Exemplary eyewear from around the globe

See the world with new eyes…

A selection of completed frames by Lafont
A selection of completed frames by Lafont

Cool custom eyewear from an LA atelier

“I grew up surrounded and inspired by very classy European men, who have influenced my designs,” says Ashley Bézamat, who had his own glasses made by an artisan in the Veneto region of Italy eight years ago. In 2017, he debuted Dom Vetro (House of Glass) after spending the years in between in Treviso, learning to make frames by hand under the watchful eyes of skilled artisans. He’s translated this knowledge into LA’s first and only eyewear factory, where everything is made from scratch. The first form of customisation can be done online: seven styles (from $325) can be adapted by colour and finish, with acetate options for the front and “temples” (arms), ranging from black to tortoiseshell to a clear-ish quartz to a cool ivory white. There are three choices of lenses – optical and sunglasses – while hardware and engraving can be gold or silver. The second option is the eyewear equivalent of a Savile Row suit: at the LA atelier, measurements are taken and preferences in terms of shape, colour and fit are discussed. Bézamat comes up with a unique new design (from $450) and crafts each bespoke frame himself. domvetro.com. RIMA SUQI 

Dom Vetro Primo sunglasses, $375, in tobacco tortoise acetate with detachable secondary clip-on lenses
Dom Vetro Primo sunglasses, $375, in tobacco tortoise acetate with detachable secondary clip-on lenses

Bespoke glasses from a venerable Parisian brand

It has been 96 years since Louis Lafont opened his eponymous Paris eyewear boutique. In that time the brand has collaborated with the likes of Hermès and Chanel and built up a large cult following. However, it’s only in recent years that he has only started creating bespoke frames in-house. Under the leadership of Lafont’s great-grandsons, the bespoke service (from €600) allows customers to either customise one of over 150 existing shapes, remake a design from the Lafont archives or create their dream frame completely from scratch. Bespoke glasses can be created in acetate in 110 standard shades – these can also be customised – or buffalo horn. Clients can add crystals or personalise the frames with initials. While off-the-peg glasses are produced partly by hand, partly by machine, the bespoke pieces are created entirely by hand. lafont.comRIMA SUQI

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Unique ethical eyewear from New Zealand

For designer glasses, cellulose acetate has long led the way as the strong and lightweight material of choice. Now, however, prominent frame makers are opting instead for a more ancient material: horn. One burgeoning New Zealand brand at the forefront of the trend is Lewis Fredericks. While this material may bring to mind colonial antiques with dubious provenance, Lewis Fredericks’ frames are, in fact, highly eco in nature. All of the buffalo, ram and ox-horn from which the frames are made comes from offcuts – by-products of domesticated livestock that would otherwise have gone to waste. This cool Kiwi brand’s range features 24 styles (from NZ$560, about £293) – an au courant mix of 1950s- and 1970s-inspired shapes and silhouettes in a variety of colourways. The aesthetic is unisex and sophisticated, and the inherent variation in the material makes every pair of glasses unique. They look and feel special. lewisfredericks.co.nz. MARK C O’FLAHERTY

Lewis Fredericks LF01 glasses, from NZ$560 (about £293), in blonde-horn
Lewis Fredericks LF01 glasses, from NZ$560 (about £293), in blonde-horn

An outstanding Tokyo eyewear emporium

In the basement of Tokyo’s iconic Goro’s Building is a subterranean mini-temple of vintage spectacles and sunglasses with an eclectic and ever-changing inventory of classic and cutting-edge styles, launched by brothers Ryo and Tatsuya Okamoto. Solakzade’s customers tend to be vintage lovers “who might fall for rare, perfectly restored frames from the 1820s made of coin silver or solid gold [£400-£2,285] yet still look fresh and cool,” says Tatsuya.

Solakzade offers original 1940s Ray-Ban aviators, from £320
Solakzade offers original 1940s Ray-Ban aviators, from £320 | Image: Jeremie Souteyrat

A journey through the 20th century could uncover original 1940s Ray-Ban aviators (from £320), 1960s Christian Dior sunglasses (from £330) and 1990s Jean-Paul Gaultier designs (about £400). Glass vitrines also showcase punky finds from cult avant-garde Japanese brand Matsuda (from about £300), alongside oversized futuristic styles from the 1960s by Philippe Chevallier (from £800), the under-the-radar designer of Lanvin’s eyewear line. Meanwhile, Solakzade’s own limited edition eyewear offering includes 18ct gold frames (from £5,000) embellished with emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. solakzade.com. CHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

Bold London bespoke frames, from £3,880 for one pair, or £4,880 for two
Bold London bespoke frames, from £3,880 for one pair, or £4,880 for two

Bold and individual bespoke eyewear in London

Bold London is an online operation, but with face-to-face consultations and fittings – in London, they usually take place at Soho House. Founder Guy Buchan’s team also travels to meet international clients at their home or office. He offers made-to-order frames in six styles (from £660); made-to-measure frames (from £1,880), which incorporate measurements of facial features, such as temple and pupil distance; and bespoke frames (from £3,880).

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“When we work on bespoke pieces, we create a master pattern for the client, which we keep for their lifetime,” says Buchan. “We use buffalo horn as well as acetate and a range of precious-metal finishes. Precious and semiprecious stones can be set by our master craftsmen in Hatton Garden, while hand-engraving is by the London craftsman who engraves Purdey rifles. There is also the option of handpainted, translucent glass enamel on metal with the same finish achieved by Fabergé.” Once a client has made their personal selections, they’ll never bump into anyone else wearing the same frames – anywhere. bold.london. MARK C O’FLAHERTY

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