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Category: eyewear

Sunglasses inspired by 'Amazing Spider-Man' guard against glare

Maui Jim
Premium sunglasses maker Maui Jim has issued a limited edition of polarized shades that would make the wall-crawler himself proud. Called the Kekoa, the sunglasses have a lightweight Red Web Grilamid frame and lenses with webbed mirroring. The glasses come with a custom-branded case and storage pouch, also decorated in keeping with the hero of the new film "The Amazing Spider-Man," which opened in theaters on Tuesday.

Storage pouch
Only 7,200 of the frames were issued worldwide and each is individually numbered. They are available in the U.S. exclusively at Sunglass Hut, with a suggested retail price of $219.

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--Susan Denley

Photos: From top, the Kekoa sunglasses have a red frame and webbed mirroring.

The complete set includes the sunglasses, case and storage pouch. Photos courtesy of Maui Jim. 

Specs appeal: the eyes have it

Eyewear LA Eyeworks, Salt and Oliver Peoples
Remember when everyone who needed prescription eyewear seemed to be sporting a pair of barely there rimless spectacles with low-profile lenses barely bigger than a pair of postage stamps?  

While that look (circa 2002 to 2005) hasn't gone away completely, over the past half decade there's been a decided shift in the opposite direction and today ophthalmic glasses are treated as much like a fashion accessory as are their in-your-face, dark-lensed sibling sunglasses.

Why and how that happened is the focus of my story in Sunday's Image section, which has eyewear industry experts near (L.A. Eyeworks' Gai Gherardi, Oliver Peoples' Larry Leight and David Rose from Costa Mesa based Salt Optics) and far (Milena Cavicchioli, from Milan, Italy-based eyewear behemoth Luxottica Group) framing up the factors that helped eyewear, in Cavicchioli's words "step out of its traditional cage and expand into different areas of the fashion world."

In fact, eyewear frames have become such a popular accessory that even people who don't need to correct their vision are wearing glasses anyway. And we're not the only ones that have noticed -- even as Sunday's Image section was going to press, I received an email pitch on just that topic from the LasikPlus folks who noted: "Even celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Kim Kardashian who underwent LASIK have been photographed wearing frames again."

For the record, we have no idea if or when either of the two aformentioned celebrities underwent said laser vision correction procedure. But we do know that Brad Pitt turned up at the Oakland premiere of "Moneyball" in October sporting a pair of eyeglass frames with lightly tinted lenses -- which just so happens to be another topic I tackle in Sunday's Image section.   

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-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: The current crop of eye-catching eyewear includes, from left, L.A. Eyeworks' Dip (in Two Mints, $230), Salt Optics' Annabel (in Toffee Tortoise Pink, $315) and Oliver Peoples' Reeves (in Pewter/Matte Black, $440) Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Dakota Johnson takes the plunge in Oliver Peoples' latest short

Larry Leight, Dakota Johnson
The Oliver Peoples boutique eyewear brand debuted the Lisa Eisner-directed short film at the center of its spring/summer 2012 advertising campaign during a celeb-studded cocktail party at the Chateau Marmont penthouse on April 20.

The party -- a collaborative effort with Vanity Fair, Eisner and Jacqui Getty -- marked the debut of Eisner's short film "Float," starring Dakota Johnson and Thomas McDonnell (2011's "Prom" and the upcoming "Fun Size") spending a good deal of time plunging into, frolicking around -- and yes, floating in -- a pool.

It also marked a reboot of the Oliver Peoples website, which went live Monday and where the video can currently be watched in its entirety.  

The party was one of those intimate-feeling Hollywood soirees -- you know the kind, where a cigarette girl plies the crowd with cigarettes and a theater concession's worth of candy, and Ray Liotta and Val Kilmer can be seen laughing it up in one corner of the penthouse patio, while Getty and Gia Coppola are chatting animatedly in another, and the guy sitting studiously in the screening room (where Val Kilmer, Ray Liottathe three-minute film played continuously for guests) looks a lot like James L. Brooks precisely because it is James L. Brooks. (Unfortunately, we had to duck out before there was a rumored Chrisopher Walken walk-in.)

