Dancing with Design: Fabienne Coudray-Meisel and Volte Face

By Paddy Kamen

DesignerImagine a much-loved little girl waltzing around with her mother’s hats, scarves and stoles. Imagine her mother’s delight in dressing her up for a party. Now imagine that this mother is a couturier designer with one of Spain’s most prestigious houses – Balenciaga.

The little girl grew up to be one of the great talents in the world of eyewear design: Fabienne Coudray-Meisel, creator of the Volte Face brand and a partner with the illustrious J.F. Rey.

Fabienne showed an early interest in art and interior design: “I was always rearranging the furniture and pictures in my bedroom and making all kinds of things from my imagination,” she explains. “And when I was 12, my grandmother gave me a sewing machine and I started to design and make my own apparel, which I do to this day.”

Coudray-Meisel trained as an optician and worked as a buyer in the industry before discovering her true calling as a designer. “I attended the Parsons design school in New York where I obtained my Masters degree. I then started my company, Volte Face, in 1998, growing it slowly and focusing on creating good designs as well as excellent relationships with customers and suppliers. Then, in 2010, I decided to share my skill and philosophy with the J.F. Rey group. They have extensive experience in design and distribution and I am sharing the best of that.”

Audrey Larbot, spokesperson for J.F. Rey, characterizes the relationship between her company and Coudray-Meisel as, “a fortuitous union. With the expertise of Rey’s in-house designers and manufacturers, partner suppliers and the latest technological innovations at her disposal, Fabienne Coudray-Meisel’s creativity is boundless.”

Coudray-Meisel is most assuredly an imaginative designer and her newest collections were turning heads at the 2012 editions of MIDO in Milan, and Vision Expo East (VEE) in New York. Sarah Braida, president of J.F. Rey Canada, is absolutely delighted with the newest work. “Coudray-Meisel’s work and brand is a perfect complement to the J.F. Rey and Boz collections. I see it as appealing to a different customer, perhaps a woman with more discreetly chic or philosophical inclinations. And these frames are designed for a smaller face, which has been lacking in the Canadian market. They’re also deep enough for progressive lenses. Overall, I’d say this collection is very feminine. They’re not for every retailer, nor are they for every customer, yet I know they will be strong sellers.”

The new frame designs draw their inspiration from many sources, notes Coudray-Meisel. From the architectural mobile sculptures of the late American artist Alexander Calder to the ‘witches mirror’ or ‘miroir de sorcière’ of French designer Chaty Vallauris, to industrial panels and glass vases from Murano, Italy, the world is chock-full of designs that speak to Coudray-Meisel who will stop at nothing to translate her dreams into reality. “I want people to say ‘wow’ when they see the frames and ‘wow’ again when they put them on,” she says.

Laser engraving is one outstanding surface finish you’ll see on acetate front temples to dazzling effect, with geographic patterns and criss-crossing lines and circles in the Templa, Tildia, Tyler and Twig models. Sculptural, tiered, petal-like pieces are layered on the Urika for a subtle, elegant effect.

And luxurious jewelry is recalled in the minimalist, yet sophisticated Usuki and similar models, with laser technology leaving slight variations in the acetate.

Fluid lines, structural contract, surprising patinas and astute use of colour all combine to create a je ne sais quoi that is worthy of the ‘wow factor’ Coudray-Meisel aspires to.

Sarah Braida will be rolling out the new Volte Face collection with a Quebec start this spring, to a country-wide hello into the autumn. “We’ll be receiving the models from the MIDO and VEE shows soon. The final pieces will be unveiled at Silmo in September, and Volte Face will be seen at retailers as soon as possible thereafter,” says Braida.

Creativity is nothing without passion and, as Braida says, “Fabienne has a new-found passion that is truly evident in her designs. She’s doing a wonderful job.”

One sad note in the life of Fabienne Coudray-Meisel, is that her beloved mother passed away when Fabienne was still a child. But the positive life force of the child, Fabienne, grew and flourished and she is now an influential designer in her own right.

“My mother’s elegance and her joie de vivre inspired me forever,” says Coudray-Meisel. “In my work I try to give life to my mother’s dreams and to inspire my own daughter to live a creative life as well.”

Now imagine Fabienne Coudray-Meisel living a long and rich life, creating beautiful objects for the world. And dancing with her daughter.

