A New Outlook

Our take on Chagall’s “The Love Story”

Chagall’s original, “Над городом”, 1914-18

We just can’t help ourselves.  We had so much fun with our Magritte-inspired window that we had to feature another artist in our newest window display.  This time we drew our inspiration from Belorussian-born French artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985).  His work is the very essence of fantasy.  He didn’t belong to any one artistic movement, but rather combined elements of cubism, symbolism, expressionism and surrealism into his own unique style.  His paintings contain conventional elements like people, flowers, landscapes and buildings, but instead of copying a real scene, he constructed fantasy tableaus by combining elements that have an emotional connection.  The people and objects in his works usually are placed in positions that defy the laws of nature and physics.

Guest artist Ieva Liepina with the background of our Chagall-inspired window

Such is the case with the couple floating above the landscape in Chagall’s painting “The Love Story” (or “Over the Town” is another name), which is the inspiration for our latest display.  We confess that we took some liberties to make it our own.  With help from artist friend Ieva Liepina, from Riga, Latvia, we created a cityscape of Providence to replace the rural landscape in Chagall’s original.  Our airborne lovers look a lot like his, but we gave them modern clothes, while keeping the flowing lines and romantic style of the original – after all, they are lovers.  Of course, there had to be eyeglasses involved, but we were very restrained.  We chose round American Optical sunglasses for our male lover because of their timeless, classic appeal.  Since we have the luxury of working in 3 dimensions, we echoed the clouds in the sky behind the lovers with fluffy puffs suspended over our lovers.

Providence Optical building subtly highlighted in the background cityscape

If you look closely, you’ll see in the background cityscape that we highlighted our building with brighter colors that make it look like the sun is shining on just that one spot, and we put a diminutive pair of eyeglasses above to identify it in a subtle way.  If you have a good eye (pardon the pun) for detail, you’ll also see that we set a birdhouse in the foreground as a playful echo of the buildings in the cityscape, and to give our masterpiece a more 3-dimensional feel.

It was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love.  We hope you’ll stroll by and take a look.  Better yet, poke your head in and tell us what you think of it.

Focus on: Providence Optical

We would like to share a blog, written by  on July 28, 2014 for InDowncity Providence website. Thank you, Erick.

Nested between the bright pastel window displays of Craftland’s new location and the artfully ad-hoc presentation of RISD’s student-run gallery, it might be a bit of a challenge to spot Providence Optical—if it weren’t for the beautifully massive wire-rimmed glasses that hang above the shop’s Westminster Street entrance.

Stepping inside on a steamy summer morning, one might be surprised to find a quiet bustling throughout the air-conditioned store. Customers’ eyes slowly move from spectacle to spectacle, closely examining the hundreds of varieties in materials, accents, shapes, and colors. Other patrons sit patiently in the comfy lounge chairs, taking in the array of glass specimens.

Welcomed in, we were given a crash course on the summer and fall’s hottest trends: Augusto Valentini spectacles paired a matte finish with an elegant gold trim, while Providence Optical’s latest creations sparkled with stainless steel rivets.

Colors seemed to be en vogue, with every glass display boasting a number of bright neon greens, oranges, electric blues, or other captivating colors. Men’s pairs took to the colors with a dignified sort of diffidence, choosing to display the fluorescent colors along the tamer inside rims of the glasses rather than the outsides.

More and more pairs were brought out, carefully detailed to us, and ushered back onto their display cases while the grand finale neared in the form of vintage ’80′s eyewear. Absurdly large (in that perfectly quirky way) frames approached, showing off beautiful real enamel detailing flush with clean metal skeletons. The unworn finds—$75—were certainly a show-stopper.

And just like that, our exclusive crash course was over. The spectacles sat neatly on their display cases or safely in their shelves, and as we grabbed our bags to head out we couldn’t help but feel as if it would be impossible to choose just one pair from the many we saw that day.

From the cases upon cases of unique and downright beautiful spectacles, though, we knew that many would visit and find their perfect pair of glasses that day, and hoped many others would continue to find their glass-soulmates, right inside that little shop.

Safe and Stylish in the Sun!

