Sep
2003

Upfront

So Wise
The B&W portrait of Giorgio Armani gracing the new Giorgio Armani Occhiali marketing campaign literature is certainly striking in its bold revelation of the man masterminding the brand. He’s wearing a rimless style with AR coated lenses allowing the deepest look into the eyes of a designer paramount to turning style into lifestyle for over a quarter of a century. Any photograph would be hard pressed to deliver such a solid message of confidence inscribed by wisdom. So how do you build on that message in a more informal yet bold and friendly manner for Emporio Armani?

How about extraordinary monochromatic photos of… a male and a female owl… in sunglasses! Long acknowledged for their superior vision (especially nocturnally), owls posses quite an interesting range of specialized characteristics. Unlike most birds, but exactly like humans, owls have both eyes set in a frontal facial plane. And no other living creature is capable of the head-turning range of an owl. Based on all those fascinating feats it seems surprising that no one has really clocked in with the wise one’s image to such a degree in optical lately. If so, the Armani message seems clear from this visual marketing—purposeful yet playful; classic yet classy; style that can define a modern life; Occhiali that can turn heads. —James J. Spina

Garage Band
It was fun and games—and shopping—for a good cause. Celebrities and their kids came out to the recent Super Saturday 6 fundraiser at the Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill, N.Y. to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, which was created in memory of late fashion editor Liz Tilberis. Ray-Ban Jr. from Luxottica graced some of the faces of famous offspring participating in activities at the Betty Crocker Sweet Tent. Former super model Christie Brinkley’s son Jack (left) Cook wears style RK 9004S while his sister Sailor Cook (middle) sports RK 9003S. Young actress Hallie Kate Eisenberg (right) in style RK 9001S.

Hosted by designer Donna Karan and InStyle magazine, the day-long charity event included a “designer garage sale” featuring merchandise reduced from 30 percent to 50 percent off retail. All proceeds went to the OCRF. The garage sale included such designers as Kenneth Cole, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein as well as opti-participants Selima Optique and Silhouette Optical.   
—Jackie Micucci
Worth Making a Fit Over — Fitovers is looking to keep consumers in the loop with a new web site packed full of optical insight. The site is set to appeal to the vast cross-section of prescription frame wearers including sport fanatics, drivers, motorbike riders, photochromic lens wearers and low-vision patients. The site enables the viewer to determine the style that is the best fit for their prescription eyeglass frame. Printable size charts aid in selecting the correct size and an online dealer locator directs consumers to their nearest Fitovers retailer. Visitors can also browse pages dedicated to UV and polarization facts as well as frame and lens technology. There is also a company history, warranty information, warranty registration and a Fitovers web log—the FitLog. This Blog (web log) includes letters and emails from Fitovers wearers, photographs of Fitovers in action, questions, answers and suggestions. Also posted is new product information, independent product reviews, feedback and links from retailers and links to both trade and consumer press web sites relevant to a Fitovers wearer.
“Fitovers growth in popularity is due in large part to word-of-mouth referrals. FitLog is basically an online version of the same thing, an interactive forum for wearers to share their Fitovers comments and learn from others experiences,”
says Amanda Searancke, Fitovers marketing director. —JJS

Stylish stars. In Miyagi Eyewear are 1. Alicia Silverstone in style 1321 and 2. Rob Lowe in  style 1329… Here and there. “Friends” star 3. Jennifer Anniston was seen on the beach donning a pair of Bottega Veneta sunglasses style BV02/s while an injured 4. Halle Berry went about town in a pair of Dior Mini Motard N/S frames in leather trim. Both styles are from Sàfilo… Ray of light. 5. Jamie Lee Curtis, who can be seen in yet-another-remake of Disney’s “Freaky Friday,” in Mr. Ray from l.a. Eyeworks. The actress is pictured with Paris retailer Jean Luc Chekroun… Birds of a feather. Guitarist 6. Chad Taylor from the band Live wears Dior Homme Black Tie 4/s in black from Sàfilo on the album cover of the group’s latest CD “Birds of Pray”… On the marc. Wearing eyewear from Robert Marc are 7. Jessica Simpson in Robert Marc style 515-38 in azure mint sun, 8. Tom Green in Robert Marc style 522-10 in black, 9. Michelle Trachtenberg in Robert Marc style 517-42 in black diamond and 10. Camryn Manheim in Lunor Classic III 354 in light gold with green lenses… Undercover angel. Former brat packer 11. Demi Moore is enjoying a resurgence thanks to her appearance as fallen angel Madison Lee in the summer flick “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and her boy toy Ashton Kutcher. The actress apparently adores Dior as she has been spotted in the Dior Mini Motard and (inset) the Dior Baba/s both from Sàfilo… Checking in. Socialite/professional party goer 12. Paris Hilton wears the Maurice Malone Unik from Moja Design… That’s entertainment. “ET” host 13. Jan Carl in Fendi Suns style FS268 in golden sienna from Marchon… Famous son. Actor 14. Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks) from the TV show “Roswell” and movie “Orange County” in Boom By Atom Dr. Frank Limited Edition from Moja Design.  —JM 

