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 après-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.