Unique in Canada: Shilo Rapp Makes Glasses for the World

By Paddy Kamen

designer_shilohrappCareers that are nurtured in the heart of a family business are rare these days, especially when the product is artisanal. Shilo Rapp is a rare bird indeed, one who took a circuitous route that led to his emerging position as one of Canada’s foremost designers.

He began by making pens, of all things, at age 17. “Conventional education wasn’t working for me. I had always been mechanically inclined and there is nowhere to learn how to make a fountain pen, so I started studying machining and jewelry making in one-off courses. I did apprenticeships with local and international jewelers and silversmiths, and studied tool and die machining. I built my skill set according to my needs as they emerged.”

Shilo was supported in these endeavours by his father, Mel Rapp, and Mel’s wife Julia. Mel is the owner of Toronto-based retail store Rapp Optical, and a frame designer in his own right. Shilo notes that Mel and Julia supported him in discovering how to best use his innate strengths. “I was working in the store evenings and weekends during my high school years and Mel carried high-end fountain pens, in addition to eyewear. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and he steered me in the direction of learning how to make them. It turned into a full-time thing and I left school. He also enrolled me in my first jewelry-making course. From there it was a domino effect in that I became obsessed with how things are made.”

One of the most impressive things about Mel and Shilo is that they are incredibly open to experimentation. “That’s where the learning happens,” says Shilo. “In the beginning, I didn’t know how to make pens; nor did we know how to manufacture frames.”

They certainly do now: in 2006, a joint business venture involving Mel, Julia and Shilo was launched as Rapp Eyewear. Mel oversees the business, Julia handles the colour aspect of design, along with fashion projections, and Shilo is the lead designer of shapes and the technical head of manufacturing. “I am in no way responsible for the success of Rapp Eyewear,” says Shilo. “Both Mel and Julia have a wealth of knowledge about the eyewear industry and Mel was designing frames long before I came on board. He casts a big shadow and his designs are still inspiring to me.”

Mel says, “Shilo wasn’t ordained as a designer, he worked hard for 12 years before I even told people what he was doing for our business. He had to pay his dues. Of course I am subjective, but I think he is one of the best.”

The proof of Shilo’s success as a designer is that Rapp Eyewear frames sell competitively alongside those from other leading-edge designers in the Rapp Optical store, where prototypes are also consumer tested. The company sells its frames around the world, showing them annually in New York and Paris, taking orders based on samples and making the frames when they return from the show. “We don’t keep stock,” notes Mel.

Technical innovation is a hallmark of Rapp Eyewear. They have an intensely perfectionist ethic, having (as just one example) worked for years just to refine their riveting process and get the correct pantoscopic tilt.

“Our success has been born out of technical limitations,” notes Shilo. “In the early days we didn’t have the industry-specific machinery required to produce eyewear. We developed and designed our own unique fixtures that attach to machines to help us achieve specific goals; and we’ve made mistakes. For example, we purchased a bridge bump machine and found out it was worse than what we were already using. So we created a new way of making bridge bumps, one with a zero rejection rate. This innovation has also contributed to the signature look of our frames.”

The finish on Rapp frames is also distinctive. “Our acetate has not gone through a mass tumbling process,” says Shilo. “We do it by hand. The front and inside of the acetate has a directional matte finish and is not high gloss. Only the edges are glossy. Our edges are very crisp, with no rounding. Once the front is machined it is truly a hand-finished product: no tumbler. A Rapp frame is unique and recognizable on the street.”

The mantle of ‘designer’ is taking some getting used to for Shilo Rapp. “I have shied away from calling myself that. I am more obsessed with how to make things.”

When asked what his goal is for Rapp Eyewear, Shilo responds: “The goal is to have a beautiful Canadian-made frame that sells with the best of them.”

With Rapp Eyewear frames selling big time into Japan, Korea, and China –  markets better known for exporting than importing –  in addition to France, Israel, Holland, Spain, Australia and the U.S., there is no doubt that Shilo Rapp is achieving his goal and will, over time, become more used to the accolades that accrue to high achievers in eyewear design.

Dutz Designer Scores Big in Competitive Market

By Paddy Kamen

Armand van Lingen was busy playing sports as a young man. Now he is the head designer for Netherland’s-based eyewear company Dutz.

Are football and tennis a good training ground for eyewear designers? Maybe so: they are both competitive sports and the design world is nothing if not competitive. Armand van Lingen thrives on competition and, as a result, Dutz Eyewear is flourishing.