As Jackie Samoraj from Home Shopping Network suggested, we would like to share our best tips for being safe and stylish under the sun. With these minimalistic outfit we covered major trends of the season: whites, floral, black&white, graphics and sport trends. Don’t forget your face and body sunscreen and if you are a contact lens wearer, Acuvue Oasys will be the best option because they are the only contacts offering UV protection and moister.

1. White and pink RI baseball cap by Coastalista. Find this company’s hat at your local airport with your city name on it.

2. Providence Optical sunglasses, $187 with mineral glass lenses in gray/green.

3. Floral Bag by Leadsports.

4. Nail polish. You can play with the 3 different colors to match your outfit or accessory.

5. Providence Optical dress.

6. Providence Optical microfiber lens cleaning cloth and cleaning spray.

7. White-Floral sneakers by Paul Smith.

8. Downcity Flair, collect until August 28th the buttons from all Downcity merchants to win a good prize.

 

 

Mad about Hue

 

Tons of colors for Summer

Now that the summer season is officially here, it’s time to think about your new summer look for the office, at play or when you’re trying to impress others at social gatherings.  There are 10 distinct trends and we offer a bit of advice on how to pair eyewear with your outfits for maximum impact.

1- Color inside the frame creates a subtle flash of hue when you tilt your head.

1- Pants suits:  Of course you want to look sophisticated when you wear a suit, but then you might find you can’t resist this summer’s offering of colorful stripes, solids and florals.  To project that executive aura, choose a classy tortoise frame that features speckles of a bright hue mixed in.  Or, if you want to show a little spunk, go for a frame that is a solid black or brown on the exterior, but with a splash of color on the inside of the frame that shows when you tilt your head.

2- This fluorescent pink frame will go with your crispy white shirt

2- Classic White:  What could be more quintessentially summer than white?  But let’s face it, white can be b-o-r-i-n-g all by itself.  Spice it up with frames in a fluorescent shade and you will turn heads wherever you go.

 

 

 

3- Double color front for Pastels

3- Pastels:  The essence of delicacy in the summer palette, pastels needs a little help to keep them from falling into the category of dull.  Opt for eyewear with double colors to balance the understated tone of a pastel outfit.

 

 

 

4- Clean and refined matte nylon frame for sport inspired trend.

4- Sport Motifs:  The fashion runways this year featured sports-inspired fare such as varsity jackets, tennis-inspired dresses, baseball caps and stripy trims reminiscent of jogging-wear.  Follow through on this theme with lightweight nylon frames in playful colors.

 

 

 

5- Solid bright color frame with distinct shape to balance a classy black and white outfit.

5- Black and White:  This summer classic projects a clean, crisp look, but it risks being a little too unimaginative.  Add contrast and an element of playful shock with brightly colored frames in an edgy shape.

 

 

 

6- Matte finish available in different frames materials will tone down iridescent hues of your outfit.

6- Iridescent:  We love shiny, sparkly stuff for the summer, but it can be a little “too too” if your accessories also are shiny.  Tone it down a little with matte eyewear that balances your look.

 

 

 

 

7- Eyewear with a single distinctive line to go with any mesh clothes

7- Mesh:  Trendy and cool for the summer, mesh has a complex array of overlapping strong lines.  To avoid creating competing drama – or the opposite extreme:  a whimpy counterpart – choose eyewear with a single distinctive line.

 

 

 

8- Wear skin tone pastels eyewear with bright graphic sweaters.

8- Luxe Sweatshirts/Sweaters:

Another great look for this summer is a sweater or sweat shirt with bright splashes of color.  Don’t set up a competition with equally bright frames.  Instead, opt for understated eyewear in skin tone or a pale pastel shade.

 

 

This deep blue makes a bold yet classy statement.

Blue for Guys:  Great news for guys who are tired of elegant and classy, but somewhat boring, black accessories:  Blue is the new black.  Go for a strong look with navy or dark blue, opt for a more playful, sporty look with bright blue, or put on a sophisticated air with a distinctive but understated gray-blue.

 

 

9- Wear skinny lines, thin glasses with a trend.

9- Bold Geometrics:  Nothing says “fun” like a summer ensemble with a color block pattern or strong geometric shape in bold colors.  To echo, but not outdo, the look with your eyewear, choose thin frames with a distinctive look, either in a complementary bold tone or in an understated neutral hue.

