Leonardo DiCaprio (above) wears one of the sunglass styles created by Giorgio Armani for his role as Howard Hughes in the critically acclaimed film  “The Aviator.” While this style is not available, the aviator (middle and below) has been incorporated into Armani’s collection.

Armani Takes Flight
It’s a flight of fancy for Giorgio Armani. The designer collaborated with Miramax Films and Initial Entertainment Group to create the exclusive sunglasses worn in the critically acclaimed Martin Scorsese film “The Aviator,” which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as aviation pioneer/eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

Scorsese, a longtime friend of Armani, approached him about creating period eyewear for the film. Working closely with Sàfilo Group, Armani’s manufacturer, and its historical eyewear archives from the era, the designer developed two signature sunglass styles for DiCaprio.

Coinciding with the worldwide release of “The Aviator,” Armani introduced a version of the featured classic metal aviator—the GA 261S—into his signature eyewear collection. The sunglass is available in four colors (gold/green, gold/brown, ruthenium/dark gray and gun metal/dark gray) and comes with a limited-edition hard case.
 —Jackie Micucci

Eye Love LA
Duplicating its successful New York Fashion Show fixture-status Silhouette tapped into the Mercedes Benz Fashion Shows in Los Angeles at the Smashbox Studio. As part of the hectic schedule of fashion shows and after parties, editors, models and celebs made their way into the VIP room to see Silhouette’s new Spring 2005 collection.

Visitors to the VIP room were given an introduction on how to select Silhouette eyewear to fittingly fashion their face using their now distinctive Face Formula. Hollywood notables David Carradine, Gary Dourdan, Sofia Milos (from CSI), Nia Vardalos and Mimi Rogers all stopped by for a peek at the Silhouette shades.

As an example of a fashionista-match made in heaven, designer Heike Jarick presented her feminine and colorful collection (pictured) with careful attention to accessories such as oversized necklaces, earrings and rings as well as elaborate hairstyles. Jarick showcased an extra-vagantly draped turquoise mini dress and complemented the outfit with a blue frosted shield from Silhouette’s sleek Titan Minimal Art collection.
 —James J. Spina

Big break. Sàfilo was a sponsor of Movieline’s Hollywood Life Breakthrough Awards held recently in Los Angeles. Among those outfitted with Sàfilo brands were 1. Kevin Bacon in Carrera Superior and wife 2. Kyra Sedgwick in Dior Hippy 1; “Desperate Housewives” star 3. Eva Longoria and 4. Freddy Rodriguez of “Six Feet Under” both in Gucci style 1797S; and “Scrubs” star 5. Zach Braff and 6. Adrian Grenier of HBO’s “Entourage” both wearing Giorgio Armani style 134S… That’s life. 7. Jeff Goldblum wears l.a. Eyeworks’ Frank in stainless steel in a scene from the movie “Life Aquatic.” The style is a staple in the actor’s wardrobe… Put up your dukes. 8. Jessica Simpson wears the Stella McCartney 14S in yellow smoke from Sàfilo in “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the movie adaptation of the popular ‘80s TV series set to be released this summer. The singer plays the short-shorts wearing Daisy Duke... On the side. Actress 9. Virginia Madsen, who appeared in the critically acclaimed film “Sideways,” wears Robert Marc style 712…Sun power. Celebs made in the shade by Revolution Eyewear at the American Music Awards included Kiss front man 10. Gene Simmons in RES822; former MTV star 11. Jenny McCarthy in BBL002; sax man 12. Kenny G in RES806; and the ever-outrageous TrimSpa cover girl 13. Anna Nichole Smith in BBL002… Orderly. 14. Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: SVU” sports the Oliver Peoples Aero… Close up. 15. Jude Law wears the Rush frame from Sama Eyewear in the movie “Closer.” —JM

Hands on Approach
It’s more than just a fashion statement. Inspired by a friend who became temporarily blind after a stroke, New York-based fashion designer Stephen Kenny created See NYC, a line of T-shirts with three Braille messages: I Love New York, Brooklyn and Come Closer. But more than just a clever fashion device, the shirts whose statements are printed in raised Braille type help raise money for charities that aid the visually impaired.

After learning that most cases of blindness in Africa can be cured for a mere $30, Kenny created his cotton tops with the idea that 5 percent of proceeds go directly to Sight Savers International and Lions Club International. Sight Savers works with the world’s poorest countries to bring people in need proper eyecare. Lions Club is recognized worldwide for its member services to the blind and visually impaired. The Lions first took up the cause in 1925 when Helen Keller challenged members at an international convention to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

Now Kenny, in his own way, is helping in the crusade with his hands on designs. Retailers interested in the line may contact the designer at

Wrapper’s Delight
ClearVision did their part to spread some cheer this past holiday season. Op and Izod sunglasses were among the items included in the goodie bag for the “Wrap to Rap” event in New York, which was held by the non-profit group New Yorkers for Children to help bring the spirit of the season to foster children served by the Administra-tion for Children’s Services (ACS). Members of the Peer Leadership Council (PLC) ages 14 to 21, wrapped gifts for the foster care children with whom they have a mentor/ peer relationship. Rap legends such as Kurtis Blow, D-Nice and Grandmaster Caz added to the fun by spinning tunes and wrapping presents. The members of P. Diddy’s new teen group, B5, (above) were also on hand to help out. 

