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Special Issue
WWD Accessory issue 08/15/2011

The eyewear market is doing its part for hyperluxury as a number of firms offer souped-up collections featuring everything from gold to snakeskin to, yes, diamonds.

This story first appeared in the August 15, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Maison Bonnet, which once designed eyewear for such glitterati as Yves Saint Laurent, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, has a four-month waiting list for its handmade frames crafted from its limited stock of tortoiseshell dating back to the Seventies. Prices begin at about $4,300.

Produced by Gold & Wood, Boucheron’s Peacock Feather collection references the house’s jewelry with flourishes of design at relatively modest prices. The buffalo horn and gold-plated arms are carved with a feather motif and encrusted with micro brilliant diamonds. Prices range from $500 to $850.

Most hyper of all: Bulgari, which this fall introduces its Le Gemme collection for men and women. The upper end of the lineup, Le Gemme Rare, features 10 one-of-a-kind pairs of sunglasses. Aglitter with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies set in 18-karat gold, the high jewelry frames retail for a whopping $44,000 to $92,000.

Fashion brands, too, are pushing their luxe quotients. An important trend, gold is worked with distinction at several houses partnering with Safilo. To celebrate its 90th anniversary, for fall Gucci offers a special edition pair of 1921 sunglasses priced at $1,350. The left arm of the leather-covered frame bears an 18-karat gold plaque with the inscription, “G. Gucci Firenze 1921.” Dior Homme’s Gold 01 frames are made by hand in Japanese ateliers. The 18-karat gold aviators, priced at $5,500, are limited to a numbered edition of 30. At Giorgio Armani, aviators feature natural horn details that play against five-micron thick, 22-karat gold plating for $1,350.

After offering chic teasers during his July cruise showings, in October Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz will launch a full collection produced by De Rigo Vision SpA. One likely hit: frames following the early prototypes in white resin and python.

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