Arizona OD Wins ‘Spyder’ in Younger’s Sweepstakes — Chris Carpenter, OD, of Chandler, Ariz., says he was “mostly just shocked” when he learned that he held the winning ticket for a new 2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder from Younger Optics at the 106th American Optometric Association (AOA) Congress, held recently in San Diego.
To participate in the drawing, each ticket holder entered a life-size glare demonstrator. Once inside, they looked through NuPolar polarized lenses to eliminate the glare in the demonstrator to see if their ticket matched the background scene.

Mix ‘n Match with Essilor and Transitions — ECPs can match up top industry brands with the newest promotion from Essilor of America and Transitions Optical. From August 1 through October 31 ECPs will receive an orange sticker for every pair of Varilux Transitions lenses ordered and an additional green sticker for every pair of Varilux Transitions Crizal lenses ordered. When a game card is affixed with 20 stickers, it can be redeemed for a $50 gift certificate to national retail chains Home Depot, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy or Pier 1 Imports. Each redeemed game card will be automatically entered into a monthly grand prize drawing for $5,000. There are a total of three $5,000 grand prizes.
ECPs can obtain their game cards, prize descriptions and contest rules through their local brand sales consultant or by calling (800) Essilor, ext. 7195 for contact information. All game cards must be redeemed by November 30 to obtain prizes.

NexGen’s New Site Features Cast-to-Rx Technology — NexGen Vision recently launched www.nexgenvision.com, a web site designed to educate ECPs about its proprietary cast-to-prescription technology and promote NexGen Vision’s products. The company is currently expanding the site’s lens distribution product area.

Leader of the Pak — Indo Lens US is releasing Indo Pak, a pre-packaged order of finished lenses manufactured from Superfin lens material. Finished Superfin lenses are available in clear (spherical and aspherical), Indochromic (photochromic) and Indosol (fixed tint). The service, which provides dispensers with an easy and accurate order, is only available through Global Optics lab members. Dispensers who order Superfin by Indo Pak qualify for a special rebate. Currently, Indo Pak orders also include a barcode scanner at no charge as an added incentive. Indo Pak and all Superfin lenses can also be ordered online at www.lenstock.com.

V-E Launches ‘Outlook’ Incentive Program — Capitalizing on the growing number of new presbyopes and the opportunity to promote second-pair sales, Vision-Ease Lens is launching the Outlook Rewards program this month
at Vision Expo West. Outlook Rewards is an incentive-based program that rewards and compensates participating eyecare practices, dispensing opticians and processing labs for selling and processing Outlook progressive lenses. Participants earn points for Outlook sales, which may be combined with points from V-E’s SunRx program; the points can be redeemed for a wide range of merchandise. Outlook Rewards also features a “scratch and win” game piece.

Rodenstock: One Rep Fits All — Rodenstock North America sales representatives will now be representing all of the company’s products instead of only one specific segment as before. ECPs can now work with a single Rodenstock sales rep rather than multiple reps. The Rodenstock reps are being trained about all Rodenstock merchandise, including lenses, frames and the complete Rodenstock spectacle product.

Winner’s Circle — The French magazine LSA recently honored Activisu Interactive Visual System (IVS) for its innovative virtual try-on technology. At a gala ceremony held in Paris in June, Activisu, along with six other companies, was selected from a field of nearly 200 applicants.

 Pictured here, Benoist Monot, president of IVS and Valérie Langlois, marketing manager, receives the Oscar of Innovation Services in the consumer category from Serge Weinberg, president of Pinault-Printemps-Redoute.


