notes: Writer, editor and all-around creative-type Nick Vinson first spotted these LGR frames after reading about them in Wallpaper* Magazine. Named after founder Luca Gnecchi Ruscone, the brand began after Ruscone discovered a pair of old frames that his grandfather had imported from Italy to his then-homeland of Eritrea. Inspired, Ruscone set out to create a line of eyewear that would merge the adventurous spirit of Africa with the luxurious glamour of Europe.
Vinson’s “Suez” frames are handmade in Italy and feature a sleek rectangular shape, in a “Matt Green” color. The slightly darker tone of the nose-bridge, and the unique rectangular rivets add a subtle, modern touch to the otherwise classic shape. Made from cellulose acetate (which can bend to adapt shape without heating), the frames are hand-polished, then tumbled in beech and birch wood to achieve its desired finish. The lenses, meantime, are made from tempered mineral glass – a process in which lenses are first immersed in hot acid salts, then cooled using liquid nitrogen. The temperature-shock increases the strength of the lenses, making them highly impact and scratch-resistent. This is a pair of glasses that has been created with a lot of thought and purpose – something that we appreciate, and something that Vinson undoubtedly appreciates as well.
eyewear: Rag & Bone
notes: Writer Stephanie LaCava’s Rag & Bone glasses just happened to be matching her dress, when we photographed her at an Art Basel event at The Webster in Miami. These coral-colored “Keaton” frames are made in Japan from an Italian acetate, and feature an ultra feminine, retro-inspired silhouette, reminiscent of 60s surf culture. The silver rivets at the temples, and sleek metal strips down the arms add some modern detailing. An “rb”-embossed screw at the end of the arms is the only visible branding.
Stephanie’s shades looked right at home in Miami, though they’d work to brighten up an outfit in snowy New York as well. The vintage, sporty shape is totally on-trend, while the coral color is a chic way to draw some attention to your face… without seeming like you’re trying too hard!
We had the pleasure of hosting the official grand opening of Toronto’s newest eyewear boutique, Squint Eyewear, last month, and it was definitely a night – and sight – to remember. The chic, intimate party brought out the store’s spec-savvy clientele, along with friends, family and (new) neighbours, as owner Amin Mamdani unveiled his latest outpost, inspired by the classic eyewear shops of Paris and New York.
The inspiration is evident as soon as you walk in the door, with the store’s white-tiled floors, large wooden beams and industrial lighting. A complimentary espresso bar at the front is a nice, welcoming touch, speaking to Mamdani’s dedication to good, old-fashioned customer service. The old-meets-new charm continues through the eyewear collections available at Squint. Familiar favourites like Oliver Peoples share space with more fashion-forward frames from artisanal brands like Theo and Bevel. A well-curated selection of Mykita’s modern silhouettes is easy to love, while sunglasses from Dita and Chrome Hearts are sure to be best-sellers among the social and style-savvy set.
We were thrilled to have a number of our photos from The Spectacled on display at the event. Framed street-style pics lined the walls of the store, serving as a “mini-gallery” of sorts to promote the diversity of eyewear, and to hopefully inspire a few new purchases as well! Many of the people we photographed were on hand for the party to see their portraits up close and personal! The photos will continue to be on display at Squint through December.
Despite a growing number of online shopping sites, there’s still something to be said about an in-person eyewear fitting, and we love how the staff at Squint have been meticulously trained in everything from the different types of acetates available, to the best lenses for your prescription. Ask them about up-and-coming optical brands and they’ll gladly pick out a tray of favourites for your face shape. Or, give the staff a few key words about what you’re looking for and watch them work their magic with a pair of super lightweight Lindberg titanium frames, or a bold and elegant style from Robert Marc. Above all though, Mamdani preaches the importance of caring for your eyes – something that’s easier to do with a trained professional in-person than through an FAQ page online. Even better – Mamdani encourages his customers to come back every month for re-fittings, and to check-in on the conditioning of their specs. If our eyes are one of our most important organs, this extra level of service suddenly seems extra important – and much appreciated.
It was encouraging to meet so many eyewear fans at the party, and to see how they were all able to find something that suited their individual styles at Squint. More importantly, it was great to see glasses be in the spotlight for a change – and whether people were just trying out a new pair of shades, or looking for that unique pair to upgrade their look, the party showed just how fun eyewear can be. That’s been our goal with The Spectacled, and it was great sharing that vision with Amin (no pun intended) and hearing about his passion for eyewear too. We’ve been lucky to speak with Amin and his team on a couple occasions, but seeing their hard work all come together in the new store definitely made for a memorable night.
Want to check out all the frames in person? Squint Eyewear is located at 2501 Yonge Street, just north of Eglinton Avenue. Say hi to the staff for us and tell them The Spectacled sent you!
(Photos by Jenna Wakini / c/o Brill Communications)
notes: We spotted Jamal Johnson at a party in Miami’s Design District during Art Basel 2013, and couldn’t help but notice his glasses. Jamal found these vintage “Annabella Offshore” frames on eBay and fell in love with their unique shape and details. The frames are made of wood, with screws made from real gold. The details extend to the rest of the frames too: notice the studded detailing of the contrast-colour nose bridge, and the beautiful wood grain that runs down the arms.
“Annabella Offshore” was a popular Italian brand in the 70s and 80s, known for their craftsmanship and timeworn design sensibilities. These glasses – which likely date back to the early 80s – reveal the fine art of hand-making frames in all its glory… How appropriate for Art Basel!
They say it’s the little details that often make the largest impression. You hear that a lot in the garment industry, or when it comes to say, food and drink. But it also applies to eyewear. Take, for instance, Italian-based company Vanni, who has perfected these “little details” into a vibrant and unique collection of wonderfully modern, handmade frames.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Vanni frames are designed by an architect. From the curvature of the rim to the extension of the arms, the use of shape, design, and technical qualities are inherent to the Vanni brand. It’s seen in the construction of the frames, with patented spring hinges and fine materials like hypo-allergenic stainless steel. The innovative spirit extends to the way the glasses are re-imagined for today’s fashion-forward consumer: the way a pair of glasses has an upturned brow just so, or the way the arms are dissected on another pair for artistic effect.
The acetates used in the frames are, for the most part, limited-edition and exclusive to the Vanni collection. The acetate is tumbled in wood-chip barrels to smooth and polish the surface, then hand polished to avoid having to add too much oil to the wooden barrels. The result is a pair of glasses that has a subtle sheen, while remaining surprisingly lightweight and durable.
Our favourite collection is the “Flame” collection (seen below), which features an exclusive acetate developed by Vanni, and manufactured by Mazzuccheli – an Italian company that has been in the plastics industry since 1849. The delicate, coloured acetate is built up in layers, then melted by fire (hence the name “Flame”) into a transparent base. The colours spread beautifully, lava lamp-like through the plastic, giving a rich, vibrant quality to the frames.
Pay a visit to the Vanni factories and you’ll discover that all of their frames are truly handmade by artisans – from the welding, to the polishing, and colouring. This explains why different batches may have slight differences, despite having the same model number. In other words, no two pairs will be alike. And perhaps this is the biggest “little detail” of all: that you’ll not only have a pair of handsome, artistically-inclined frames – you’ll be the only one with a pair like that in the world!