Even though her movie credits include "The Social Network," the big-screen remake of "21 Jump Street" and "The Five Year Engagement" (which hits theaters April 27) the name Dakota Johnson might not be a familiar one to you, though you'd probably recognize her parents -- Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.

According to the press notes, Eisner's "Float," set to Brook Benton's "For My Baby," is supposed to be about "this generation's youthful sense of freedom and desire," but, in all honesty, all we could think about as we left the screening room (through a balcony window, naturally) was which of her famous parents Johnson can thank for her unusually dexterous toes.

Eisner also directed last season's ad campaign short that starred Devendra Banhart and Rebecca Schwartz. Past Oliver Peoples campaigns have featured the likes of Robert Evans, Zooey Deschanel and Elijah Wood. 

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-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from top: Oliver Peoples co-founder and creative director Larry Leight with Dakota Johnson. The actress -- the progeny of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson -- stars in the brand's spring and summer 2012 ad campaign short film "Float" with Thomas McDonnell.

Val Kilmer, left, and Ray Liotta were among the celebrity attendees. Credit: Oliver Peoples.

L.a Eyeworks annual sale starts Jan. 26

LaeyeworkssaleIt's a sale that's been known to draw hundreds of customers who are on the hunt for affordable statement-making eye wear. L.a Eyeworks' annual sale knocks a selection from the brand's sunglasses frames down 30% to 70% off the original price, and it runs Thursday through Saturday.

The event has been known to attract a sizable crowd, often with a line snaking out the front door. But when $300 frames are going for under $100, it's no wonder people are snapping up several pairs of colorful or funky frames to add to their growing eye wear collection.

Their optical frames and prescription sunglasses are on sale, too, starting Monday through Feb. 4.

L.a Eyeworks' annual sale is at their 7386 Beverly Blvd. location only; (323) 931-7795

-- Melissa Magsaysay

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Photo: L.a Eyeworks sale flyer. Credit: L.a Eyeworks

Lookmatic.com pops up at Ten Over Six

Lookmatic
Affordable online eyewear shopping just got easier with a site called Lookmatic.com, which has joined the mix of similar outlets like Warby Parker and Toms eyewear. Lookmatic has also just set up a pop up store inside Tenoversix, the Melrose Place-adjacent boutique for chic and interesting accessories.

The site offers prescription eyewear and sunglasses starting at $88 in about 50 different styles, most of which are unisex and vintage inspired.

There are sun and optical options for men and women.  Just send your current lens prescription, pick your frames and buy them online. Eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses are $88, regular non-prescription sunglasses or non-prescription optical frames are $58. There’s also photochromic lenses that turn from clear to shaded with the sun and progressive lenses for anyone who needs a graduated prescription. Those come in around $128.

“We want to revolutionize the way people think about eyewear as not just a necessity, but looking at eyewear as more of an accessory,” says the site’s executive creative director, Joe Cole. “You can have multiple looks and pairs. It’s more fun, and you can really build a collection.”

Lookmatic.com will be launching an at-home try on service later this month where people can choose five frames that interest them to be sent and tried on. In the meantime, they’ve opened a pop up installation inside Tenoversix, where customers can try on every style, order directly in the store or later online after they’ve pondered which style or styles, suit them.

Tenoversix is located at 8425 Melrose Ave.  Los Angeles, CA 90069

--Melissa Magsaysay

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Photo: Lookmatic.com pop up shop at Tenoversix/Lookmatic.com

Thom Browne expands into retro-cool eyewear

Dita for Thom Browne Eyewear

Fashion designer Thom Browne recently rolled out his latest brand extension -- a collection of retro-cool unisex sunnies and optical frames inspired by architects, politicians, industry and design of the 1940s, '50s and '60s.