Leybold Adds European Seminar Dates — Leybold Optics is following up its recent symposiums on AR coating technology with two more seminars in Europe. The free events will be held in Milan, Italy, September 29 to 30, and in Alzenau, Germany, October 1 to 2. Industry experts from NGL Technology, Schneider, SDC Technologies, Optimal Technology, Umicore Materials and Leybold Optics will discuss the latest developments in surfacing, hard coating, AR coating and lens testing.
For further details, schedule and an application form, visit
www.leyboldoptics.com.

Head Coach
His dream as a child was to be a hockey goalie. In fact, Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director of Coach, the 60-year-old American leather and lifestyle goods company, was such a good hockey player he was recruited by a New England boarding school and was a star player in the New England teen hockey league. During summers he played in a prestigious Canadian-American teen league, a legendary breeding ground for future stars of the NHL. “I’ve always liked sports—participating in them—not watching,” Krakoff says.

“But that’s one side of me. The other side is my interest in design. My mother was a decorator and she turned me on to painting. I was especially drawn to modern art when I was young,” he explains. “I loved Warhol and I liked the sense of fantasy created by artists such as Jasper Johns with his numbers series and his maps of America. As a child, I also loved museums. I remember the first one I visited—in Boston when I was seven. I was impressed by the extraordinary space. It was enormous, white and quiet,” Krakoff notes. “I’m also a huge admirer of the architect/designer Philippe Starck. He has incredible energy and an ability to work with so many different materials—pasta, toothbrushes, eyewear, motorcycles, hotels—and create something distinctly his own.”

So it’s not surprising that when it came to a career, Krakoff turned to design. He holds an A.A.S. degree in fashion design from Parsons School of Design and a B.A. in economics and art history from Tufts University. Upon completing college in the late ’80s, he interned at Anne Klein as Narciso Rodriguez’s assistant. Krakoff also worked on Ralph Lauren’s design team and as senior vice president of marketing, design and communications at Tommy Hilfiger USA. In 1996, he was hired as Coach’s first creative director and given the mission of overhauling the Coach image—an already formidable brand. In 2001, he was named Accessories Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Under Krakoff’s leadership, Coach has continued its global expansion into such product lines as shoes, clothing, jewelry, luggage and furniture. In 2002, Coach signed an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement with Marchon Eyewear for a line of ophthalmic frames and sunglasses. The eyewear will debut this month at Vision Expo West.

In shaping Coach’s image, Krakoff follows the company’s overall philosophy of accessible luxury and incorporates his own holistic approach. “All of our products, whether they be bags, belts or eyewear, must embody functionality, an innovative use of materials, distinctive style and sensibility,” Krakoff says.

“Everything has to be integrated into the picture along with appropriate pricing, marketing and merchandising. Nothing can be too expensive, non-functional or over designed. And all the licenses in our collection have to have a relevance to the others,” the designer emphasizes. For example, he notes the signature grommets found on the bags also accent the eyewear. “I think it’s this cohesiveness and dedicated focus and commitment to all areas of our brand from product design to marketing that sets Coach apart. It’s also undoubtedly the reason we have such a broad customer base,” Krakoff adds.

Because of Coach’s commitment to cohesiveness, the designer feels it’s essential that all the licensees have a shared vision. “We make a point of developing a partnership with our licensees,” he says. “We feel Marchon is a great partner for us in our eyewear pursuits. We definitely have a shared vision.”
Krakoff also feels eyewear is a key element in the big picture. “It’s glamorous, sexy and fun and it completes the image. You can give yourself a whole new look just by putting on a sunglass. It’s a great way for people to express themselves. And relatively speaking, eyewear is a very affordable accessory,” he notes. Krakoff’s ultimate goal for this accessory is to develop more iconic eyewear that even without the brand logo is recognizable as Coach product.

For his own use, the designer has always liked aviator and rimless styles. But he has been personally trying various designs, following his policy of testing new Coach product, whether it’s a belt, luggage or sunwear. His criteria: it should be fun, useful and stylish. His definition of style: “It should be effortless. People who have a sense of style look comfortable.”

“I think
it’s this
cohesiveness
and dedicated focus and
commitment to all areas of our brand from
product design to marketing
that sets
Coach apart.”

As with all the company product, Coach is placing emphasis on packaging the eyewear. “Since we are known for our bags, it’s important our eyeglass cases are seen as distinctive in their own right—not just something free that comes with the eyewear,” he explains. “We want the cases to go above and beyond their functionality and be an object the wearer wants to carry as an accessory.”
When asked what career he would pursue, if he were not designing product, Krakoff says he would continue to do some type of design—either architectural or interior, with a focus on residential environments.