10- With his Google Glass, Google launched the trend of wearable technology.

10-Wearable Technology:

 Available in 5 colors, Google Glass will definitely suits with any outfits.  Your Glass will follow you anywhere and will made technology available any time. The eyewear by Google has already reached the upper echelons of influence. It was featured in Vogue Magazine and has accessorized coral and turquoise garments at the Diane Von Furstenberg Runway Show during New York’s Fashion Week for Spring 2013.

“Million Dollar Arm”: Two Thumbs up for the Eyewear

The Emerson is sophisticated, but that doesn’t mean expressionless!

Disney’s newest release, “Million Dollar Arm,” has just hit the big screen, grossing about $10.5 in its first weekend.  While the movie itself – a true life story about a down-on-his-luck sports agent  seeking new baseball pitching talent in India – gets mixed reviews, actor Aasif Mandvi, who plays the sports agent’s business partner, gets a big thumbs up for his eyewear.

What are those chic executive frames he’s wearing?  The classy “Emerson,” which is part of OGI’s Seraphin product line. Mandvi sports (pun intended) the tortoise shell color option, but this frame also comes in a sophisticated black, an elegant dark tortoise and an understated mottled gray.  “Emerson” is one of our most popular frames, which just goes to show that Providence citizens are fashion savvy.

The Emerson frame’s close cousin: OGI 7150

If you like the Emerson, but have a smaller face or want more color, consider OGI’s model 7150, which has a similar front and is available in conservative black, tortoise or mottled gray or in a beautiful upscale tortoise flecked with blue and paired with beautiful translucent blue temples.

“Niles” by OGI Seraphin is the antithesis of Emerson — for those who like curves and thin lines.

 

If you’re not a fan of the geek chic or executive look, OGI offers an amazing array of other shapes, including ovals, rectangles and cat eyes.  You can find both metal and plastic options and one of the industries rarest hybrids:  Plastic frames with nosepads.  OGI even makes parent-child pairs of eyewear so your little one can wear glasses just like yours.  Come explore with us!

Passion for Eyewear Fashion – Asian Style

DIOPS expo in Daegu, South Korea was colorful and just plain fun!

We’ve just returned from the annual Daegu International Optical Show (DIOPS 2014) in South Korea, to which we were invited as VIP participants.  It was obvious as we approached the expo site that this city is in love with eyewear.  Bus stops, buildings and even light poles are decorated with giant eyeglasses.  Maybe it’s because major eyewear factories are only 3 kilometers away from the expo site, but still, you don’t see that kind of excitement in other cities with nearby factories.

Even light poles in Daegu celebrate eyewear.

Eyewear bus stop in Daegu

And it’s not just this city.  Asia itself seems to be in love with eyewear.  Even people who don’t need glasses wear them.  Celebrities have led the trend for more than three years by wearing fashion frames with no lenses.  They have a particular passion for big, chunky frames that make a statement.

One of the challenges for Asians and ethnic Asians living in the West is that American and European eyewear manufacturers don’t take the Asian facial geometry into consideration when they design their frames.  That is, until now.  Because Asia is the fastest growing market for the eyewear industry, Western manufacturers have begun to redesign some of their most popular models to fit the Asian facial structure more comfortably, with different nosepads, front lines and tilt.  Oliver Peoples was a leader in this trend, and Ray Ban soon jumped on the band wagon in a big way – 44% of its export models offer a version specially altered for an Asian fit.

Thin, lightweight, translucent temples with Ultem symbols.

Most popular eyewear shape in Asia in ultra-thin Ultem.

Though we in America tend to think of the latest fashions as emanating from New York, Paris or Rome, in the eyewear industry, Asia plays a leading role.  South Korea, for example, which just happens to be the fourth strongest economy in the world, is the birthplace of Ultem – a super-flexible, lightweight, heat-resistant (think sunglasses sitting on the dashboard) material that has revolutionized eyeglass frames.  Because of its superior strength, manufactures can now create ultra-thin frames, which previously could only be achieved using metal. Ultem also offers an amazing array of color possibilities ranging from transparent to multicolored.  Best of all, it’s a relatively inexpensive material.  Frank Custom and DASA both produce frames made of Ultem, which you can see and try on here at Providence Optical.  We also have a great collection of exciting Paul Hueman (South Korean) acetate and metal frames in sleek, trendy styles, offered at amazingly low prices.

