Beautiful Ladies of Caroline

Faces of Siberian models in new marketing campaign of Caroline Abram eyewear brand

Faces of Siberian models in the new marketing campaign of Caroline Abram’s eyewear brand

Caroline Abram is a French eyewear designer and founder of the brand “Caroline Abram”. Abram has five international Silmo d’Or awards — 2006, 2008, 2014, 2015 and a nomination in 2017 .

For the past two years, the renowned designer has come to niveous Novosibirsk, a large city in the heart of Siberia (Russia) to photo shoot her new eyewear collection. Caroline explains that she admires the inner strength, subtle beauty and delicacy of Russian women. In two days of shooting, 2,543 photo frames were taken and the models changed their clothes 24 times.

Caroline Abram, photo shoot in Russia for her new campaign

Abram herself directed the models and the photo shoot in general

“Exaggerate, play and provoke”

“Girls! It’s your time to realize the Wonder Woman inside of you.”

We were privileged to chat with Caroline Abram at the Moscow International Optical Fair (MIOF) in February, 2019

Here is a story Caroline told:

“You go to work or to a restaurant. You wear a beautiful coat, shoes  and you have a beautiful handbag. Yet, you sit down at your work desk or at a restaurant table. You put your coat and a purse away and no-one sees your feet :(. What’s left? Your glasses. They tell everything about you. Who you are, what mood you have, what attitude. That’s why, I think, a desire to get new glasses should come first. I want to convince all women that they look amazing in glasses. For me, eyewear is makeup. We play with makeup to change our looks by changing lipstick, blush and eyeshadow colors. With makeup, we convey our mood; sometimes matching clothes, sometimes contrasting, blending or accenting…A woman should wear eyewear according to her mood. 

I also believe that eyewear should empower women, although I don’t consider myself  a feminist, I believe in women’s strength and confidence and eyewear is just the right tool to show that. ”

Caroline Abram and Onega Astaltsova in Moscow, February, 2019

Caroline_Abram_photo shoot SiberiaCaroline_Abram_Novosibirsk photo shoot

Karl’s Palette

La-Palette-de-Karl

Illustration Gilles Boogaerts

 

In April 2008 MADAME FIGARO published small questionnaire regarding the colors of his “inner universe”. We post it the way it was published, in French.

De quelle couleur êtes-vous?

Noir et blanc.

La couleur qui vous fait voir la vie en rose?

Certainement pas une piece peinte en rose vif. Le blanc bleuté, le gris perle très pâle et le rose très, très pâle.

Avec quelle couleur êtes-vous fâché?

Le rouge et le bleu vif pour vivre. Et le mauve et le violet, les pires couleurs en décoration.

Qu’est-ce qui rime avec couleur?

Couleur=bonheur.

Couleur=malheur…qu’on attribue bêtement à certaines couleurs, comme vert, que j’adore.

Eye chart alphabet for your business

 

Design firm ANTI Hamar has created a typeface based on the traditional eye chart. It's called OPTICIAN SANS

Design firm ANTI Hamar has created a typeface based on the traditional eye chart. It’s called OPTICIAN SANS

This uncompleted alphabet has been seen by millions when testing their visual acuity by an eye doctor. Optician Kay Louise Sloane created these letters in 1959 as a successor to the Snellen chart, produced a hundred years before that since then they’ve been limited to these 10 letters. Up until now. “We based the typeface on the same 5×5 grid as the original optotype letters and completed the full alphabet including numbers and special characters,” – say creators of ANTI Hamar firm (Norway). It’s called OPTICIAN SANS. The effort began as a rebranding for the optical shop in Norway that wanted to deliver the messages to its customers as clear as possible. 

Snellen chart was developed in 1862 to measure visual acuity. Sloan chart was developed in 1952, with the same proportions, but without serifs. Optician Sans was developed in 2018 as fully functional facetype (originally for branding for the optical store in Norway).

Snellen chart was developed in 1862 to measure visual acuity. Sloan chart was developed in 1952, with the same proportions, but without serifs. Optician Sans was developed in 2018 as fully functional facetype (originally for branding for the optical store in Norway).