Frames are made from laminated sheets of wood only 0.06mm thick;
Gold & Wood’s Star design won the 2004 Silmo d’Or award for fashion sunglasses.

Banking on Wood
Maurice Leonard was a banker. His father was a farmer. In the early ’90s, he decided he want a career change.

“I wanted a blend of my father’s life and my own. I like being independent and doing something no one else is doing. I don’t enjoy following others. And I liked the idea of crafting something out of natural materials,” Leonard explains. His desire to do something different led to his purchase of the Hosingen, Luxembourg-based Wood Optic Diffusion S.A., an eyeglass frame manufacturer that created frames made entirely of wood. “The concept of working with wood appealed to me and I felt people would love a good, high-quality product,” Leonard notes. To add dimension to the line, some of the styles featured hand-painted silk fronts.

Then in the late ’90s, in response to market demand, the company began designing three-piece mounts that combined metal components with wood temples. Gold & Wood was born and is now distributed in the United States mainland, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through EBX Optik, headed by Miami-based Edward Beiner. Four years ago another banker (and French horn player) Francois de Radzitzky joined the company in Luxembourg as CFO. In 2000, Gold & Wood added buffalo horn to its product mix.

The woods used are hypoallergenic soft woods from South America and North Africa and include bubunga, ebony, mahogany and maple. The horn used is buffalo horn from North Africa. Temples are cut from laminated sheets of wood only 0.06mm thick. The result is wood that is extremely malleable under intense pressure. The frame parts are created using the same process that was used in making wood tennis rackets, Leonard notes. Various woods and colors can be mixed within the same temple, employing the marquetry process. Each piece is hand polished and varnished up to eight times until it reaches the perfect consistency. The 28 Gold & Wood employees create 150 frames a day and 30,000 a year, up from 10,000 five years ago.

Each frame is individually assembled to the specifications of the customer with the wood or horn, metal parts and lenses in the factory although only the wood and horn parts are manufactured at Gold & Wood. “These glasses are all custom made. There is no inventory,” Beiner explains. “We have trained our vendors to understand each frame is a one-of-a-kind item—not something taken off a shelf. This is really not difficult for the end consumer to accept. In today’s world, consumers have become accustomed to using the Internet to design product. Just think Mini Cooper. You can customize the color of the body and roof, the front grill, bumpers, side mirror, wheels. The combinations are endless. The same is true with Gold & Wood products, which can also be customized on the Internet,” Beiner says. To help vendors understand the intricate, labor-intensive process involved in creating the product, a DVD will be included with each order.

“One factor that really helped Gold & Wood make its grand leap into success was that eyewear has become so well accepted as a fashion accessory,” Leonard says. In fact, the Star style from the Gold & Wood collection won the prestigious 2004 Silmo d’Or award for fashion sunglasses. “But we need to constantly come up with new ideas. We’re planning to do some fully rimmed all wood styles again,” Leonard adds. “The other factors that have helped us are our company is rich in history and we work as a team.” For additional information contact
Gloria Nicola
Top: Gold & Wood added horn to its product mix in 2000. From left: Gold & Wood president Maurice Leonard and CFO Francois de Radzitzky with EBX’s Edward Beiner in front of Gold & Wood factory in Luxembourg.

At the Fourth Annual Bash for New York’s Bravest are ClearVisions’ Corinne Johnsen, actor Daniel Sunjata who plays Franco Rivera on “Rescue Me” and Elizabeth Gebers.

For the Brave
It was a bash for the brave. ClearVision Optical recently participated in “Rescue Me” star Denis Leary’s The Leary Firefighters Foundation “Fourth Annual Bash for New York’s Bravest” held recently at the Manhattan night spot Capitale. ClearVision donated sunglasses that were used as favors to thank guests for their support of the organization. The event included a silent auction for such prizes as guest appearances on TV shows, concert tickets, vacation getaways and celebrity memorabilia.

The mission of Leary’s Firefighter’s Foundation is to provide funding and resources for fire departments to obtain the highest level of equipment, technology and training as well as provide resources to the families of firefighters who have perished or been injured in the line of duty. The foundation was created in 2000 after six men in the Worchester, Mass. Fire Department perished in a massive fire at an abandoned warehouse. One of the men who died was Leary’s cousin and another was one of Leary’s close high school friends.

