Sunday 30 October 2011

Friday 28 October 2011

Sunglasses or glasses on La Brae Street - you decide

HiStyley has long provided EWG with some of our most exciting shots. I love these 1970s/80s lightly tinted shades - the size, shape, the black at the top the contrasts at the sides but fades in the moddle to the light / crystal below... don't know who the glasses are by...

Thursday 27 October 2011

JF Rey: start to finish at Silmo 2011 (video)

French eyewear design supremos JF Rey give you a taste of this month's Silmo fair in Paris...

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Jono Hennessey glasses: fabric frames and belt buckle metals

Jono Hennessey fabric frames and belt buckle bins

Jono Hennessey fabric frames and belt buckle bins

Jono Hennessey is an Australian brand with a rich heritage going back to 1925 and it was one of my highlights from Paris. Above are some laminated fabric frames from the Art collection, which are simply excellent quality. A manufacturing method developed with Mazzucchelli in the 1980s ensures there are no threads emerging at the edges, which cannot be said for a few other fabric laminates I've seen of late.
And below is Rancho Deluxe. Inspired by Wild West belt buckles, the moulds took two weeks to hand carve. Limited edition runs and truly amazing to the touch.
Jono Hennessey fabric frames and belt buckle bins

Thursday 20 October 2011

Cult Eyewear: The World’s Enduring Classics - must-have glasses book

In the 1950s Oliver Goldsmith was one of the first brands to appear regularly in the women's fashion magazines. Picture: Oliver Goldsmith
Few books are written about glasses so when I heard about Neil Handley’s book’s imminent publication via a number of highly respected eyewear designers, all of whom had been consulted in its creation, I knew it must be good.

Disappoint, it does not.

Cult Eyewear is a coffee table tome worth its place in any home.

Eyewear enthusiast or not, anyone with an eye for design or fashion will struggle not to enjoy every carefully illustrated page.

The 1973 Mary Quant 03 model. Photo: The College of Optometrists/Elliott Franks, courtesy of Arckiv
Any book that tries to describe a cult in any manner, be it film, music, or in this case eyewear, will have its work cut out. 'Cult' can be tricky to define. As time passes, one person’s cult can become another’s mainstream.

Robert La Roche 349, circa 1985. Photo: Robert La RocheA few brands, in my opinion, are conspicuous by their absence; and others, on first glance, by their presence. But in his defence, Handley acknowledges that it is an “inevitably somewhat personal selection from the myriad of designer fashion brands...”

He justifies every brand’s inclusion and, as curator of the British Optical Association Museum, the depth of knowledge being shared is always apparent.
Cazal 163 from 1985. Photo: Op Couture Brillen / Cazal
ic! berlin Adlerbrille 9615 from 2007. Photo: ic! Berlin Brillen

Amusingly, he begins by pointing out that this book “not so long ago, would have annoyed many opticians”. He immediately differentiates Cult Eyewear from any book on the history of vision correction, and makes it clear that this book is a celebration of the aesthetic.

Mykita Emmanuelle from 2010, photographed by Mark Borthwick. Photo: Mykita.
The introduction gives an enlightening history of eyewear style, all the way back to the “Nuremberg Masterpiece” from 1663, by Melchior Schelke, “designed less for wear than to demonstrate his prowess”, through numerous brands such as Metzler, Tura in the 1960s and 1970s, to frames by Swatch in1993, Alyson Magee in 2007, right up to Silhouette’s virtual mirror app on an iPhone.

These first 10 pages end perhaps a little too fast but what follows is the book's core, with 31 chapters each focusing on an eyewear brand– or family of brands – with cult status. And the selection is magnificent. It includes names I was unaware of, but will now actively seek out. And while it included a few stories I am familiar with – at CW Dixey & Son, Oliver Goldsmith andmore recently Mykita – frequently Handley has unearthed additional intriguing detail.

These chapters are occasionally interspersed with features on famous glasses wearers (Elton John, John Lennon, Elvis Presley), films and books that include eyewear (American Psycho, Blues Brothers, Easy Rider) and opticians who have pioneered the “cosmetic effect of eyewear”.

A spread on Silhouette
A spread on l.a. EyeworksHandley has clearly researched his material well and most people will learn a great deal (I particularly liked the glossary!).

Anecdotal gems are scattered throughout. There’s Udo Proksch, a designer for Viennaline, Serge Kirchhofer, Optyl and ChristianDior, who attempted an insurance fraud worth 31 million Swiss francs.

There’s the fact the designers behind Dame Edna Everage’s bespoke handmade frames ,would inscribe the inside temple with the line “A hand job by Anglo American”.

There’s the tale of the founders of ic! berlin, before they’d established the company, being caught “illegally” selling on a staircase at Mido, the major trade fair in Milan, and fleeing to the exhibition stand of Robert La Roche. Many more such yarns are dotted among the pages.

The breadth of information is terrific and each time I dip into another chapter, I find out something else. But it is the pictures that steal the show. There's a tonne of great images, a mere handful of which I've been kindly allowed to feature here (hover over pictures for captions).

Cult Eyewear is spectacular in every sense, and it will no doubt help me improve Eye Wear Glasses over the coming years. So when I meet you Mr Handley, I think I must owe you a pint!