Spring and Magritte: New Beginnings

 

Magritte demonstrates that, contrary to our assumption, maybe day and night can co-exist.

It’s sometimes hard to believe spring is here with these cold temperatures and the continuing threat of snow, but we are oh, so ready to put winter behind us.  Spring is a time of renewal, and as new life springs up from the earth, we start to feel new possibilities. Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte (1898-1967) challenged people to let go of assumptions and consider not what is, but what could be.  His paintings, some of which are currently on display in a special exhibition at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, depict ordinary objects and normal people arranged in ways that seem impossible.  But are they?  Maybe Magritte is really telling us to rethink what is possible.

Street view of our display

Dress shoes of Magritte’s period give our mannequins the ability to take a stroll in style. Who needs legs anyway?

Inspired by the MOMA exhibition, we’ve created a new window display that we think Magritte would approve of.  It features a sky backdrop found in many of Magritte’s paintings and men in the Magritte style – complete with suit, period dress shoes and bowler hat.  We chose Arnold Schwarzenegger’s visage as the face of the men.  In a twist reminiscent of Magritte’s style, we pulled apart the pieces of the men and put them near each other, but not quite together.  What does it symbolize?  Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder.  Surrealism is all about what the image means to you.

Faster Smarter and Now More Fashionable: Google Glass Could Be the Next Step in the Information Technology Revolution

Remember when you decided it took too long to fire up the laptop, so you got a smart phone and started doing most of your day-to-day communicating on the go?  Email just wasn’t fast enough, so you went to instant messaging.  And then Facebook wasn’t quick enough, so you had to add Twitter to your life.

Well, let’s face it; the smart phone is becoming annoyingly slow too.  Let’s say that you see something happening and you want to get a picture or a video.  You have to dig the phone out of your pocket, purse or briefcase, turn it on and select the photo app.  By then, the event you were trying to capture is over.  Bummer!

Or, you’re driving in heavy traffic and you suddenly remember something you need to take care of.  You’re afraid you’ll forget.  You need to write it down or record a memo.  Where is that stupid phone?  It’s dangerous to use it while driving, but you don’t want to risk forgetting to do this thing.  Argh!

Enter the newest smart technology that doesn’t need to be hunted down or turned on — a device that’s always at your beck and call, just waiting for you to tell it what to do next and streaming information to you on the go:  Google Glass.

Early versions of the product, which you may have seen in TV ads, made the wearer look like a malevolent warrior from a Sci Fi movie – not the sort of image you’d want to project if you value your business contacts or if you want to make new friends.

 

Thankfully, Google has seen the light and its geeks have sought the assistance of fashion experts to create a new line of eyewear with the Google Glass computer built into the frame. To compensate for the added weight of the computer, designers used über- lightweight titanium for the frames.  The design puts the computer screen just above your field of vision when you’re looking straight ahead so that it doesn’t interfere with your normal vision, yet  you only need to glance to the upper right when you want it.  You can control the computer with either voice commands, or, if you want privacy in a crowd, touch commands along the right temple of the eyeglass frame.

Watch the video to see how it feels!!

Is this just a fad or is it the next step in the information technology revolution?  It’s too early to tell, but here’s an interesting indicator:  Medical Doctors Carl Spitzer and Craig Rosenberg have teamed up to launch Healium, a company that develops software for the Google Glass device that can be used by EMT squads, in emergency rooms, or during surgery.  Making a medical professional’s use of technology hands free is huge.  It saves precious time, which could save lives. In the same context, Rhode Island Hospital’s Emergency Department announced that it will use Google Glass technology to stream live images of a patient’s medical condition to a consulting specialist located elsewhere. It’s the first in the nation to test Google Glass on medical conditions, see the link below:

http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140307-r.i.-hospitals-emergency-department-first-to-test-google-glass-on-medical-conditions-video.ece

Want to see what it looks like?   We have samples available to try on and explore.  They can be fitted with your prescription in a variety of lens styles, including single-vision, sunglass or progressives.  Frames and lenses are even eligible for subsidies through the VSP insurance program.  Come explore with us!

