Monday, 19 January 2015

Here is how to Res/Rei.

Acetate is one of my favourite materials for eyewear. I keep coming across incredible kaleidoscopic textures, new and vintage, then there are the tortoiseshells, created as an environmentally friendly alternative to real tortoiseshell as our ancestors used to kill tortoiseshells to make frames out of their shells.
I think a lot of people like acetate for it's retro' feel and so many brands have based their whole aesthetic on acetate frames, even more have adopted a simplistic approach to this material; "we'll design a few nice shapes, cut them out, polish them and then assemble them". Not RES/REI. They used their skill, teamed up with the best workshops and the most renown acetate material manufacturer (Mazzucchelli in Varese, of course!). This is how this material is made.

Then RES/REI started experimenting with this material in their workshop, pushing the limits of its versatility by making it super fine, bonding different patterns, milling away the layers... And here are my favourite  experiments.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

The beauty and strength of harsh environments

The Dolomites, once the Italian Alpine area where most of the eyewear in the world was produced, has now become the source of inspiration for a new breed of independent designers. What they are looking for are not the pretty, bucolic picture of sunny, crisp skies and green pastures. It's the essence of those mighty rocks, vertiginous heights, freezing temperatures, the beauty and strength of these environments that made an impression on brands like Hapter and Ottomila, and most importantly the spirit of exploration that is part of this world.

What inspired me to write this post was Channel 4's art docu on winter (as well as my origin, at the foothills of the Dolomites).

Cold winters and remote mountains are no longer a threat as they did in the past because we live a comfortable life; now we associate cold and snow to apr├Ęs-ski party time, bright colours and snow goggles. Instead Ottomila and Hapter have been looking at our atavistic human need for protection and shelter when designing their very minimal collection; only two or three very sleek styles, with a no frills, no nonsense retro sport look. Both brands manufacture at the foothills of the mighty Dolomites.

Ottomila: limited edition of 8000 numbered copies (Ottomila means 8000 in Italian). Crisp, completely flat, mineral lens. Leather or retro acetate rim sleeves. You must check out their tumbler for times-gone-by alpine looks.

Hapter M02M | Icons  range: a special fusion of surgical steel to high-end in contrasting fabric by Cerruti Woolen Mills 1881. Almost-flat, scratch resistant ZEISS sun lenses. The need to find shelter from nature is most poignant in this recent video.

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Monday, 5 January 2015

100% Royal College of Art

This year I will be following 100% Optical's Design Competition earlier in the development stages.  I will share with you the work of the finalists as well as some of the projects that didn't make the cut, as some of them are them really off-centre. Remember last year's projects?

The Eyewear Design Competition was organised in collaboration with the world-renowned Royal College of Art and entailed its students being invited to submit designs for eyewear under two main categories: Couture or Ready to Wear.

From an initial 55 entries across a variety of creative courses, three finalists have been selected for each competition category. Their work will be made up as prototypes by Algha Works in London and will go on show to several thousand eyewear industry professionals at 100% Optical in February 2015.

I will tell you more about each finalist's project soon, in the meantime here is a sneak preview of their work!

Honggang Lu - Ready to Wear

Ring glasses.

Elizabeth Lee - Ready to Wear

Light tattoo.

Alice Howard-Graham - Ready to Wear

Shadow patterns.

Xiao Xu Wu - Couture

Headpiece for the earless.

Sari Rathel - Couture

Eyes-to-head sequence.

Hannah Evans - Couture

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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Happy New Marsala!

The guys at Pantone have come up with Marsala, the most flattering Colour of the Year for eyewear, so far.

"Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth"

Leatrice Eiseman
Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute

Happy 18-1438 New Year!

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Cork Oak & Nylon Dust

I should have titled this post "In search of the perfect fit". I am forever looking for the perfect glasses to fit my (and others) face and a lot of the time I get so caught up with aesthetic and forget glasses have to fit comfortably too. So, Adrian Gögl came to the rescue, with a solution for opticians to adopt.