Not a bad idea. You can also try this typeface for your business. Maybe it’s the best font for advertising :) The new font is free at

https://optician-sans.com

That’s how our name in Optician Sans looks like:

ProvidenceOptical-OpticianSans

Snellen chart at a doctor office at South Dakota original 1880 Town

Snellen chart at a doctor office at South Dakota original 1880 Town

Paris in July with Lucas de Staël

Eyewear designer Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova at his workshop in Paris, July 2018

Eyewear designer Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova at his workshop in Paris, July 2018

We recently visited award-winning eyewear designer Lucas de Staël’s very first eyewear boutique, which he opened in the Marais district of Paris in January of this year, and we just had to share the experience with you!  In collaboration with architect Nicolas Omet, de Staël created a space in the where oak, steel and leather – Staël’s trademark frame material — play off each other and interact with the eyewear on display.

The modular wall on the right features 900 magnets – evoking the design of de Staël’s famous “Le Trinocle” accessory that uses a magnet to allow for different combinations of a binocle, a mirror and a magnifying glass.  Arrayed in an industrial monochrome pattern, the magnets allow for an infinite variety of arrangements of the metal shelves that showcase some of the eyewear.

In other portions of the shop, eyeglasses are suspended on netting affixed to a brick wall and seem to be suspended in mid-air (thanks to invisible plastic holders) against a backlit white wall.  A plant conservatory adds a natural aura of soft beauty and relaxation to the experience.

Pendant lamps with cow-leather shades, made in de Staël’s workshop, provide soft, focused illumination and are available for sale.  Likewise, his sleek oak and steel storage drawer cabinets and “schoolboy chairs” are available for purchase.

Providence Optical has proudly carried de Staël’s Undostrial and LDS lines since their inception.  Come try on some of this century’s finest innovation in eyewear!

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Modular wall at Lucas de Staël store, Paris

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Leather frame Minotaure 1900 was inspired by Art Nouveau.

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General view of the store with tropical plants in the background

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Leather light pendants at Lucas de Staël store, Marais, Paris.   Leather — cow and goat — is a one of de Staël’s characteristic frame materials.   He also uses snake, stingray and iguana skins for special projects.

 

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Blackfin CEO Nicola Del Din: A Passion for Nature and Innovation

Blackfin cookies

Blackfin logo- cookies

We like to think about glasses with a difference, glasses with style but also with forward thinking design and functionality in mind. A brand that will gives us exactly this at it’s very best and so much more is Blackfin. Blackfin is an inspiring independent brand that uses three different cultures to make their glasses look so good, these are from  Italy to keep their Italian style,  Japan for it’s material & technology and Northern Europe for it’s information technology. Its hard to have one way of thinking when using three different cultures, but they believe its the only way for the future to move forward, and we couldn’t agree more.

Situated in the Agordo, Italy, nestled in the Dolomite Mountains and surrounded by fragrant forests, the Blackfin facility continues the legacy established by CEO Nicola Del Din’s mother, when she founded Pramaor eyewear in 1971.  Our colleague from OpticMagazine (Russia) had the opportunity to sit down with Del Din at MIDO international  eyewear show in Milan a couple of months ago to ask him about his vision for the company and what he’s proudest of.

Chris wears ARC by Blackfin

Chris wears ARC by Blackfin. Model ARC received special prize at SILMO (Paris) in 2017

The company was started in 1971 by the current CEO’s mother and he believes that with the service of the internet they are just where they need to be right now, offering both exceptional customer service and advanced technology with their product. His father sadly passed away in 1998, he took over the company and was forced to change strategy. In 2008 he decided to go with a fresh approach – they now have 47 years production and experience of technology under their belt, which has given them a new approach, new ideas and a completely different mentality.  However, they will always continue to be Italian in their design, way of life and production.

