Fashion has now fully embraced wood; it's sculpted into state-of-the-art heels on shoes, jewellery, evening bags and eyewear and never have I seen as many wooden frames as this year at Silmo in Paris, the fair was awash with them!
One brand stood out though, mainly because of it's genuine connection with the woodland. W-eye's wood artist founder Doriano just seemed very familiar; where I come from in the Alps, in the North East of Italy (so not far from where Doriano grew-up) there is a deep connection with the woodland (so powerful that you believe in the spirits of the woodland!), also my dad is a (rather eccentric) wood artist as well.
Doriano already had a lifelong experience crafting wood, in fact his family had started making chairs in the '60s and his curiosity and experimentation lead him to apply the same techniques (bent single sheet of plywood without joints) to make... glasses!
Though the material is worked in a traditional way there is a lot of technology behind it. Between the seven bonded sheets of wood there are two of aluminium which enable the wearer to mould the frames to their face shape and still retain its featherlight (10grams, I have been told) and elastic features.
But for this combination of wood and technology to be successful Doriano needed a designer's talents to capture the product's essence and to turn it into an aesthetic form. This led to the collaboration between Doriano and designer Matteo Ragni; true to nature even in the choice of names, the Bee-eater was born.
video by Alpi, the people who supply W-eye.