Don’t be fooled by the name: “Conservatoire International de Lunettes”

Alfredo Salazar, Paris-based Mexico-born photographer  in model 404 by Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

As we introduce New Englanders to an amazing and diverse collection that we discovered on a trip to Europe last month, we thought it appropriate to explain a little about the name Conservatoire International de Lunettes, which playfully juxtaposes truth and a little bit of fantasy.

Further seems forever, by Carlotta Cattaneo, an Italian graphic designer. Interpretation of model 107 for Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Truth:  It really does involve a conservatory  –  not just one creator, but a whole school of artists, philosophers (yes, philosophers!) and entrepreneurs with brilliant minds and incredible talent.  These frames express their varied cultural backgrounds and professional experiences of their creators. Artists from all over the world came with their diverse style and methods to illustrate their personal vision of Conservatoire glasses. They incorporated Conservatoire in  their art works.


To see or not to see by Luca Rossato, an Italian photographer. Model 107 for Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Truth:  The Conservatoire International de Lunettes collection embraces the classics, like tortoiseshell acetate, and marries it to modern creativity, like transparent layered color inside the frame, or thin metal temples.  The result is classic reinterpreted in a sleek, sophisticated style.



Fiction:  The name Conservatoire International de Lunettes is French, but the company is Italian, based in Milan, fashion mecca and home of the finest optical acetate products in the world.

Visit us to experience the very best of Italian craftsmanship, design, technology and fashion.

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.

Good Ol’ Summertime — Don’t Forget the Shades


Tom Wesselmann, Still Life No. 60, 1973

National Sunglasses Day (June 27) is poised right at the beginning of the beach season for a very important reason:  to remind you that in addition to all the summer-fun essentials like sunscreen, beach towels and your sexy swim suit, you must not forget to procure one or two pairs of good quality sunglasses, which serve dual duty as fashion accessory and essential UV protection.

Fashion Trends

What’s in this summer?  The retro look is really hot.  For her: cat eyes, ovals and the big, square or rounded Jackie O. look.  For him: aviators, round shapes – in plastic, or John Lennon-style metal – and oversized horn rims (think Clark Kent). 

Tortoise continues to please as a classic, but look for interesting variations, such as Havana tortoise, which has yellow tones as the predominant background, or those interesting orangey brown tones reminiscent of the 1960s. 

Bright colors are the hottest new trend –reds, blues and electric greens.  For women, pastels are growing in popularity and they make a nice contrast to your summer bronze.  Two-tone eyewear is a bold new trend, with the front piece in one color and the temples in a contrasting or complementary color. 



Damage from UV rays affects both the delicate skin around your eyes — causing premature wrinkles (Argh!) – and your retina.  In fact, UV damage is a leading cause of eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, which is irreversible. 

Here’s the secret:  It’s the lens material and not the tint or polarization that provides UV protection.  Cheap plastic doesn’t block 100% of UV rays and tinting makes the situation worse because it causes your pupils to open wider, which lets in more UV light.  Look for polycarbonate, which is 100% UV-blocking, or lenses with a UV block coating, usually identified by a sticker on the lens. 

Antiglare is another important option.  It keeps light from bouncing all around and making you crazy. 


So Why Buy Polarized? 

Polarized lenses are like mini blinds.  They block light from entering vertically.  In fact, if you take two pairs of polarized sunglasses and hold them at a 90-degree angle to each other (one vertical and the other horizontal), you’ll see that together they completely block out the light.  If you spend a lot of time around the water, polarization is essential for comfort.

This technology tamps down the reflection of the rays and makes you feel cooler and more comfortable.  But, beware:  40% of reflected light comes at you from behind the lens.  How?  Light bounces up under your shades from reflective surfaces, such as water, sand, sidewalks and even snow.  Your polarized lenses don’t have the ability to block light that doesn’t pass through them, so you still need anti-reflective treatment on the back side of the lens to absorb light rays bouncing up at you from below.


The Best Fit

For optimal protection, you need a comfortably snug fit with maximum coverage.  A good trick is to have a friend – or your favorite optician – stand and look at you from the front and the side.  Tilt your head forward so your friend/optician can see the view from above as well as head-on.  If s/he can see your eyes from any angle, so can the sun. 

The temples (earpieces) should ride close to your head, but should not touch your skin until a point just in front of your ear.  This leaves room for your skin to breathe and avoids discomfort when your skin swells slightly from heat and perspiration.