The popularity of Le Tour De France continues to grow. It now rivals such high-profile sporting events as the Indy 500, the World Series and the Super Bowl in profile. And Rudy Project is on the crest of that audience excitement with its three-year agreement as the official eyewear of this most prestigious cycling race. Rudy Project will supply the Race Staff with sunglasses with the Tour de France logo, also producing a special collection of five models. “I am sure that in regards to eyewear, we could not have found a better company. After a careful survey we concluded that Rudy Project is the unquestioned leader in the sector of bicycle racing with a line of products that have fantastic technical features and design….” says Frederic Viargues, sales manager, Tour de France licensees. “We are proud that our products are associated with the prestige and popularity that distinguishes the Tour de France,” notes Brad Shapiro, principal, Rudy Project North America.
—James J. Spina
GQ’s Top Cop
The British edition of GQ Magazine decided to trump its own Top Men of Style feature this year by adding a feature on the Top 100 Men of Style… EVER. And soccer phenom David Beckham pinnacled the whole list. He beat Cary Grant. He beat David Niven. He beat everyone and you can be sure countless guys bent on being Beckham-like are going to be copying David’s every nuance and habit. Well, you can’t become the best soccer player in the world. And you can’t be seen with a “spicey” girl on your arm but you can copy Beckham’s shade-of-choice by coping a pair of Police sunglasses. It’s easy. Just give the team at Eastern States Eyewear a buzz at (800) 645-3710 or log on at
www.eseyewear.com and let them know you’ve got some customers that want to be just like Beckham.  —JJS

As part of the publicity efforts of a worldwide initiative to raise awareness of healthy vision, 5fm’s Mark Gillman delivered lenses donated by Transitions to outlying eye clinics in South Africa using his famous “Flying Eye” helicopter.

Propelling Initiative
Transitions Optical, Inc. is taking the initiative. The company recently donated 40,000 lenses to South Africa as part of a worldwide initiative to raise awareness of healthy vision including the need for UV and glare protection. As part of the awareness campaign, the South African Optometric Association and 5fm, a popular South African radio station, have partnered with Transitions to distribute information on eye health, including the need for lenses that block UV and the importance of annual eye exams for adults and children. The first of its kind in South Africa, the national program will provide thousands of underprivileged South Africans with eye exams, Transitions lenses and frames, free of charge over the next several months.

Eligible South Africans are able to visit free clinics in Utha, Bonang; Durban, Pretoria; and Johannesburg or they can visit the Phelophepa Health Train stationed at King Williams Town.

As part of the publicity efforts surrounding the donation, 5fm’s Mark Gillman delivered the donated lenses to outlying eye clinics using his famous “Flying Eye” helicopter. In addition, to raise awareness of the need for proper eye health, all South Africans are encouraged to wear a pale blue “Healthy Vision Ribbon,” available from participating South African optometrists.  
Jackie Micucci

Winning Formula
Here’s the deal. There are numerous forms of motorsport from drag racing to endurance racing to stockcar racing. And then there is Formula One. Grand Prix racing is the pinnacle of motor speed and sportsmanship. So isn’t it fitting that Ray-Ban has teamed up with Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda, the team now snapping at the heels of Ferrari in pursuit of racing’s most cherished championship?

The partnership kicked off at the U.S. Grand Prix with the Ray-Ban logo appearing on the B·A·R cars and on the helmets of race drivers Takuma Sato, Anthony Davidson and team star (and heartthrob) Jenson Button. Racing insiders feel certain Jenson (the youngest driver to ever start in F1 racing) will most certainly become the future world champion. “We are enthusiastic to share B·A·R’s passion and energy in Formula One,” says Antonio Miyakawa, executive vice president wholesale and marketing of Luxottica Group. “And delighted to start this partnership at the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis—one of the greatest temples of speed—and in the single most important Ray-Ban market.”  —JJS

Golf …Fore … Silhouette
 Mention the word “golf” and everyone’s ears… and eyes… perk up. Silhouette Optical is taking full advantage of that popularity by promoting their LST golf lens. With a new performance collection being supported by golf talent Hillary Lunke, winner of the LPGA U.S. Women’s Open title.

