go. Götti is a Swiss brand www.gotti.ch that is hard to come by in the UK but if you are in London I know that the 20/20 Optical Store (www.20-20.co.uk) on Tottenham Court Road is a stockist. CN

303 W-Eye by Matteo Ragni

303 W-Eye

Matteo Ragni

A new entry on the eyewear scene in Italy, which hasn’t yet reached the UK but it will soon. 303 has a pure shape and is made of sheets of wood and aluminium which may sound a bit surprising….but the use of these two materials together has been carefully studied to offer flexibility and a curvature in the frame that moulds to the wearer’s face. This style features the tropical timber Wenge; other woods featured in the collection are maple, ebony, cherry, walnut and there are more! A very precise artisanal production technique is used to make each model…and the varnishing and finishing is all done by hand.