In 2012, Del Din made the decision to work solely in titanium and beta-titanium (an alloy created for extraordinary flexibility) which gives their frames a stylish edge as well as being extremely lightweight and durable. Titanium is in fact one of the purest metals available in the industry.  It is strong, light-weight (40% less than steel), non-allergenic, durable, biocompatible and non-toxic – all in keeping with the pristine natural surroundings of the Blackfin facility.BF Marrowstone,2018Meticulous craftsmanship also is part of the formula.  Creating a Blackfin frame requires 53 steps, which Del Din refers to not as “processes” but rather as “rites of passage”.  That says it all. “Blackfin is a brand that has always invested in research and innovation, our goal being to offer a product of absolute excellence”, said Del Din while receiving prize for Technological Innovation at Silmo (Paris) in 2015. Innovation is a special way to hold lenses in a frame, called Shark-lock. Up until 2010 Blackfin were producing for bigger companies, but the margin was minimal so they had to rethink their process. As usual it wasn’t an easy change but they eventually found their way on a new and exciting road. Their marketing strategy a year ago was “the sky is the limit”, for some limits can be a problem, but Blackfin certainly exceeded those. The brand is all about looking beyond and they are always looking to update their products, as well as continuing to learn. This is why they believe in being different, because they were once alone in this field and wanted to make a change, which was difficult but also achievable. 

Blackfin now has a number of distributors in Europe, USA, Canada, Russia, Mexico and Asia and they wont be stopping there. Drop by Providence Optical to see for yourself what makes these frames so standout, with our new range hand picked by our opticians specially for you.  

Blackfin 2018

Blackfin ARGYLE

Blackfin ARGYLE

 

What you see isn’t always what you get!

 

The picture appear to move  because of the arrangement of colors in the small small repeated patterns. Combination of 4 colors gives the best illusion. These 4 colors should be as different from each other as is possible

Self-Animating Images: The pictures appear to creep because of the arrangement of colors in the small small repeated patterns. Combination of 4 colors gives the best illusion. These 4 colors should be as different from each other as is possible

Our natural feeling is that our minds are like a mirror on which light falls – that we simply perceive the world as it is. For a long time, philosophers and scientists thought along similar lines. In the late eighteenth century Immanuel Kant introduced the idea that there is a stage between what our eyes and ears pick up and what we perceive; that while we depend on sensory data for our knowledge, we make sense of its profusion and confusion by relying on in-built mental categories. But it took scientists science some time scientists to catch up with Kant; in classical physiology up until the twentieth century, visual images fell upon the optic nerve, and that was that. Freud suspected that the function of receiving sensory signals and registering them were separate, though he had no strong evidence for it at the time. We now know that the brain does indeed do a lot of work to make reality comprehensible- that the world as scanned by our eyes is rather different from the world we see. Your brain “serves up a story to you”. In a sense, deception begins the moment you open your eyes. (Ian Leslie “BORN LIARS”)

A dizzying spiral; pattern vividly activates Francis Stark's Chorus Girl works, generating the illusion of their mobility

A dizzying spiral pattern vividly activates Francis Stark‘s Chorus Girl works, generating the illusion of their mobility. (Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2017) The pattern based on well-known work Rotating Snake by Akiyoshi Kitaoka.

If you stare at a fixed point in space, like a dot on the wall in front of you, everything to the left of the do is projected to the right half of  your brain, and vice versa. each hemisphere receives nerve transmissions from the opposite leg and arm and picks up sound from the opposite ear. Nobody knows why, they just do.

 Slender works by Venezuelan-American artist Rafael Barrios play like a 3D optical illusion (New York, 2012)

Slender works by Venezuelan-American artist Rafael Barrios play like a 3D optical illusion (New York, 2012)

Your eyes don’t have enough neuronal receptors to capture a whole property, so pupils dance frantically around as they try to bring the sharper region of focus to bear every part of the room, a movement known as the saccade. Yet you have the illusion of continuous, coherent vision.