Lunke made LPGA history when she surprised everyone by winning the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament in 2003. It was her first LPGA victory after playing professionally for a mere two years. Lunke started playing golf at age 13 and has competed in seven U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships. After graduating Stanford University she married Tylar Lunke, who supports her professional career as her caddy. All eyes will be riveted on her this year to see if she continues to play at the top of her game. She will wear the Silhouette brand frames exclusively during public appearances.

The LST Golf lens aids in defining small details in putting surfaces as well as in overall course environments by stabilizing contrasting light conditions. The lenses are set in a rimless frame made of titanium with an Rx potential also available.  —JJS

Today’s in-flight feature: Sàfilo. The eyewear maker will be part of a two-minute advertorial segment shown after the in-flight movie on Continental Airlines this summer.

Continental’s domestic and international video-equipped flights, which feature an episode of “Global Trends,” a 30-minute “news” presentation, will include a segment about Sàfilo and its various designer eyewear brands.

The video segment focuses on the history of Sàfilo, including its 70th anniversary celebrated this year, its collection of designer brands and its influence on style trends. The segment “stars” Claudio Gottardi, president and CEO of Sàfilo USA, and Leon Hall, E! television personality and fashion expert. Hall discusses the special relationship between Hollywood and sunglasses, as well as highlights the Spring 2004 eyewear and sunwear trends.  —JM

For the kids. Ray-Ban once again was the official sponsor of the “Kids for Kids” celebrity carnival in New York City benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. In addition to a monetary donation, the Luxottica brand was on-hand to outfit the more than 50 celebrity volunteers. Among those donating their time were 1. James Gandolfini in Ray-Ban style RB 3212, 2. Julianne Moore in RB 3214, 3. Brooke Shields in RB 4042 and 4. Molly Sims also in RB 3214… Getting lucky. Sàfilo wardrobed the small screen’s stars in sunwear recently at the Lucky and Cargo magazines Club Upfront Hospitality Suite. The week-long Upfront event took place in New York and was a “meet and greet” fest for potential TV advertisers who get a chance to mingle with celebrities and get a sneak peak at the new 2004-2005 television programs. The Dior Latina Girl 5 seemed to be a popular choice. It is seen here on 5. Nicole Richie of Fox’s “The Simple Life,” 6. Rena Sofer who will appear in the new ABC drama “Blind Justice” and 7. Shane West who joins the cast of “ER” in the fall. “Queer as Folk” star 8. Robert Gant wears Diesel Yagi/s. And 9. Wilmer Valderrama—better known as Fez of “That ‘70s Show”—in Gucci 1761s… Shopping spree. 10. Angela Bassett recently paid a visit to the Morgenthal-Frederics store in New York’s SoHo section. The actress is seen here wearing Morgenthal-Frederics Zenith 202 frame… Walk this way. 11. Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, appears in a national commercial promoting Sony’s new DSC-TI Digital Camera sporting Oliver Peoples Venus sunglass in black. Tyler loved the style so much he got one in almost every color including emerald, tortoise and white pearl, and plans to wear them during his upcoming tour… The Makeda. British actress and star of the movie “Van Helsing,” 12. Kate Beckinsale and 13. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, who appeared in the recently released movies “The Punisher” and “Godsend,” have both been spotted out and about wearing Oliver Peoples Makeda sunglass in charcoal. Beckinsale bought her sunglasses at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif. while Romijn-Stamos picked up her pair at the Oliver Peoples SoHo boutique in New York… revved up. 14. Dennis Franz of “NYPD Blue” wears the RES807 in shiny gold from Revolution Eyewear and 15. Lance Bass of *NSYNC fame dons a pair of Revolution sunwear style RES 807. —JM
Silhouette was one of the stars of the runway during the recent Los Angeles Fashion Week. Sweeping lines loaded with rich, sultry colors and a stylish, firmly masculine sensibility dominated the catwalks in L.A. Taking center stage was Silhouette’s Titan Minimal Art sunglasses—a perfect complement to the new designs. The collection was featured during the presentations of Sanctuary and Sue Wong.