Besides being a super-stylish selection of shades that keys perfectly into the TB aesthetic, the eyewear program is noteworthy not only because it marks the label's first foray into licensed products, but also because the company behind the fabulous frames is Los Angeles-based Dita Eyewear.

It also happens to be the first license deal for the independently owned eyewear company (founded in
1996 by childhood friends Jeff Solorio and John Juniper) that has all of its wares handmade in Japan where the process can take from six months to a year.

ThomBrowne2Browne and Dita's co-founders have a longtime personal friendship, a Dita representative told us, and the company has frequently been called on to craft the spectacular spectacles that appear in Browne's over-the-top menswear presentations. 

That relationship eventually grew into the 27 pieces, ranging in price from $450 to $1,000, that comprise the debut collection rolling out to the shelves of Barneys New York, Robert Marc eyewear shops and Browne's Hudson Street store in New York City, and locally at the Dita Legends boutique at 7625 Melrose Ave. 

One part "Mad Men," one part Michael Douglas' glasses in "Falling Down," and a soupcon of steampunk, the inaugural offerings tweak the familiar Wayfarer and aviator silhouettes, with circle lenses and leather or metal mesh side cups that serve up just the right amount of Thom Browne quirk (in that "we're-ready-for-nuclear-winter" kind of way).

The color palette is grounded in smoke gray, silver and tortoiseshell, with Browne's trademark red-white-and-blue signature barely visible at the tip of each earpiece.

The next installment -- which will will build on the unisex frames by adding specific looks for men and women -- are due for spring/summer 2012 and are expected to be available in March. 

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Photos, from top: Two of the eyewear styles from the inaugural Thom Browne New York collection that hit retail in mid-November; a model wears a pair -- along with a Thom Browne look -- from the current ad campaign. Credits: Dita Eyewear; John Juniper and Lionel Deluy

Warby Parker opens a shop in shop inside Confederacy

Suno-for-warby-parker-sunglasses_fa
Warby Parker, the New York-based company that sells prescription eyewear for $95 and donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for each pair sold, has a new shop in shop in the Hollywood boutique Confederacy.

The bulk of Warby Parker’s business is done on its website, where customers can peruse frames (both optical and, since last spring, sunglasses) upload pictures of themselves and virtually try on frames before ordering. But the brand has been steadily rolling out little shop in shops in select U.S. boutiques to make it more convenient for people to physically try on frames and place an order.

The first L.A outpost is housed in Confederacy, the designer and contemporary clothing and accessory boutique owned by stylist Ilaria Urbinati and DJ-actor Danny Masterson. “It’s personally one of our favorite stores in L.A.,” said Warby Parker co-founder and designer Neil Blumenthal, who, along with business partner Dave Gilboa, is in L.A this week to celebrate the opening of the brand’s shop in shop. “I love the '40s-'50s look of the store. It’s very much the same aesthetic as our line.”

The Warby Parker optical and sunglass collection is now at Confederacy. Bring your eyeglass prescription and an order can be taken on the spot. Also, the crazy-cool frames that resulted from a collaboration between Warby Parker and Suno will be available November 8th. For anyone who loves colorful, printed frames in oversized shapes, these are a must-see.

Warby Parker shop in shop at Confederacy: 4661 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Photo: Warby Parker for Suno sunglasses $175 at www.warbyparker.com.  Credit: Warby Parker

Emporio Armani celebrates 30 years with rose-colored glasses

The Armani fashion empire is in full celebratory mode. Following the launch of its e-flagship store earlier this month, the fashion house is celebrating 30 years of its contemporary Emporio Armani brand by releasing a capsule eyewear collection. The sunglasses come in a burst of colors, reminiscent of the lighter and brighter side of menswear Armani introduced when Don Johnson donned pieces from his collection on the 1980s TV show “Miami Vice.”