3D crosswalk in Ísafjörður ( Iceland ) helps slow down speeding motorists

3D illusion crosswalk in Ísafjörður ( Iceland ) helps slow down speeding motorists

Also in Beijing (China)

Also in Beijing (China)

And in Ahmedabad ( India )

And in Ahmedabad ( India )

The brain ‘actively creates pictures of the world’. Rather than trying to interpret every new thing it sees as if encountering it for the first time, the brain makes series of working assumptions about what a chair looks like, or a person, and where object going to be, then makes predictions about- best guesses- about what’s before us. It compares its expectations with the new information coming in, checks for mistakes, and revises accordingly. The result is ‘a fantasy that collides with reality’.

The same paint (nail lacquer Essie 66 in this case) looks darker on white background then on a finger.

The same paint (nail lacquer Essie 66 in this case) looks darker on white background then on a finger.

Singapore Salutes Essilor

Aerial view of Singapore's Gardens by the Bay

Aerial view of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay (photo from SkyPark Observation Deck by Onega)

Last week, the Sustainable Business Awards, organized by the third time in Singapore chose lens manufacturer Essilor as the award winner in the new category, “UN Sustainable Development Goals” in recognition of its contributions to 13 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  Specifically, Essilor received praise for reducing its environmental footprint, caring for its employees’ health and safety, promoting diversity, supporting education and ensuring responsible consumption and production.

To understand why this award is so significant, you have to understand a bit about Singapore and its values.  Singapore is the capital of the country with the same name and it lies at the southern tip of a peninsula that juts into the South China Sea just north of the equator.  Its tropical location is a big plus, but what makes the city unique is the way its green policies have transformed this densely populated urban local.  It could be a typical dirty, crowded big city, but instead, it is graced by parks and gardens that provide a home for exquisite tropical flora.  The city has instituted policies to support the environment, including beefing up public transportation, installing systems to catch and use rain water and retrofitting thousands of buildings to meet green standards.

Tree sculptures that harvest solar energy

Tree sculptures that collect solar energy

A stunning example of how artistic design and eco-innovation come together in this city is the “Supertree Grove” located within the Gardens by the Bay.  The “trees” are playful sculptures that support photovoltaic cells (informally called “solar panels”) and the “grove” is accessible to visitors via an elevated walkway that provides breathtaking views of the park and surrounding area.  The energy collected by the cells lights the gardens at night while captured rainwater irrigates the gardens – a veritable beacon of green design.

Providence Optical's Onega enjoying the view from the elevated walkway in Singapore's solar grove

Providence Optical’s Onega Astaltsova enjoying the view from the elevated walkway in Singapore’s solar grove, August 2017

If that’s not enough to make you fall in love with the city, consider the fact that it is gaining a reputation – second only to Japan – as a “design destination”.  This is not serendipity.  The city leadership actively promotes design innovation by encouraging enterprise in this sector and sponsoring events like Singapore Design Week and Sustainable Business Awards, Singapore.

In accepting the award, Essilor executives pointed out that they see their mission as addressing the most widespread disability in the world:  poor vision.  Shockingly, 80% of impaired vision is treatable and yet this remains the greatest disability globally.  Essilor’s efforts to address the issue through The Essilor Vision Foundation include vision screening events, donations of lenses and frames, and media campaigns to raise awareness, as well as support to local nonprofits with similar programs.

When you choose which lenses to purchase for your glasses, of course you want crystal-clear vision, but wouldn’t it be great if your purchase also could contribute to protecting the environment and helping people who live below the poverty line?  Well, with Essilor, you can have it all!

Supertree Grove

Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Providence Optical proudly offers Essilor products to suit all our clients’ vision needs.

About Essilor International :

The world leading ophthalmic optics company, Essilor designs and manufactures a wide range of lenses to improve and protect eyesight. Its mission is to improve lives by improving sight. Its the most known brands are Varilux®, Crizal®, Transitions®, Xperio®, Foster Grant®. It employs 64,000 people and worldwide, markets its products in more than a 100 countries and has 33 plants, 5 research and development centers (including Essilor Innovation and Technology Center in Singapore), 490 prescriptions laboratories.

On August 23′ 2017 Essilor was named by Forbes as one of 100 of the world’s “Most Innovative Companies” for 2017.Essilor has first earned a spot in this prestigious list in 2010 and has been ranked every year ever since among the world 100 publicly traded companies identified by investors featuring the best innovation potential now and in the future.

