Upfront

May
2007

Derector’s Cut

“I’m a big accessories queen,” admits Linda Derector. A quick look around her small, self-named SoHo store at the rows of vintage eyewear and costume jewelry confirms her statement. The red walls, glass shelves and gilded mirrors make both the old and new frames look glitzy and glamorous. Vintage shapes from John-Paul Gautier, Persol, Anglo-American, Alain Mikli, Robert la Roche, Montana, Francois Pinton and Cazal sit next to new and unknown designers like Hunau and Auttica Venetta. The average price tag is around $250, but Derector has been known to sell pairs for up to $3,500.

Linda Derector never imagined she’d be in the eyewear business. She spent most of her career in the fashion industry, including a stint at Bergdorf Goodman as a personal shopper. But eyewear was always an interest. “I always wore glasses,” she says. “I had one for every outfit.” She began buying eyewear wholesale when retailers went out of business, eventually amassing so many she began to resell them. To her, it was something new and fun to do. “And all of a sudden I’m in the eyewear business,” she concludes.

Even with a mere 2,000 of her 6,000 pair archive of eyewear on display, there are frames in every nook and cranny of the store. Surprisingly, Derector stocks more ophthalmic than sunwear, and she sells a majority of her frames to men. As if by example, one man wanders around the store in awe, pulling out drawers and trying on different styles. He hesitates longer than usual in front of the aviator display.

“I thought you didn’t want another pair of aviators,” Derector reminds him, gesturing to the pair he’s already wearing. “I know,” he responds, “but these are all so cool.”

Derector sells all her frames from a fashion standpoint. “You can completely change a person’s appearance with eyewear,” she claims. Her uncanny knack of matching people with flattering eyewear has already netted her clients from all over New York, both celebrity and not. Her plans for the future include hiring an optician and designing her own collection of eyewear. Not that she has any empty space to fill. She gestures around the store and laughs. “If you can’t find a pair of glasses in here, you didn’t really want new glasses.”

— Lauren Taylor

 

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