Besides Leary, some of the celebrity guests who attended the event included “Rescue Me” stars Jack McGee and Daniel Sunjata as well as comedian Gilbert Gottfried and actor Steven Buscemi. 

lens marketing

ens marketing

Essilor’s Thin & Lite 1.67 Receives AOA Seal — Essilor of America’s Thin & Lite 1.67 is the newest recipient of the Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbers/Blockers by the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Commission on Ophthalmic Standards. Thin & Lite 1.67 offers superior UV protection due to the built-in UV blocking agents (396 nm UV cut off).Essilor will be promoting the AOA UV Seal in trade ads and sales aids for Thin & Lite 1.67 lenses.

Ophthonix Wins ‘Most Innovative New Product’ Award — Ophthonix, the vision care company developing a “high definition” vision technology (see “Eye Opener” August 2004 L&T) has been awarded the prestigious Most Innovative New Product (MIP) Award for Life Sciences from Connect, the University of California-based non-profit organization that fosters entrepreneurship in the San Diego area. The award recognizes innovation and the potential of that innovation in improving people’s lives. Over 100 companies participated in the program, representing a diverse range of biomedical, technical, life science, software and telecommunication sectors.

Midland Hosts Annual “Night at the Copacabana”
— With casino gambling, salsa dancing, live bands and more, the fifth annual Copacabana night hosted recently by Midland Optical in St. Louis, Mo. entertained more then 300 ECPs. The event honored ECPs who successfully grew their businesses with Essilor and Transitions Optical. Offices received “Cabana Cash” for each premium product dispensed between May 1 and October 31, 2004, which they could then put toward prizes and gambling at the event.

lens marketing

Pictured, L to R are: Mark Domyan, lens consultant, Transitions; “Carmen” Miranda; Craig Hausmann, vice president of sales and marketing, Midland Optical; Donna Vernier, senior account manager, Transitions; and Kevin Birkel, zone manager, Transitions.

Awards were given to “Top Performers,” including Rocky Mountain Eye Center (inset) for “Top in Transitions Sales–Multi-Practice.”

Transitions Announces Final Grand Prize Winners — Transitions Optical recently awarded $25,000 to both the eyecare practice Eye Health of Fort Myers and patient William Smith from Cape Coral, Fla. They were the final grand prize winners of the Transitions Healthy Change Sweepstakes.

Pictured, L to R, are Jim and Andrea Zellmer, Future Optics Lab; patients Mr. and Mrs. William Smith of Cape Corl, Fla.; Roni Rohrbacher, apprentice optician, Eye Health of Cape Coral; Barbara Robinson, optician, Eye Health of Cape Coral; Mark Liebetreu, OD, Eye Health of Fort Myers, OD; Shannon Hunt, lens consultant, Transitions Optical; and Jon Harris, southeast zone manager, Transitions Optical.

AR Council Adds Two Members — The AR Council has added two new members. Total membership of 78 now includes California Coating Lab of San Leandro, Calif. and Interstate Optical Company, a wholesale laboratory based in Mansfield, Ohio. For a complete listing of AR Council members or additional information on available educational materials, please contact the AR Council directly at (877) 254-4477 or at www.arcouncil.org

Heart of Gold
Optical Shop of Aspen displayed what it takes to turn chrome into gold in winning the coveted International Optical Fair of Tokyo “Frame of the Year” award with the Chrome Hearts Red Riot frame. The glasses, designed by OSA’s Larry Sands and Troy Schmidt, won both the Trend Award and the Grand Prize in the prestigious contest.  —JJS


Web Winners
— Eyecare practioners will find new product information, learn about lab promotions and be able to order product online at
www.heard optical.com, the 2004 Optical Laboratory Web Site of the Year winner. Heard Optical located in Long Beach, Calif., is the fifth optical laboratory to be presented with the top honor.

“The judges were impressed with Heard’s web site, citing its fresh exciting look and design and its well-organized, useful information,” says Christie Walker, editor of LabTalk, the magazine sponsoring the event and originator of the award.

The first place trophy and top10 designations were awarded during 20/20
sister publication, Vision Monday’s Top 25 Lab party held during the Optical Laboratories Association conference in Nashville. Also included in the award
ceremony were two special plaques presented to Katz & Klein and Soderberg—”Five Years of Excellence”—for being on the top 10 list every year since the inception of the award in 2000.

The top 10 optical laboratory web sites, including a tie for second place, were recognized for outstanding service to their customers. They are in order:
Heard Optical,
www.heardoptical.com; Sutherlin Optical, www.sutherlinoptical.com and Walman Optical, www.walman. com; Soderberg, www.soseyes.com; Laramy-K, www.laramyk.com; Homer Optical, www.homeroptical.com; Interstate Optical, www.interstateoptical.com; Katz & Klein, www.katz andklein.com; Pech Optical, www.pechoptical.com; I-See Optical ab, www.eyeglasslenses.com; and Toledo Optical, www.toledo-optical.com.  
Christie Walker