Greenery as part of architectural design, Singapore

Greenery as part of architectural design, Singapore

Breaking Down Barriers: The Fashion Industry Embraces Gender Neutral

Barriqule

Gender neutral eyeglasses from Barriqule (Italy)

The current swirl of controversy over the question of whether access to restrooms and shower facilities should be based on a person’s birth gender or current gender identity brings to the fore a trend that the fashion industry has increasingly embraced over the past few years:  gender neutrality.  Also called gender fluid, no gender or bi-gender, this trend embraces the concept that a person’s choice of clothing and accessories should be based on what looks good and feels right, not which department displays the apparel.

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Gucci gender neutral line, photo via style.com

Back in March 2015, the British retailer Selfridges took a bold step in dismantling its men’s and women’s department for six weeks, replacing both with a unified department it called “Agender” that offered clothing, beauty products and accessories.   This mirrors a trend on the catwalks where male and female models wear fashions of their own and the opposite gender, and fashion shows are increasingly combined to display men’s and    women’s clothing  together and interchangeably.

 A Little History

This trend is not as new as it may seem.  European women “stole” the fashion of high-heeled shoes from men way back in the 17th century and, at the same time, cut their hair short, wore men’s style hats and added military elements, such as epaulettes, to their outfits as a fashion statement.

Fast forward to the 1920s and we find the “la garconne” look – women’s clothing with a distinctive masculine edge that freed women from the bondage of corsets and layered petticoats.  This was women’s liberation on both the physical and psychological levels!

gender neutral bowie

David Bowie famously promoted an asexual look.

Half a century later, Diane Keaton rocked the grown-up tomboy look in the movie the 1977 film Annie Hall and singer/song writer David Bowie was famous for his androgynous look in the same era.  Jean-Paul Gaultier pushed boundaries even farther by releasing a line of men’s skirts in 1985.  Calvin Klein grounded the movement with unisex clothing lines in the 1990s.

Japanese or Korean designers innately have sense transgender fashion. Remember Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Gentle Monster…

Not the Same Thing as Unisex

The gender neutral concept is a step forward from unisex.  It’s not about a garment or accessory styled for both genders.  It’s a shirt, coat, or eyeglass frame that speaks for itself and refuses to be limited by gender.   The focus is on the object itself and that breaks down gender barriers.

WOOW (France)

Gender-Neutral Eyewear

The eyewear industry was ahead of the rest of the fashion world with its debut of the “geek chic” look nearly a decade ago and the concurrent revival of vintage styles that gave young women “permission” to wear replicas of their grandfathers’ glasses.  Since then, sleeker lines, bold colors and revolutionary materials have made gender boundaries irrelevant in eyewear fashion.   Wear what looks good on you and expresses your unique fashion sense!

Collection 2016 by students of Rhode Island School of Design  Fred Mezidor, Adam Blake and Jacob Valencia:

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University of Westminister fashion show 2017:1. Elliot Kinney / 2. Jasper McGilvray / 3. Nicholas Yip / 4. Lloyd Husband

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Series of photos FASHION HAS NO FACE, NO GENDER, NO RULES. Photographer Nicholas Kristiansen: “Diversity to me is the concept of being whoever you want, I wanted to use male and female models that you couldn’t identify the gender of make the idea of gender roles less significant”.

 

 

 

no gender4 no gender3 no gender2 no gender1

LE TRINOCLE by Lucas de Staël

Le Trinocle

Le Trinocle is a unique accessory, joining a binocle, a mirror and a magnifying glass, ready to be combined as you wish, thanks to the included magnets. Handmade in Paris, using genuine cow leather, Le Trinocle is available in 5 colors. Playful, modular and multipurpose, it’s an exceptional piece, redefining what eyewear accessories can be. Combine at will !

Available at Providence Optical as special request.

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LDS_Trinocle-colors

Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova, Jan 2017

Lucas de Staël and Onega Astaltsova, Jan 2017