At Sanctuary, Silhouette was paired with sexy box minis, low rider cargos and cropped sporty jackets while Sue Wong coupled the frames with her sleek masculine creations that were reminiscent of prohibition era Chicago.  —JM

promo primer

RadioRadio — Rem Eyewear is sending kids back to school with
a buzz for the eyes AND the ears introducing four new Converse kids frames and three Barbie frames and offering Barbie and Converse pocket radios as consumer gifts with purchases made in August through October. This promotion is being offered with an initial buy-in of any combination of 12 Barbie and Converse frames, and customers will continue to receive a radio with every Converse and Barbie frame they order the duration of the promo. Interested. Tune in at (800) 423-3023 or visit

The upbeat spirit of this year’s Mido show was mirrored in the energized style of the newest eyewear set for the upcoming optical season. Refreshing colors, increasingly innovative uses for materials and fun embellishments conspired to entice buyers ready to be wooed.

Color popped on everything from oversized suns to studious ophthalmics. Vivid blues and reds made way for lime and Kelly green, and burnt and Florida orange. Pink proved to be the hardest working hue. Whether pretty in translucent or powerful in opaque, pink was sprinkled into collections all over the show floor. Color combos abounded with multiple fading hues and contrasting palettes on the top and bottom of frame fronts.

Plastics were plentiful, offering designers the chance to experiment with patterns (especially striations!) and sculpted edges.

Flat or shiny… why choose? The combination of the two finishes added interest to the metal category as did stepped temples, punchouts and a variety of dramatic floating frame front techniques.

Never content as a side note, temples tempted with stones, etching, patterns and even raffia.
Caletha Crawford

what’s in store

Destination Shopping—for a Cause
Destination: Sama, an optical boutique in West Hollywood, made its debut on May 20 at a star-studded party to benefit Friendly House, a Los Angeles-based non-profit residence for women in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Founded by eyewear designer and Sama CEO Sheila Vance, Destination: Sama will donate 5 percent of gross sales for the first year to Friendly House. Vance plans to eventually open a recovery center in L.A. in memory of her son Sam who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 19.

Among those attending the party, also hosted by Peggy Albrecht, Friendly House executive director, were Dave Navarro, Rebecca Gayheart, Donovan Leitch, his wife supermodel Kirsty Hume and Freddy Rodriguez.

In addition to benefiting a worthy cause, Vance has a second objective she hopes to achieve with her boutiques (Sama also has a shop in Milan). “We want to create a space people feel comfortable in and one where they can relax and focus—with the best customer service and information we can provide. We want to prepare our customers for optical shopping,” she explains. To achieve her objective, Vance worked very closely with Los Angeles-based architect Sean Rouhani. “I told him I did not want an optical shop environment, but rather a calming spa atmosphere where our customers are surrounded by art,” Vance says. The 1,500-foot shop is an elegant, timeless balance of classic and modern, featuring paintings by the artist known only as Antonio (he is the exclusive restorer for paintings in the Vatican), has limestone floors, luxurious seating arrangements and fuchsia Lucite cases for showcasing a select sampling of eyewear. “I don’t want to display 500 frames on frame boards. It’s distracting.

And I don’t think we need to see a lot of pictures of people in eyewear. We need to talk with our customers and find out how they feel and how they want to look, not how someone else looks in a poster,” Vance emphasizes.

She also wanted to reinforce the idea of destination shopping with the new boutique. “People in L.A. love to discover spots where they can find exclusive product and excellent service,” she notes.

In order to adequately cater to its customers, Sama will be selling other product in addition to the Sama collections, including the Robert Marc line. “I plan to bring in two or three other collections. I feel my job as a designer is to support products from other designers,” Vance says. “None of us is 100 percent enough for our customers, no matter how good our individual collections are.” She also plans to bring in more expensive lines and notes that Sama is doing a customized jewelry collection. “We need couture collections in eyewear. People go to designers for couture for Oscar night and special events. They need to be able to do this for eyewear too.”

But the real key to the success of Desti-nation: Sama is customer service, she believes. “As an industry, we sell frames, often without considering the customers,” Vance says. “We need quality sales people to do justice to optical. Customers need to know why they are spending money and sales people need to be well informed. Customers have changed and retail has to change along with them. We need to introduce creative retail concepts to new generations. We need to give the whole industry a face lift. That’s our future.”  
Gloria Nicola
Fortune Magazine, quote from the June 14, 2004 cover story profiling IBM CEO Sam Palmisano—The first thing most people notice about Sam Palmisano is his glasses. Big and owly, they look as though he hasn’t changed them since the 1980s. And he hasn’t. This is a man so comfortable with himself that he doesn’t see the need to get rid of something that’s worked for him for decades—he laughs off those who suggest he should.

