The Spectacled

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Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard

Amidst the chaos of Paris Fashion Week and Silmo last month, we had a chance to let our hair down and celebrate California in Paris, at the launch party for Garrett Leight’s new sunglasses collaboration with Parisian designer Amélie Pichard. The limited-edition frames were inspired by three very different iconic women: blonde bombshell Canadian Pamela Anderson, actress Juliette Lewis, and musician Grace Jones.

A crowd surrounded Milan Lunettiere in Paris’ Bastille district for the event, with guests flowing into nearby art gallery where attendees were able to see and try on the three frames in front of the camera. While most of Garrett Leight’s frames are unisex, the collaboration finds him tapping into shoe designer Pichard’s glamorous and girly aesthetic.

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard - "Grace"

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard – “Grace”

The “Grace” is a sleek black frame with blue lenses, inspired by the bold and provocative cool of Grace Jones. Fearlessly feminine, the shades look as fierce on stage or on the runway, as they do on the street.

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard - "Juliette"

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard – “Juliette”

The “Juliette,” is a flirty tortoiseshell frame with soft green lenses, inspired by Juliette Lewis. Like the actress’ body of work, the frames are familiar yet edgy – a sophisticated and smart take on a classic round tortoise frame.

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard - "Pamela"

Garrett Leight x Amélie Pichard – “Pamela”

Our favourite style is the “Pamela,” a lively beige frame with gold lenses, appropriately named after Pamela Anderson. The look is sexy sure, but it also conveys warmth and heart. Tortoiseshell temples add a nice contrast to the dreamy aesthetic.

Each pair in this limited edition collection retails for $425. The glasses are available now at Garrett Leight La Brea (in Los Angeles), Amélie Pichard’s boutique in Paris and online at www.garrettleight.com.

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Get to Know: Niloca

Niloca - Shear Scallop Collection

Niloca – Shear Scallop Collection

The best eyewear companies these days recognize that glasses aren’t just for practicality anymore – they also play a big part in revealing someone’s personality and style. Enter Niloca – a boutique Australian brand making confident and cheeky frames for people who aren’t afraid to stand out a little differently from the crowd.

Founded in 2011, the Melbourne-based brand is led by Colin Redmond, an award-winning industrial designer who formerly worked for Audi as part of the iconic TT-model design team. Now lending his expertise to eyewear, Redmond’s philosophy is assertive and artistic, combining patterns, finishes and materials in new and unexpected ways.

We caught up with Redmond recently to find out more about the brand, their latest designs, and why he’ll never make a pair of frames out of wood…

THE DESIGNS
Niloca frames are available in a handful of distinct collections, which all speak to the refinement and craftsmanship of traditional design, but amp it up with a fresh, quirky and colourful spirit.

Niloca - Covert Collection

Niloca – Covert Collection

We love the “Convert” collection, which is anything but under the radar. Handmade in France, the frames are constructed on a two-tone pallet with the thicker under-layer often taking a semi-translucent form. The shapes are stacked, with a classic round frame, for example, embedded into a boxy, oversized shell. Hidden elements are incorporated into the inside acetate that only the wearer can see, adding a personal touch to every pair.

Niloca - Hyperfocus

Niloca – Hyperfocus Collection

The “Hyperfocus” collection was a critical darling at Silmo (the Paris optical show) this year. The frames are sculpted in France with a distinctive hooded top edge which is only perceivable as the wearer moves their head. The pentagonal-shaped lenses add another unique touch. Even a pair in classic black (seen above) conveys texture and warmth, offering – quite literally – a new perspective on what a “simple” pair of black frames can look like.

Niloca - Scratched Core Collection

Niloca – Scratched Core Collection

Our favourite collection though, is the Scratched Core Collection. First released at Silmo 2013, it’s an edgy and bold acetate collection that’s future-facing and graphic. As the name suggests, the frames feature an array of haphazard lines intersecting asymmetrically across the surface. The bespoke acetate is made exclusively for Niloca in France.

Redmond: Just to make it clear from the outset, we are not a couple of hipters making retro-style plastic frames in China. And we do not make frames in wood. In our humble opinion, making frames from wood is about as practical as making eyewear from cheese!  A little rude I know, but have you ever tired fitting a wooden frame to a giant head?

THE MANUFACTURING
By combining contemporary aesthetics with inspiration from 19th Century classical design theory, Redmond’s goal is to make every frame a work of art. To further ensure the uniqueness of the frames, the company only produces a limited number each season.

Niloca - Bigglesworth Collection

Niloca – Bigglesworth Collection

Niloca frames use materials like Water Buffalo Horn and vintage LAES and Mazzucchelli acetates. The frames above are part of the “Bigglesworth” collection, made from Japanese titanium and inspired by a nickname given to Redmond by his friends, for his pensive demeanour and politeness. The assembly of these titanium frames was modelled after old clocksmiths.

Redmond: Our frames are now all made in the Jura, France. This a valley the in Rhone Alps that specialises in eyewear production; one man makes frame fronts under his house, another inserts hinges, and another artisan down the road hand-crafts sheets of acetate. Workers are truly artisans and skills are passed between generations. A three-course lunch is a daily event and workers take immense pride in the frames they produce. I include this detailed description of manufacturing because it is very important to us and the Niloca brand.

THE BRAND
Niloca is currently available in more than 40 boutiques worldwide, including a flagship store in Melbourne. From our point of view, the brand is only going to get bigger from here, with frames that people want to try on and have fun with (Note: We tried a few pairs on and they’re not as difficult to pull off as you’d think).

Redmond: Niloca is not about the mass production of fashionable, predictable frames. Rather, we have boutique production runs, typically 30 pieces for each colour. We’ll even make one-offs for our best clients. So we are not just a mum and dad business though we are certainly are mum and dad to two small children and one stubborn airedale terrier!

For more about the brand and to find out where Niloca is carried, head over to www.niloca.com.

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