Visual Stylists Fit Frames at Les Branchés Lunetterie

(Fitting Frames, Second in a Series)
By Paddy Kamen

How many opera singers also fit frames? Soprano Anne-Marie Faniel is one of a kind and, along with her husband and business partner Patrick Bolduc (optician), she has built a chain of three stores in Quebec under the name Les Branchés Lunetterie, in St-Jérôme, Montreal and Old Quebec City. The starting point of the stores’ philosophy is to offer the lowest possible prices on designer frames, along with high quality lenses sold at honest markups, says Faniel.


Beyond maintaining a stylish image as a professional singer, Faniel also worked as a hairstyling and makeup artist for television and magazines while training as a classical singer at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal from 1985 to 1992. She has brought all her artistic gifts to bear in the visual styling essential for proper frame fitting. “Above all, I want my clients to be fully aware of their unique beauty,” she says.

Because Faniel is also committed to her career in opera, she trained other visual stylists to work with clients, always keeping in mind her key principles of metamorphosis and aesthetics. “Every face is unique and can be enhanced with eyewear. We work with hair colour, skin tone, eye colour and facial features. I firmly believe that everyone can be as beautiful, colourful, funky and stylish as they want to be, no matter their age, gender or the style they embodied in the past. Everyone has the right to look stunning!”

In addition to carrying the latest trendy frame stylings from around the globe, Faniel has also created her own eponymous collection. These too, are unique, as she explains: “I began to design frames a long time ago but I wasn’t able to find a manufacturer who would work with recycled materials and cotton acetate until 2008. That’s when Faniel eyewear – my artistic, ecological and hand-made collection – was born. We premiered our unique collection at Silmo 2010 and it continues to grow. We are selling them exclusively in our own stores in Quebec but we’re happy to distribute them in other provinces.”

Faniel and her staff aim for highly personalized service, wanting every customer to have an experience unlike any they have previously had in an optical shop. “Human, honest, personalized service is an essential part of the experience,” she notes. “I want our customers to realize the look they truly want, deep inside, beyond all past judgments they may have had about themselves. When they leave our stores, I want them to feel proud of their glasses and of their unique beauty.”

As for Faniel’s singing career, it is still going full force. She recently released a new album – Vincerò – with songs written expressly for her by Quebec producer-arranger Marc Provençal. Faniel will tour globally to promote the album, with a Montreal concert scheduled for November 30. Arguably the most artistic optical professional in Canada, Faniel gives of her creativity to her art and her clients equally.

Art-Infused Eyewear Aficionado Selects Frames

By Paddy Kamen

fittingframesMonny Nahoum (who insists on being called by his first name) is an art lover extraordinaire. His store – Envision Optical – in the trendy Kitsilano area of Vancouver shows and sells visual art as well as eyewear. One has to visit the store to believe the incredibly eclectic and stimulating environment he has created.

Monny’s background as a fashion photographer and style consultant stands him in good stead when it comes to selecting frames for his clientele. Attention to detail is the hallmark of Monny’s success and his fitting style, for he considers frames to be art for the face.

“Everyone has something interesting about their face, body or sense of personal style that I can use as inspiration when selecting frames,” says Monny. “I like a frame that makes a statement, if the person wants that. I want them to like the frame on their face more than anything. Even if they chose a frame that is less expensive, it doesn’t matter as long as it fits properly and looks good on them. Everyone walks out of my store looking great and that is how I have built my reputation over the years.”

Monny encourages every potential customer to come and sit down with him in the store so that he can learn about the person. “I have to find out what are they are all about. Do they want the frame for work? If so, what kind of work do they do? What is their lifestyle? What are their dreams and how do they want to project their personality? This background information gives me an idea what kind of frames they will be open to. It can take two or three visits, but if the person already knows and trusts me, they often just sit down and let me choose for them.”

If the client is new and comes in wearing an old-style frame,Monny takes it slowly. “I go little by little and slowly we eliminate the pieces that don’t work for them. And I talk about the price range, letting the person know that we can go from the basement to the penthouse and show them different styles in those price ranges.”

Monny’s style is casual, patient and personal. “If I can help them fulfill part of their dream it makes me happy and I know that this approach will bring in new customers. I don’t push people. They come to me and my attitude is ‘let’s work together’.”