EA u+d gruppo tutti colori
The eyewear collection consists of two designs. They are transparent silhouettes that are so lightweight you could almost forget you are wearing them — if not for the fact that you could be seeing the world through bright pink lenses.

For men, a teardrop shape is available in six colors including dark violet, green, blue, gray and smoke. For women, an oversized rounded model comes in colors that resemble a packet of Skittles — green, violet, pink and red.

European consumers will be able to bring out the designer within. They will have access to a 30th anniversary website that allows them to design their own glasses, choosing a different color for the shades, temples and logo. Unfortunately, there are no plans to make this option available in the United States. But rest assured, there are plenty of colors to choose from.

The shades are available in all Emporio Armani and select Solstice boutiques and are priced at $170.

--Raha Lewis

Photo: Emporio Armani's new eyewear collection. Credit: Emporio Armani

Toms' next chapter: Sunglasses

Blake 

This post has been updated since its original publication.

Hand-painted, colorful striped sunglasses. That's the second chapter of Toms Shoes' one-for-one business.

"With every pair purchased, Toms will give someone sight," said Toms founder Blake Mycoskie.

Meaning that for every pair of sunglasses purchased, sight-saving medical treatment, prescription glasses or surgery will be donated to a person in need. The sunglasses are landing in stores today for $135 to $145 and come in three shapes and 22 color combinations. The 101s are a classic Wayfarer-like style, while the 201s are oversized, round Jackie O glasses, and the 301s are aviators with wood accents. Toms sunglasses are recognizable by the three painted stripes on the sides, which represent the one-for-one giving concept.

The scene at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica on Tuesday morning was part rock concert, part political rally. Mycoskie made the announcement on stage in front of the Victorian-style museum building, with food trucks nearby and radio stations broadcasting live. About 150 people gathered on the grass to hear about the SoCal company's next step, many of them wearing Toms' signature colorful canvas shoes.

"From this day forward, Toms will no longer just be a shoe company, it will be a one-for-one company," Mycoskie said, before unveiling a video made in Nepal, with local people talking about the need to address visual impairment, in particular cataracts and blindness.

The medical treatment and surgery will be administered by a Toms partner, the Seva Foundation, which has helped give eye care to more than 3 million people in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world. A leading global initiative to reduce blindness and visual impairment for the past 30 years, Northern California-based Seva also works with academic institutions in developing countries to train eye care specialists.

"Most every place that sells Toms can or will sell eyewear," said Mycoskie, adding that he plans to roll out two new eyewear collections each year, and envisions doing collaborations with artists and/or fashion designers on future styles.

Continue reading »

Danica Patrick to be the face of William Rast eyewear [Updated]

Danica_Patrick

Dan Wheldon may have been driving the William Rast sponsored* car that won the Indy 500 over the weekend, but it's race-car driver Danica Patrick who has been chosen as the designated driver for the brand's new eyewear line.

According to the recently announced multi-year endorsement deal between Patrick, Los Angeles-based William Rast and its eyewear licensee Viva International Group, the racing superstar will be the face of the recently launched William Rast eyewear (which includes optical frames and sunglasses) and racing eyewear collection, and she'll also wear the brand on the racetrack and in upcoming ad campaigns.

Co-founded by Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala in 2005, the denim-focused William Rast clothing line has recently expanded beyond that base, adding footwear (in October 2010), and, most recently, the eyewear collection, which debuted in March.  

*[Updated 6/3/11, 12:25 PM: An earlier update to this post incorrectly identified the sponsors of Wheldon's car. The William Rast brand was the primary sponsor, Curb and Big Machine Records, Forsythe and Aiago were secondary sponsors.]

-- Adam Tschorn 

Photo: Race-car driver Danica Patrick has inked a multi-year endorsement deal to be the face of William Rast eyewear -- both on the racetrack and in upcoming advertisements. Credit: Michael Voorhees / William Rast.

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