LAS VEGAS — The spring 2005 eyewear forecast was big and rosy for the 500 exhibitors at Vision Expo West at the Sands Expo and Convention Center here.
Oversized plastic frames in candy colors and subtly graded lenses led the trends, as did innovative temples and revival of classic shapes like the aviator and Jackie O.
In the Gallerie section, showcase for fashion-forward brands such as Charles Jourdan, Daniel Swarovski Paris and Silhouette, Paul Frank designer Shane Baum unveiled a dozen styles for 2005, including moderately oversized plastic frames in burgundy and sea-foam green, some with keyhole cutouts in the bridge and sharper, hand-polished edges. “Burgundy is outselling black and brown, which is unusual,” he said. Plastic temples that bore stripes either inside or outside were another trend at Paul Frank and others who took part in the show from Sept. 8-11.
At Black Flys, a Southern California company best known for its skater-inspired men’s styles, the women’s side of the business is growing, evidenced by five new looks, including white plastic frames with rose lenses, cutouts on lenses and temples and frames accented with crystals.
Viva International, which manufactures glasses for fashion brands as varied as Bongo, Candie’s, Carolina Herrera, Ellen Tracy, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger, showed its deepest collection in Hilfiger, with about 150 unisex and women’s styles. No trend went untouched, from preppy leather-wrapped temples to active shields, retro aviators and large Elton John-style plastics in rainbow colors. Representatives said there had been a lot of interest in red, pink and violet.
“Brand-name identity is still such an important aspect of eyewear, particularly in department stores,” said Viva’s director of business development, Mick Kunish. “If a name is not known the sell-through isn’t as good.”
At Luxottica, the new Miu Miu collection featured combination metal and plastic temples with cutouts, newer colors like purple and acetate frames made with offbeat color combinations such as gold, tortoise and pink, or metallic green and orange. Oversized wraps and rimless shields, still number one sellers in Europe, were also featured. Shiny black frames were dressed up with pink temples.
Fun frames ruled at Ferragamo (also a Luxottica license). Opaque pink, blue and orange plastic frames featured raffia flowers woven into the temples.
At Safilo, which added Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs to its stable of fashion brands, vice president of sales Mark Ugenti noted four major trends: large plastics, color, stone embellishments and variations on the aviator.
“We see sunglasses as wardrobe,” he said. “Most women now have at least three or four pairs which embody these trends.”
Some notable looks included bone-colored frames at Ralph Lauren, wooden temples accented with gold at Alexander McQueen, the signature green and red canvas stripe and gold horse bit accents at Gucci and temple treatments featuring gold buckles like those on handbags at Marc Jacobs.
Logos were strong at Marchon, where Fendi, Coach, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors all featured branding, either etched onto temples, with hardware initials or signature patterns printed inside of frames.
Over in the appointment-only suites at the Venetian, Christian Roth, Kata, Judith Leiber, Oliver Peoples, Beausoleil and Charmant showed handcrafted styles that were a step ahead of the mass-market trends.
Kata steered its collection in a new and colorful direction with frames made of plastic wedged between titanium. The company’s lower-priced line Kawai featured laminated layers of acetate in patterns inspired by fabric and nature. Meanwhile, Oliver Peoples heralded the advent of oversized, thin, colored metal frames, while chief designer and co-founder Larry Leight revealed plans to launch a brand, Mosley Tribes, which is intended to meet a new niche for high fashion, performance eyewear, set to debut in March. “We’re out to create another logoless brand for the active sport consumer,” he said. “They’re looking for Hollywood status eyewear, too.”