How to choose Eyewear for 2014?

When people look at your face, the focal point – the first thing they see – is your eyewear.  It literally projects your image outward.  Don’t play it safe by hiding behind conservative (a polite word for “boring”) glasses.  Look for frames that make you smile when you open the case or pick them up from the dresser in the morning.  If you find eyewear that really expresses your inner self, you will exude an air of confidence and you’ll make those around you smile too.

Here are some style tips to help you make the right choice (or choices!)

What Works for Hue?

Don’t be afraid of color.  Both metal and plastic eyeglass frames come in a wide array of hues.  The key is to pick a color as an accent, not as something to blend with your wardrobe.  Matchy-matchy is a big no-no for 2014.  (Think 1980s bright red lipstick with bright red blouse — gack!) Accent colors are more interesting and can work with a whole wardrobe palette.

 

Get in Shape!

Like color, the shape of your eyeglass frame has to work with your face.  In general, you will look best in a frame that is the opposite shape as your face.  For example, if your face is very round, square or rectangular frames will provide geometric balance.  Similarly, if your face is very long and rectangular, don’t accentuate the length with glasses that have a huge up and down dimension.  Look for rectangular frames – ones that are wider than they are tall – to break up the long line of your face.  Or, soften the sharp angles of your jawline with frames that have rounded contours.

 

Color of the Year – We Have It

 

 

Pantone – the ultimate authority on color trends and matches for everything from printing ink to watches – has announced its Color of the Year for 2014:  Radiant Orchid.  It’s a sophisticated blend of fuchsia, purple and pink that changes hues depending on its surroundings.  Infused with the magical quality associated with purple, this color blend color sparks with energy and evokes a feeling of joy and well-being.

If you’re wondering how it looks in eyewear, feast your eyes on some samples from our collection:

 

2014 offers variety of interpretation on classic shapes like cat, Panto and rectangular. Skinny frames, made of light weight materials are so in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Few good reasons to discover …. Garrett Leight

If you have not heard from it yet, you will probably heard from it soon! Garrett Leight California Optical is a pretty new optical company, created in 2010.  GLCO is the abbreviation commonly used for the brand. There is no brand more buzz-worthy lately! It is fueled by a group of young, passionate purveyors of eyewear, dedicated to creating classic design by combining perfect craftmanship with timeless aesthetics.

Garrett Leight, the son of Oliver Peoples founder Larry Leight, has branched out to create a namesake brand of his own. GLCO is laid back, sophisticated, and inspired by his California surroundings. There is a timeless aesthetic to the entire collection. It’s not over complicated, just perfectly executed classic 20th century American styles with a modern twist. Having come from an optical background gives Leight the unique ability to pay attention to the subtle details which makes any frame just that much better: such as the fit, proportion, and comfort. Each frame also boasts some great technical features.

“Our glasses are kind of for the people that have their own original style, and don’t always like to be noticed… they kind of just have this originality. I’m attracted on a design level to certain characters or iconic people from certain periods of time: we made the Arthur Miller frame, I love Greta Garbo, and Grace Kelly, and [iconic] characters like that. Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski… certain people that wore glasses that I’m attracted to, and keep kind of designing frames based on styles they wore. The brand is nothing flashy, and everybody always remarks on the fact there are no logos. I think most people seek out the brand themselves, which is how we envisioned it.” G.Leight

The Venezia is a timeless unisex shape with clean lines and a nice comfortable fit. Its rich with intricate antiqued metal details and combines “Blonde Tortoise Fade” acetate with transparent temples revealing a beautiful underlying filigree design.

Dudley is inspired by the enigmatic writer of generations past. All of the greats have worn this shape from Charles Bukowski to Woody Allen to Allen Ginsberg to Arthur Miller. Made from cured Japanese acetate and custom GLCO hardware, the Dudley is a classic frame with great proportions that works well on both men and women alike.

Dillon is the epitome of the all-American girl’s feminine style. With subtle retro cat eye, this frame is featured in beautiful acetate colors with classic GLCO details like our custom 5-barrel bi-color hinge, and custom engraved core wire.