Focus | February 8, 2019

Layers upon layers

The art of combining different elements or styles takes off in eyewear. Thus, a new aesthetic language is created, made up from contemporary frames with an innovative and dynamic style

words Antonella Reina

Think of a tasty open sandwich and its preparation. To make the sandwich, you have to start with a bread base then add a variety of delicious ingredients, such as mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, eggs and beansprouts. Each of these elements creates a different layer that combines with the others to give the final taste and, at the same time, give the dish an attractive appearance, making it delicious to the eye. In food, the layering of various elements or styles is a true art form. This creative method, able to give truly dynamic and original aesthetic results, has passed through painting, fashion, the worlds of jewellery and interior design and has now reached eyewear where layering is a new trend. When making a frame, we often start from an acetate base, which is like the canvas for a painting, and we add curves, profiles and volumes, made with acetates of different weights and colours or with materials that are completely different in structure and in appearance; the combination of these creates new looks and a play of pleasant contrasts, both visual and tactile. A particularly creative process that seems to thrill more and more designers who love to experiment with new processes and technologies. And in this sphere, where inspiration reaches very high peaks and brilliant intuitions, the design that comes from the unexpected combination of layered materials is not to be understood as a simple exercise of style aimed at showing imagination and technical skill, but as a new contemporary language that preserves concepts and meanings related to the socio-cultural aspects of the moment. On the other hand, we live in an era that has been called ‘liquid’, where everything is changing and fluid, where the contamination of genres and styles is now a favourite.

A perfect example of this is the work of SpiltMilk, a new New York brand that loves combining fashion and culture: “SpiltMilk is inclusive, built on the idea that anyone can wear our product regardless of their gender or race – our essence is a combination of fashion and culture,” says creative director Judge Khanna. The frames, which take their name from exotic luxury destinations, are meticulously handmade in Japan and exhibit bold and provocative lines. Like ‘Maui’ sunglasses where the classic square shape is reinterpreted in an oversized, light, technical version. The coloured lenses in light shades are surrounded by a profile in a bright multi-colour acetate that adds a pop note to the stainless-steel structure with its opaque tones.

This is the interpretation of Aari Bostroem, founder of the eponymous brand Aari.Bostroem: “Through my work I want to encourage women to create their own world with a unique and independent look. We want women to wear their fantasy, in reality. We transform dreams into statements every day, every season,” says the Dutch designer who trained in the fashion world, working for some of the most visionary brands, such as the haute couture fashion house Viktor & Rolf, to name but one. ‘Ewa’, which is one of his latest creations, is enhanced by a graphic element created by the ‘collage’ of different gold and acetate metal plates. The detail decorates the outer upper parts of the front, creating a modern, particularly seductive and intriguing cat-eye line. Adding an unexpected detail to a frame with classic profiles, on the other hand, is the idea of Alison Hemmes and Hilarhi Arcade, respectively designer and founder of the French brand LPLR Eyewear (acronym for ‘La Petite Lunette Rouge’). Guided by their desire for individuality and modernity, they reinterpreted the famous clip-on style of the 1980s and added a distinctive double bridge with a red upper line on all their frames. The result? Contemporary frames where stainless steel and acetate profiles combine with the thin red line of the bridge, creating a particularly contemporary style.