Take a walk down luxury lane with these boutique designers who are passionate about crafting high-fashion eyewear.
There’s a small group of frame manufacturers for whom no material is too expensive, no construction process too labor-intensive and no design too detail-oriented. These creators set the benchmark for artisanship. Five designers shared their inspirations and methods in crafting some of the most exclusive, exquisite eyewear on the market.
An optometrist, architect and furniture designer, Blake Kuwahara was drawn to the creative side of the optical industry and left the clinical arena in 1990 to design eyewear for an impressive list of manufacturers including Adlens and STATE Optical Co. Kuwahara also creates frames for his own company, Focus Group West. This season, he launched nine styles that infuse color “while keeping the palette sophisticated and subtle.” Additionally, Kuwahara collaborated with L.A. Eyeworks on a limited edition model of two iconic styles, Moon and Ray. He uses a combination of Diacel and Mazzucchelli acetates to construct the styles and laminates a logo derived from his family crest within the crystalline layers of the temple tip. Celebrity fans include Elton John and Quest Love, among many others.
Known for their oversized acetates, bold titanium creations and mask-like wraps, Christian Roth and Eric Domège pioneered the use of titanium for bold sunglasses in the 90’s, The duo, which design under the Christian Roth name, are passionate about eyewear.
They are believers of oversized shapes as long as they make the wearer look chic, sexy and fabulous. “Craft, quality and innovative details are very important,” Domège said. Since the Christian Roth brand was acquired in September 2015, the first post-acquisition collection will be launched in the fall of 2016.
Founded 21 years ago by Pascal Jaulent and Nadine Roth, Face Ã Face (launched by parent company Architecture) was built on handmade frames “designed with a unique plural color range that has come to symbolize the brand’s trademark. The eyewear also reflects a combination of materials and details on the front and temple tips; one especially unique look are temples that look like legs ending in shoes. New for 2016, there’s the aluminum-based Alium collection, which has plural colorations of striking contrasting colors. Adict is a multi-laminate acetate that includes a light shine at the top of the eyebrow. Styles Misha, Philo and Sharp include laminates and overlays of contrasting colors.
Layers of Luxury
After designing and consulting on many of the world’s most successful premier eyewear collections, Robert Marc launched his own signature collection in 1999. Highest quality acetates and titanium are used as well as genuine horn. Marc is known for layering, contrasting and using complementary colors and patterns to create depth and glamour in each handcrafted frame. “I am passionate about the tradition of artisanal, handcrafted eyewear, because for me, quality and craftsmanship are paramount to design,” he said. The spring/summer 2016 launch is a modern interpretation of the experience of nature. Materials, colors, combinations and shapes embody the essence of nature’s tranquility and beauty.
Fashion with a Cause
Founded by designer Sheila Vance, Sama is an ancient term meaning “no beginning and no end,” which personifies Sheila’s underlying philosophy of life. Styles are created using beta titanium, custom Japanese acetate, leather, wood and a range of liquid 24K gold and pure platinum lenses. Special details include laser cutting, layered materials in acetate, cloisonné inlays and layers of metal and even feathers. New 2016 styles include Thomas Wylde, Loree Rodkin Double Vision and deCODE Los Angeles, which continue the designer’s tradition that every collection serves a special fashion purpose with a mission. A portion of the annual net profits are donated every year to the Sam Vance Foundation, a non-profit organization benefiting at-risk youths.
WHERE TO FIND IT: