By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

Brand loyalists, aspirational consumers looking to get their foot in the door with prestige brands, traditionalists looking for a modern take on their classic staples.

What: Ostentatious is out, heritage is in. It is very hard to go wrong with a classic, but classic does not have to mean safe or boring. Established brands are finding new and creative ways to use the enduring and iconic design motifs associated with their brands in the design of their eyewear to set their styles apart. No longer reliant on the use of obvious or showy logoing, designer brands are going back to their roots to appeal to the modern consumer.

Wear: (From bottom left to right) The Hackett Bespoke collection from Mondottica USA has been created with classic styles inspired by Hackett London’s ‘Bespoke tailoring service. Founded in 1979, the Hackett London brand started as a resale shop for traditional British men’s clothing and added a bespoke tailoring service in 1986. The eyewear collection (the HEB051, shown) is designed using the same attention to detail and subtle tradition of the brand’s clothing, echoing a familiar spirit reminiscent of classic British tailoring. The facets of the Swarovski Amazing sunglass in crystal acetate with flash lenses from Marcolin is so clearly evocative of the Swarovski heritage as the world’s finest crystal cutter without the use of one single stone. The gingham pattern of the Bottega Veneta BV148 optical style from Safilo is designed to represent the Italian brand’s Cabat collection, a signature woven leather treatment used in their handbags and other leather goods. A Pucci print is instantly recognizable. In the Emilio Pucci collection from Marchon, the house’s vintage prints have been revisited on the eyewear giving the styles an immediate and unmistakable identity, here the colorful EP125S aviator sunglass receives an update by way of the frame’s distinctive eye rims. The Tiffany & Co TF1050 ophthalmic styles features a double dose of the legendary jewelers heritage cues, the iconic Tiffany blue temples have been capped with the brand’s vintage oval key motif, inspired by antique keys from the Tiffany & Co. archives that had been used to unlocked everything from jewelry and keepsake boxes, albums, diaries and steamer trunks to private clubs and country manors.

With the ever increasing importance consumers are placing on authenticity and compelling brand stories to navigate an increasingly saturated licensed eyewear market, brands that are capitalizing on their distinct histories and relying on their extensive design archives are rising above the competition. Branded eyewear that is identifiable without being pretentious is what feels new to the consumer now.


Anyone who has had trouble fitting into conventionally accepted eyeglass sizes.

The acceptance of all shapes and sizes is at an all-time high in the fashion world and stylish special sizes are having a moment in eyewear as well. A number of brands have not only broadened the range of sizes their frames come in but have upped the style factor in their collections to satisfy the growing demands of the fit challenged.

(Clockwise from top left) A&A Optical’s XXL collection serves the needs of the larger man requiring extended sizing but forget stodgy double bridges and bland wire rims. Many of the XXL styles now offer modern, contemporary styling, like the Havoc (shown) in a striated dark grey acetate with matte metal temples. In the past, ladies requiring smaller frames often had to shop the children’s collections, but today many stylish brands offer fashionable frames for petite women that could never be mistaken for juvenile; the Rampage R151 optical frame from Viva with leopard print temples is a perfect example. Just as petite women have struggled with fit, so too have larger women. Now OGI, once known for their smaller scale frames, heeds the call with an extended range of sizes for men and women in their Evolution segment, the same OGI color, the same OGI styling, now proportioned in larger eye sizes and temple lengths. “Asian fit” frames have been on the market for quite some time but no one is doing it quite like TC Charton. Specifically designed for the Asian-American consumer, TC Charton frames from Prologue Vision are designed specifically with their tastes in mind; the Angel sunglass (shown) features an on-trend oversized acetate look with built-up nose pads and a flatter base curve. Bold graphic temples and a modern crystal front prove that petites can have more fun, especially with the kensie Geometric optical frame from Kenmark.

Why: It only makes sense that markets of people who have been underserved by mainstream sizing are hungry for any brands offering fashionable frames that fit their unique features. An ECP who caters specifically to the harder to fit will find themselves with an appreciative and faithful following.


Who: Color was all over the Spring/Summer 2011 runways. Now, no longer solely the purview of the likes of Bono and Elton John, the colorful shows opened the door for brightly colored frames and tinted lenses to also hit the mainstream.

What: For 45 years, Pantone has been the world-renowned authority on color. With color becoming all the more important going into the Spring/Summer season, eyewear designers have rediscovered their Pantone color wheels and are having a serious color coming out party. Forget just brightly colored frames, eyewear for the warm weather delivers a one-two punch of brightly colored monotone frame and lens pairings.

Wear: (From bottom left to right) The Mykita & Alexandre Herchcovitch Atriara in turquoise is a result of the German company’s collaboration with the Brazilian designer, whose Spring/Summer 2011 collection focused on the use of monochromatic color and color blocking. Proof that everything old is new again, the Oliver Goldsmith Berwick in Milky Blues, first released in 1979, can hold its own among modern day designers thanks to its timeless appeal and blue fade lenses. Paul Smith has long been known for his surprising use of color; for the Aleister (PM8153-S) from Oliver Peoples, a purple tort frame is paired with violet gradient lenses for a distinctly feminine take. New kid on the block, Garrett Leight California Optical, looks to the past for the modern interpretations of vintage classics characteristic of the line; for the Hampton in a deep crimson with coordinating burgundy lenses, the monochromatic pairing makes it feel undeniably fresh. A master of minimalism, monochrome is nothing new to the Calvin Klein Collection; but take an undeniably vintage-inspired frame (the CK7288S from Marchon) and present it in smoky crystal acetate with canary yellow lenses and it looks downright futuristic and definitely on-trend.

Why: Forget rose colored glasses, today’s optimist can see the world in any hue their little heart desires and look über fashionable while doing so. The great news is that many ECPs and labs are already equipped to tint lenses, so even if a frame doesn’t come in monochrome just about any frame and lens combo can be customized for your customers to hit this trend.