A 3D scan of your nose is taken (yes, 3D is collecting facial information, not just 3D print things), then a negative form of the nose is milled out of a small piece of cork which is attached to 3D printed nylon glasses, et voila' they sit just there where they are meant to, no more sliding down the nose...and more importantly, cork is soft enough to prevent ugly pressure marks!

The frames are then dyed, a bit like what Mykita do with Mylon.

The case is also made of cork, milled to the exact shape of the glasses.

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Friday, 7 November 2014

Romeo Gigli - A Serene Elegance

Romeo Gigli - original 90s vintage

details from the A/W 1989-90 show

Romeo Gigli was part of that late 80's/early 90's zeitgeist who looked at faraway lands and cultures for inspiration. His father was an antiquarian book dealer and his mother a contessa, after the loss of both his parents he dropped out of university and decided to travel the world, this is where he starts collecting fabrics, objects and ideas from the places he visited, the strongest influence being from the Silk Route, Iran, Morocco and Istanbul.

I remember Gigli's opulent brocades, rich velvets and raw silks, breathtakingly beautiful and executed in calm, graceful dresses and coats. This was back in the mid 90's and I will forever remember his Spring/Summer '98 show as the first one I have ever been to. At the time his career was nearing a sad end and his creations are almost completely forgotten today. You can read an interesting article about this on the Telegraph.

But no brand can hide from the scourers of vintage archives and in the same way Gigli bought back inspiration from his travels, I can see Romeo Gigli's opulent heritage is inspiring fashion today. I recognised those swaths of fabric wrapped around the body, the soft volume at the hip and the serene elegance at The Row's show, this September.

With Modern Vintage I found a range of beautiful pieces, the small shapes, single top bridge and delicate details all remind me of that day at Gigli's 90's show, when I thought his eyewear was the most inspiring in the world.

Benedetta Barzini in Romeo Gigli - photo Paolo Roversi

Romeo Gigli - original 90s vintage

Persian Collection 1994

Romeo Gigli - original 90s vintage

1987 ad - photo Paolo Roversi
Romeo Gigli - original 90s vintage

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Eyespectacle + 100%Optical

Remember last March's post on the Royal College of Art and 100%Optical's design competition? Well, I am honoured to have been selected as media partner for the next edition of the fair. The event will take place in London in February (I know, it's still a while away!) and I look forward to report back on lots of new and exciting brands, designs and hopefully some more young eyewear enthusiast's design this spot!

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Thursday, 25 September 2014

#0000000001 Seeing is believing

Percy Lau has always been interested in the body and how visual perception helps us make sense of the world. Her highly conceptual new accessories collection #0000000001, made of single to triple layered lens, is a study on extensions to the human’s body. It almost looks like these Calder-like kinetic sculptures where designed to condition our movements and how we see the world through them, maybe even make us more aware of our bodies.

If you want to see the real deal, Percy's Paris exhibition opens tomorrow, the 26th of September and runs until the 27th of September.

Tapis Rouge
67 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

"I wanted to create something so transparent and light and weightless but at the same time not too nostalgic".

Bora Aksu’s spring summer 2015 collection was a tribute to the delicacy of paper dolls and the grace and power of nineteenth century ballerina Marie Taglioni. The collection's fluid movements of silks, tulles and clear crystal acetate create a sense of lightness and innocence.

These sunglasses from the catwalk show, a collaboration with bespoke eyewear brand Tom Davies are another find from my latest perusals at Somerset House during LFW.


Photo detail - JEFF BOUDREAU



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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Industrious Termites

I learned now that whenever I get invited to Termite's new collection presentations I'll be in for a surprise. Despite my best efforts, I can never anticipate what their next move will be. The open minded approach to eyewear showed some striking acetate and (signature) reclaimed laminate birchwood geometric creations. The results are made all the more interesting by Termite's pure experimental design approach, in their new collection you can see the whole journey; material and construction limitations as well as avant-garde design, all laid bare, through the tinted crystal (reclaimed) acetate of the detailing.

Here are some pictures from LFW at Somerset House.

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