By  on September 25, 2006

LAS VEGAS — Women’s cheekbones may have to schedule a coming-out party for spring.

Although sunglass exhibitors at the Vision Expo West trade fair here said that big frames would still be popular early next year, they have pulled back from the largest, face-swallowing styles. Toned-down retro looks and softer oval shapes made strides during the event held Sept. 14 to 16 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center and neighboring Venetian Hotel Resort Casino.

“Not everybody can wear a huge, oversize frame, so to offer a range is key,” said Mark Ugenti, vice president of Safilo Group’s Sunsights Division. “You don’t have to have the huge shape to have the feeling. [The consumer] is going to want to interpret that look into something more wearable.”

Balance was the unifying concept for the company’s stable of sunglass brands. Marc by Marc Jacobs and Hugo Boss, wholesaling for $45 to $60 and $70 to $90, respectively, are new for Safilo. The company continues to produce eyewear for Juicy Couture, Diesel, Dior, Gucci, Kate Spade, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Emporio Armani, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs.

Shields, which are variations on the classic “Jackie O” frame, oversize silhouettes and aviators designed in plastic and metal were part of the mix across most brands. However, Marc by Marc Jacobs’ plastic aviators, Stella McCartney’s mirrored lenses and Kate Spade’s practical ovals imbued the collections with an updated vintage feel.

Pointing to a streamlined “Jackie O” by Kate Spade, Ugenti said, “That used to be one of the most popular shapes in eyewear 10 years ago and then the rectangular shape took over. It is coming back now.”

Sheila Vance, founder of Los Angeles-based Sama Eyewear, which makes frames for Loree Rodkin and Badgley Mischka, said sunglasses that are a step below oversize sell the best because most people simply can’t carry off a gargantuan look. Badgley Mischka sunglasses wholesale for an average $150, and Loree Rodkin wholesales for around $200.

“Many frames can make you look glamorous,” Vance said. “They can be large, not oversize.”

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