WRONG. As the cover clearly shows, Sam is wearing a smart update of the classic P3 “preppy” model stylishly available from any number of vendors including Lafont and Anglo-American. In fact, this month’s L&T cover features one of the Anglo-American frames in a high-contrast tortoise. Palmisano’s particular style looks like a modern brown with a clever tan inner layer. His glasses have no hint of a droop and the keyhole cutout on the bridge is a clear giveaway that this is a fresh style. Fortune should feel free to contact 20/20 any time they have eyewear questions and their writers should stop assuming that the corporate leaders of America are stuck in some ’80s retro-slide of backward thinking. 

TV Party
Sunwear was part of the new fall line up as Luxottica Group partnered with denim giant Levi’s Strauss during the recent Upfront week in New York, an annual event where potential TV advertisers get to meet the stars of the small screen and preview programs for the coming television season. At the Levi’s showroom, Luxottica outfitted some of TV’s biggest names one-on-one with the latest styles in sunglasses. Showing off their shades are: (clockwise) Henry Simmons of “NYPD Blue” in Persol PO 2180-S; “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” handyman heartthrob Ty Pennington wearing Ray-Ban style RB 3213; “The Apprentice” winner Bill Rancic sporting Persol style PO 2180-S; and “CSI: Miami’s” Emily Procter in Arnette Nomad (AN 4016) in light blue. —JM

lens marketing

Paradise Found — To celebrate its 35th anniversary, Three Rivers Optical lab in Pittsburgh has planned a year-long promotion culminating in a gala event at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The programs “Your Tropical Dream Come True,” rewards eyecare professionals for growing their business with premium lens products. It is open to new and existing customers of Three Rivers.

Customers who earn 6,000 Trip Reward Dollars will receive two tickets for a four day vacation, including travel and accommodation, at the Atlantis resort in January 2005. Trip Reward Dollars will be awarded based on purchases made from January 1 through December 31, 2004. Call (800) 756-2020 for details.

Sites to Behold — SOLA Sunlens has given its web site a new look: soft background tints with contrasting flashing section headings, enforced by essential design and lively graphic display. The site, www.solasunlens.com provides a one-stop source of information about sunlenses and SOLA Sunlens services. It is easier to navigate, access and use, according to SOLA.
The AR Council’s new site is designed to make AR lens research easier for both consumers and eyecare professionals, according to the council. The site’s web address,
www.arcouncil.org., remains the same.

It’s Academic — Indo Lens US recently held its first Indo University training session near its San Dimas, Calif. headquarters. The two-day training session, designed for wholesale lab salespeople, focused on the company’s Superfin lens material. Sessions were offered in marketing, technical aspects of the product, sales positioning and economic value-added, according to the company. A second Indo University session is planned for later this summer. Call (888) 440-INDO (4636) for information.

A Rewarding Experience — Vision-Ease Lens has launched SunRx Ultimate Rewards, a program that builds on its previous Outlook’ and SunRx programs by offering free cash and prizes for supporting SunRx lenses. ECPs earn $25 cash and 10 reward points for every five pair of SunRx polycarbonate lenses they dispense. Dispensing opticians must complete and returns an Ultimate Rewards card, which can be obtained through their local lab, Vision-Ease rep or by contacting Vision-Ease. Rewards points may be combined with previously earned SunRx and Outlook reward points to earn high-end branded merchandise. SunRx Ultimate Rewards is effective through December 31, 2004.

Vision-Ease also offers training and marketing materials to ECPs and labs including a CD-ROM containing printable marketing materials that are customizable for each practice.

Stepping up to the tee for Children’s Healthy Vision — More than 200 golfers took to the links in support of children’s healthy vision initiatives during the New York Children’s Vision Coalition’s 2004 Golf Classic held May 10 at Cold Spring Country Club in Long Island, N.Y. The event, sponsored by Transitions Optical, Avis and Essilor of America, raised more than $210,000 for the charity, a record amount. The New York Children’s Vision Coalition’s mission is to assure comprehensive eyecare for all of New York’s children.