Two New Views in Eyewear

Vendors at the International Vision Expo hope sunglasses can shield the eyewear industry from jitters about the war and the economy.

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The crowded sunglass scene is bustling with activity these days. Here, a look at two newcomers joining the pack.

This story first appeared in the April 7, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


NEW YORK — When Mersedeh Nourbakhsh decided to design sunglasses, she didn’t have to look far for inspiration.

“My earliest memory of sunglasses is of my mom in the mid-Seventies, wearing oversized ones with thin rims and gradient lenses on one of the Spanish islands,” said the Manhattan-based designer, whose year-old line, Nour, was an International Vision Expo newcomer. “Nour started as a tribute to her.”

Nour’s 12 pieces include such whimsical frames as Noushi Diamond Glam, which is outrageously round and rhinestone-adorned, and Moman, an oversized hexagon frame measuring 3 inches high.

Nourbakhsh was born in Teheran but moved to Los Angeles at 15. She studied product design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., and consulted for several accessories firms. To name her line, the designer simply chopped off half of her last name, which seems appropriate since Nour means light in her mother tongue Farsi.

Each Nour style is named after a family member, including Moman, which means mother in Farsi, her sister Noushi, her aunt Shana and cousin Stella. “Nour glasses are characters,” she said. “You become a certain character when you wear them.”

Wholesale prices range from $45 to $80, and first-year wholesale projections are between $150,000 and $200,000. Barneys New York and Selima Optique have picked up the line.

— Marc Karimzadeh


LONDON — As if kooky Plexiglas bags and laser-cutout jewelry weren’t enough to make a statement, Lara Bohinc is now ready to unveil her first collection of sunglasses.

Bohinc, who launched her accessories label, 107, in 1997, has teamed up with IC-Berlin partners Philipp Haffmans and Harald Gotschling to create a limited-edition collection of just 900 pairs. “It was something I had wanted to do for a while,” the designer said.

Bohinc found she had a lot in common with the German design company, which is known for creating the unbreakable hinge and glasses as light as 25 grams.

“We used a photo-etching technique, so the way they are constructed is very similar to my jewelry,” she said. “Because of the similar design elements, the line works really well as an extension to my label.”

The debut collection, Lara Bohinc for IC-Berlin, consists of three styles — Sophia, Rider and Batman — with 300 pairs in each. Sophia, in honor of Sophia Loren, is the only pair just for women, while Rider and Batman are both unisex.

“When I was designing the shapes, I wanted to create a collection that had something to suit everyone,” Bohinc said. “I spent hours examining people in my office and trying different shapes on their different heads. I must have driven them all crazy.”

The result: Sophia is rounded, Rider is more aviator and Batman is angular with an Eighties feel. There are three different frame colors, from a gold frame with graduated brown lenses to a brown frame with brown, shield-like mirror lenses and black styles with tinted blue and gray lenses.

The sunglasses will retail at $615 each and will be distributed at such stores as Eva, New York, Pearl in Santa Monica, Calif., and her flagship store in London. With bags, jewelry and now sunglasses locked down, she still sees scope for a shoe collection and a range of jewelry for men.

“So many of my friends ask me, maybe it’s time I started,” Bohinc added.

— Sarah Harris

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