Stylish specs have an eye on retro

Bright colours add oomph to eye­wear

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - Break­ing news at calgaryher­ Satur­day, Septem­ber 1, 2012 LAUREN LA ROSE

From ray-shield­ing shades to pre­scrip­tion pairs, the eyes truly have it when it comes to fram­ing faces in stylish specs.

Sherry Pounds, vi­cepres­i­dent of prod­uct for Len­sCrafters, said this fall will mark a throw­back to clas­sic styles of the ’20s, ’50s and ’80s.

“What is old is new again,” she said from Ma­son, Ohio.

“You can think like flap­per, Great Gatsby, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, kind of MTV and per­sonal com­put­ers. And re­ally, what is hap­pen­ing is with the pop­u­lar­ity of tele­vi­sion shows and movies that are be­ing cre­ated in past decades, retro styles are mak­ing a come­back this sea­son.”

Pounds said eye­wear col­lec­tions are show­ing a trend in round glasses. But she also noted the sleek cat eye — sported by screen and style icons like Brigitte Bar­dot and the late Au­drey Hep­burn — has also made a ma­jor resur­gence and quickly be­come a clas­sic style for op­ti­cal wear­ers.

Amin Mam­dani, vi­cepres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions and buyer for Joseph­son Op­ti­cians in Toronto, said retro styles are among those trans­lat­ing from adult eye­wear to “Mini-Me” frames for the younger crowd — al­beit with a fresh twist.

“You are see­ing a lot of the way­farer kind of look which is the chunkier plas­tics, but with colour,” he said.

“So there’s a lot of to­neon-tone, there’s a lot of two-tone; so you’ve got a com­pli­men­tary colour and you’ve got some­thing that’s a con­trast colour.

“With kids, you can ac­tu­ally have lime-green, blues, reds, and let them have fun, be­cause (those are) the colours they wear a lot of, rather than just be­ing solids and be­ing safe.”

Mam­dani said styles for kids’ eye­wear tend to veer more to­ward chunky rather than fine frames in a down­sized ver­sion of adult looks that are bet­ter suited to smaller-sized faces.

“A lot of colours, a lot of tex­tures, more plas­tic than we’ve ever seen be­fore in the past; so a lot of the chunkier looks with colour rather than just be­ing black or tor­toise which we see a lot in adult frames.”

The pro­lif­er­a­tion of bright colours has been a sig­na­ture story in fash­ion and home decor this year, and the in­fu­sion of hues is leav­ing a bold mark on frames.

Mam­dani said many of the sun­glasses avail­able to­day are ac­etate or plas­tic frames, with kids’ va­ri­eties in orange, red, blue, green and white for the sea­son.

Pounds said pat­terns are be­com­ing more preva­lent with a nod to­ward an­i­mal print. Splashes of colour are also adorn­ing the inside of glasses as well as the front and tem­ple ar­eas, she noted.

While there are sub­tle de­tails such as key­hole bridges and slim­mer, more re­fined tem­ples defin­ing some frames, oth­ers have seen an­other trickle-down from the fash­ion run­ways with the fea­tur­ing of over­the-top em­bel­lish­ments.

Pounds said this has trans­lated to eye­wear with pre­cious metal de­tail­ing and other touches de­mar­cat­ing sev­eral styles.

“Whether it’s logo de­tail, knots, bows or jew­els, these eye-catch­ing em­bel­lish­ments and or­na­men­ta­tion on both op­ti­cal and sun­glass frames are re­ally call­ing for more at­ten­tion this sea­son.”

Also echo­ing an­other ripped-from-the-run­way trend fea­tured in ap­parel and ac­ces­sories is the mix­ing of ma­te­ri­als.

“For in­stance, leather, whip­stitch­ing de­tail, metal, ac­etate, wood-like and fab­ric com­bi­na­tions are be­ing used,” said Pounds.

“And re­ally, the trend brings an ex­tra bit of lux­ury by adding style and tex­ture with the use of these un­ex­pected ma­te­ri­als.”

With Justin Reuben’s older brother al­ready sport­ing specs, his mother, Les­ley, said there was lit­tle nudg­ing re­quired to get her six-year-old to em­brace wear­ing his glasses.

The duo stopped by Joseph­son Op­ti­cians to pick up yet an­other new pair — the fourth since Justin started wear­ing glasses about two years ago.

“I find now that kids’ glasses look like adult glasses. They’re funkier. I def­i­nitely see a change in the styles,” she said.

De­spite a high pre­scrip­tion and thick lenses, Reuben said the lat­est in­car­na­tions of frames al­lows Justin to sport a small pair that are light­weight and easy to man­age.

While he has started to out­grow a pre-ex­ist­ing pair of cir­cu­lar, black frames, she said he still has oth­ers to choose from to help sharpen his vi­sion — and even make a be­spec­ta­cled style state­ment.

“Some­times he’ll say, ‘No, Mummy, I want to wear my other ones, and I don’t ask why, I don’t ask ques­tions.”

With the at­ten­tion to and in­clu­sion of chic sar­to­rial touches in to­day’s con­tem­po­rary styles, many non-pre­scrip­tion wear­ers are flock­ing to frames in the name of fash­ion.

Pounds points to a Wall Street Jour­nal fea­ture pub­lished last year about a fad among many in Hong Kong sport­ing lens­less glasses.

The pa­per has also posted an on­line photo gallery dubbed “NBA Goes Geek Chic,” show­cas­ing stills of a bevy of bas­ket­ball stars like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade pair­ing heavyrimme­d frames with their off-court at­tire.

Even home­grown stars like Justin Bieber have in­cor­po­rated faux frames as part of their en­sem­bles.

“It gives them a dif­fer­ent look, it adds a lit­tle bit of style; and be­cause it’s no longer odd to see a pair of glasses on a face, it’s more of a ‘geek chic’ look that’s go­ing on,” Mam­dani said. “We’re see­ing a lot of celebri­ties putting on eye­wear and just hav­ing fun with it.”

Pounds said Len­sCraft- ers has also no­ticed a trend to­ward younger, more fash­ion-savvy con­sumers pur­chas­ing op­ti­cal frames with­out pre­scrip­tions with the op­tion avail­able to wear them with demo lenses — or none at all.

“With the de­signer and lux­ury frames be­com­ing so di­verse from colour to shape, con­sumers re­ally see this as a key ac­ces­sory like shoes and hand­bags.”

Dave Sidaway/postmedia News

Am­ber Dos San­tos dons a pair of retro red Ray-Ban Way­far­ers. Con­sumers are see­ing eye­wear as a key ac­ces­sory, much the way they view shoes and hand­bags.

Michelle Siu/cana­dian Press

Six-year-old Justin Reuben tries on a pair of glasses in Toronto.

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