Cult Eyewear: The World's Enduring Classics by Neil Handley
Published by Merrell. UK £29:95, US $49:95, 192pp.
English ISBN: 9781858945095

Also available in French:
Lunettes cultes : Les classiques intemporels
EUR49.00 ISBN: 9782884531696

Buy your copy: UK | USA | France | Deutschland | España | Italia

The following is a list of the brands to be profiled in detail. But many other names are featured too alongside these: CW Dixey & Son, American Optical, Anglo American, Cartier, Kirk Brothers, Kirk Originals, Persol, Oliver Goldsmith, Algha, Mary Quant, Savile Row, Ray-Ban, Pierre Marly, Carrera, Porsche Design, Michael Birch, Viennaline, Serge Kirchhofer, Vuarnet, Neostyle, Silhouette, Christian Dior, Cutler and Gross, Lafont, Robert La Roche, Cazal, Alain Mikli, l.a. Eyeworks, Police, Theo, JF Rey, ic! Berlin, Mykita, TD Tom Davies and RVS by V.

All pictures are credited - hover over images to see credits.

RVS by V glassses from 2008

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Wooden frames get colourful, but only on FEB31st

FEB31st Crux glasses

FEB31st Ara glasses

FEB31st Auriga glasses

FEB31st is a new brand from Italy which is providing a new take on wooden frames by creating a collection in natural wooden finishes but in bright colours inside and/or outside.

Designer Valerio Cometti presented the new collection earlier this month in Paris. FEB21st says its frames weigh only 21 grams, they have a reinforced nosepads and a clever method for getting the lenses in.

From the top: Crux (x3), Ara and Auriga. The FEB31st collection includes nine models: four for men, three for women and two unisex; four of these frames are available also for sunglasses. Below, three more Crux and Cygnus Sun.

FEB31st Crux glasses

FEB31st Cygnus sunglasses

Monday 17 October 2011

Stella McCartney SS2012: eco-friendly eyewear

Stella McCartney SS2012: eco-friendly eyewear: SM4030 sunglasses

Stella McCartney SS2012: eco-friendly eyewear: SM3011 sunglasses

Stella McCartney SS2012: eco-friendly eyewear: SM4029 sunglasses
Stella McCartney launches an “eco-friendly” collection of sunglasses for next summer, using injected bio-plastic, which is made from 54% castor-oil seeds, a renewable resource. The organic castor plants grow in poor soil in semi-arid areas, using little water, very few pesticides and omit a lower CO2 emission.

The collection is composed of two acetate models and three metal models which are available in a range of neutral tones, including browns, greens, greys, nudes and berries. From the top: SM4030, SM 3011 and SM4029.

Right, an image from Summer 2012 runway featuring large dress-matching sunglasses (model unknown).

Sunday 16 October 2011

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation

RVS by V glasses and sunglasses x Isnik Tile Foundation
RVS by V handmade glasses are famed for their bright matt colours so to move away from that would require something special. So here it is, an RVS by V collaboration with Turkey's Iznik Tile Foundation. The patterns used in this limited edition colection are simply beautiful and the contrast with the matt block colours behind works perfectly! Below is a video from Cool Hunting, all about Iznik tiles.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Tabula Rasa sunglasses from Lunettes Kollektion

As featured in my 12 frames for 2012 video from Paris, this is Tabula Rasa from Lunettes Kollektion, in champagne above and black below. Certainly one of my highlights from the Silmo show.

Friday 14 October 2011

Sew good: Burberry SS2012 sunglasses

Sew good: Burberry SS2012 sunglasses

Am liking these Burberry sunglasses for 2012, from the catwalk at London Fashion Show...

Thursday 13 October 2011

Parasite Vamp sunglasses - incy wincy spider...

Parasite Eyewear never does things by halves, and I've always liked that. It describes this sunglass, Vamp, as "pure stylistic artwork design... it is meant to be unreasonable and extravangant". As a design I think it's incredible, there's so much movement: like a spider, ready to pounce. Perfect for a Halloween party!

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Lindberg's horn and titanium frame wins top tech prize at Silmo

Lindberg Horn 1801 glasses

Lindberg Horn 1802 glasses

Lindberg Horn 1803 glasses

Lindberg has a strong history of innovation so it's great to see it get the recognition it deserves with a Silmo d'Or in Paris. I had a good look at these Horn glasses in Paris and can confirm that the way the horn front fixes to the titanium sides is indeed clever stuff. And as these images testify, the join is far from clumsy. From the top: Lindberg 1801, 1802 and 1803.

Monday 10 October 2011

Legend has it: Cazal 623, 856, 901 and 904

Legend has it: Cazal 623

Legend has it: Cazal 856

Legend has it: Cazal 901

Legend has it: Cazal 904
Cazal is one of the most sought after brands in eyewear. Overwhelmingly original it became a favoured hip hop brand in the 1980s and its German designer Cari Zalloni and his team continue to create "maximalist" designs, which pay little attention, if any, to dominant trends.

Here are four styles reissued from the 1980s and available now in limited editions. Top is Cazal 623, next Cazal 856, then Cazal 901, and finally Cazal 904.