 “I just keep following my instincts,” he notes. “Even though I’m a long way from those hockey nets.”  
—Gloria Nicola

Good Specs
lton Brown is the mad scientist of the food world. Sort of a cross between Julia Child and Science Guy Bill Nye. And, the “Good Eats” host is also a true eyewear icon. In fact, loyal viewers of the Food Network can tell which season of “Good Eats” they’re watching just by looking at Brown’s spectacles.

Right now, the man who has been called the patron cook of nerds and geeks, is sporting two styles from l.a. Eyeworks: the ultra slender titanium the Flats in Grass Zap and the Big Hay in Lake Tortoise, a sturdy plastic rectangular frame. “l.a. Eyeworks called me up and said we want you to be wearing our eyeglasses,” recalls Brown. “Apparently they were having debates about which glasses I should be wearing. They sent me a box load of frames and said pick any two.”

The l.a. Eyeworks’ frames’ form and fashion impressed Brown so much they are currently the only two styles he’s sporting these days. “I liked the subtly in the design,” he says. “They march to their own drummer and do not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. They are all radically different. By the same token they weren’t over-designed. They put a lot of thought into what would look good on me. What would suit my personality.” He adds he likes the lightness of the titanium frames. “I’ve never owned titanium before. They are the kind of frames that I can grab on days when I know I’m going to be harried. They make me forget I have glasses on.”

Brown has only been wearing glasses since he graduated high school, which, he notes, “I’d like to think explains my horrible grades in high school. I never had an eye check up before that.” He has since become a true eyewear aficionado. “I’ve certainly spent enough money on eyewear,” he says. “Right now I’m down to six pairs not including Rx sunwear. I currently only have two with a completely updated prescription. Because of the work I do [being on TV] I have Nikon lenses with a special AR coating. I paid about $600 just for the lenses. I’m myopic with a nasty astigmatism.”

Getting new eyewear provides a real “rush” for Brown. “I get excited about a new pair of glasses,” he says. “It’s like getting a new you or a facelift. It’s exciting. When that box showed up I was all wired about it.” In the past he has worn styles by Matsuda, Lunor, Giorgio Armani, Oliver Peoples and Oakley.

But this chic geek admits he is not the best at choosing his own glasses. “One of my big problems is I tend to pick eyewear I look hideous in,” says Brown. “It’s daunting to go into an optical shop and try to pick out the right frame. I like being able to walk into a place and have people there who know how to fit you in the right frames.”

Brown—whose second book “Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen” (Stewart Tabori & Chang) hits bookstores this month—has no loyalty to a specific frame material. “I like to move back and forth between metal and plastic,” he says. “I get bored. I certainly get bored with my face. I don’t pick depending on my mood. It’s more about trying not to be bored with myself. Glasses are technical devices. Expensive quality frames may not at 50 paces look that different from crap but when it comes to wearing something on your face every day, quality counts.”

Raised in his mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens, Brown began his career as a
cook while in high school and further developed his culinary talent in college “as a way to get dates.” Switching gears as an adult, he spent a decade working as a cinematographer and video director, but realized he spent all his time between shoots watching cooking shows, reading cookbooks and eating. Brown left the film business and moved to Vermont to pursue his first love: food. He attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt., but during his years as a culinary student and throughout the restaurant and catering jobs that followed, he couldn’t stop thinking about his days behind the camera. With that in mind, he conceived “Good Eats.” Brown not only stars in the show but also writes and produces it.

“Good Eats,” which has been on the Food Network since 1999 (it airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m., and Sundays at 6:30 p.m. EST), blends quirky pop culture, science and technology and the art of cooking all with a decidedly entertaining and humorous tone. It is the science lab nature of the show that gets Brown compared to Bill Nye the Science Guy. “I get compared so much to Bill Nye,” says Brown. “I’ve never seen his show though. I’m afraid I’ll screw something up. I don’t want to be infected. So I avoid public TV completely.”

His love of things scientific and his past life as a cinematographer has provided the cooking show host with more than a layman’s knowledge of the technology of spectacle lenses. “Because I came from photographic background I’m relatively savvy about lenses,” says Brown. “I find it interesting that there are glasses (like my old Oakleys) that bend around the side of my head and correct my vision properly. I’m not going to go and grind my own lenses in the garage but I enjoy talking to the people who make them.”  —JM

 

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