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Focus | March 16, 2018

Extraordinary visions

Unique and precious items, like works of art, tell stories and define new aesthetic landscapes. Extravagant and excessive, they are beloved by rock stars and artists. These are glasses worthy of true style visionaries

words Alessandra Albarello

Storytelling through glasses takes us on a journey through magical and evocative atmospheres. A perfect example of this is the wild, enchanted garden of Anna-Karin Karlsson’s The Girl & The Garden Eyewear Collection. After getting lost in an imaginary garden, the girl becomes a part of it by putting on glasses with butterflies, birds, insects and strange creatures resting on them. Meanwhile, the moon reflects its cold light, the flowers bloom with a thousand crystal facets and the claws of imaginary predators hold the lenses. The vocation of Swedish Anna-Karin Karlsson is emblematic of a niche trend focused on the choice of a visionary and decidedly eccentric type of luxury that makes use of innovative processes and precious materials. Zircons, titanium, gold, pearls and the skill of the Japanese craftsmen of Sabae, a city in the Fukui prefecture, form the basis of this poetic collection made to amaze but also to emphasise unique personalities. As unrepeatable works of art, the glasses convey a strong message and first and foremost tell a story. They reaffirm an aesthetic opulence that predominantly blends art and music, reinforcing the image of style icons on rock stages, making them immortal. Body language is underlined by veritable sculptures for the eyes that reject homogenisation and everyday banality. At the heart of these glasses there is an on-going search for spectacular effects, strong signals and precise cultural references. New York-based Kerin Rose Gold knows something about this. After graduating with honours at NYU with a thesis on pop culture history, she has combined her many passions by transferring them to the A-Morir brand, creating accessories and clothing that have achieved cult status among actors and rock stars like Rihanna, Katy Perry and Grace Jones, just to name a few. The consecration of her style came on 22 December 2017 when a pair of her playful glasses with the text 2018 were published on the Vogue website as part of an article by Lynn Yaeger.

Ottica Urbani round-shaped sunglasses

Recently, Lady Gaga wore A-Morir models inspired by Elton John’s spectacular models on the occasion of the Tribute to Elton John held at Madison Square Garden in New York. The new collection for S/S 2018 is called Fantasy and coasts on notes from the well-known record by Earth, Wind and Fire, scrambling along the psychedelic rock of Sly and the Family Stone, mythical bands from the 1960-70s. Because there is always a soundtrack that transmits energy, passion and optimism behind every creation. By exploring other contexts, Kerin Rose Gold introduces new chromatic and decorative elements that immediately evoke summer and instil joy, with pastels, fruits, rainbows and an interesting take on the theme of white. The result is glasses that push us to be bold, to cross that fragile border between what we are and what we really want to be. They bring out our desire to be unique. Equally unique are the glasses made in Venice by Ottica Urbani, a shop that opened in the 1960s and which has another legendary story to tell. Apparently, the figures that have passed through its doors include Hemingway and even Le Corbusier (a style icon especially known for his frames) who was in Venice for work in 1963 when his glasses broke, and, accompanied by Carlo Scarpa, he had another pair made to measure by Ottica Urbani. Its loyal customers also include Elton John and the director Spike Lee. The secret of this international fame certainly lies in the customisation and use of decorative elements from Italian artisanal and cultural heritage, such as the murrine supplied by the Ercole Moretti workshop in Murano. Do you want to be able to say “I bought these glasses in Venice”? They are certainly more than just a travel souvenir.