Van Lingen, now 40, graduated from design school in 1997. His first job was with the eyewear companyEurovisie BV, where he worked on the brand You’S. “Thanks to that job, I got to see how to move from concept to actualizing a frame and then a collection,” he explains.

Not one to stand on the sidelines when there is a victory to be won, van Lingen began talking about starting an eyewear company with his good friend Roland Vandermeulen. “I love a challenge,” he says. “So Roland and I decided to strike out on our own with Dutz in 2005.”

Billing Dutz as ‘Holland’s cheekiest brand of glasses’, van Lingen and Vandermeulen (who handles the company’s finances) have worked very hard for the past six years, building the company to the point where their product is sold in 20 countries. “It has been intense,” allows van Lingen. “And though our frames are not yet global, it’s a pretty good start. Our vision is based on a continuous search for unique colour combinations and high quality in the mid-price segment, combined with nice details and a twist of humor. At the same time we put a premium on curiosity, enthusiasm and respect, along with trust for both customers and employees.”

Making things easy for the optical professional is a priority when van Lingen creates his frame designs. And this approach is supported by attention to the administrative side of the business as well. “We do everything we can to make life as easy as possible for the optician and distributor, from super quick delivery to a great warranty,” says van Lingen. “And every optician who deals with Dutz will have the benefit of our wide-ranging collections that change rapidly.”

Alain Lachambre of Audace Lunettes inMontrealhas represented Dutz inCanadasince 2009. “I love that Dutz is a very dynamic company, producing new frame designs all the time,” he says. “The styles are right on trend so our clients can take advantage of market demand.”

The collection targets women with small faces and men who need large frames. Metals with matte finish in retro/vintage styles are complemented by rich-looking textured acetates (12 frames in four colours were recently introduced). Colours may be electric (think pink, grey, orange, red) or more subtle, but always beautiful. Dutz is known for outstanding colour and the metal frames often have a lighter colour inside (electric green, light blue, white), which serves to ‘lift’ and brighten the face. “People love the colour and the richness in the pattern,” notes Lachambre.

Van Lingen finds his life is so full now that he barely has time to play tennis. Married with two growing sons, he has also settled down. Focus is priority number one. “A thriving company like ours requires my maximum attention. When I’ve finished one collection I have to start thinking about the next right away. Having said that, I recognize that I am a lucky man to be able to design and sell my own work. It makes a complete circle and I enjoy it.”

There’s little doubt that van Lingen has scored a touchdown with Dutz.

The Boy Inside the Man: Michael Kors Started Young and Took on the World

By Paddy Kamen



Not very many five year olds are advising their mothers on wardrobe matters, particularly wedding attire. But then, Michael Kors was no ordinary five year old. When his mother, Joan, was choosing a dress to wear for her second marriage, Michael’s keen eye for fashion was already apparent and his opinions did not go unnoticed.

Kors has gone on to build a fashion empire, although one wouldn’t necessarily know that from the way he dresses himself (jeans, a black ‘t’, and jacket are de rigueur). But despite the fact that he eschews personal adornment, Kors is famous for adorning others.

Kors attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, just over 20 miles from his hometown of Merrick, Long Island. It was during his fashion school years that he enjoyed his first, early success with his apparel designs at the then trend-setting NYC boutique, Lothar’s. The acclaim for his work prompted him to leave school and begin his career in earnest, with an emphasis on apparel that is both chic and relaxed.

Kors’ first runway show in 1984 drew the attention Women’s Wear Daily, their writer observing that his designs represented “elegant yet minimal dressing”.

Kors did double-duty from 1998 to 2004, when he served as the creative director of the famous French design house, Celine, while also building his own label. Now the president of his own design empire, New York City-based Kors sells luxury accessories, including handbags, footwear, sunglasses, ophthalmic eyewear, watches and jewelry to 74 countries. The company has more than 200 stores carrying the Michael Kors, KORS, and MICHAEL labels; fromMilantoDubai, fromIstanbultoLondon, flagship stores adorn the world’s high-end shopping districts.

Marchon works closely with Michael Kors on the Michael Kors Eyewear collections, launched in 2005. “Michael is very much involved in the design process,” says Leslie Muller, vice-president of design at the NYC headquarters. “He loves eyewear as a category and is constantly thinking of sunglass styles that will complement his collections. I think Michael says it best, ‘Eyewear is an item that should be emotion driven. Consumers must learn to think of glasses as something that shapes their moods. Eyewear can complement a mood, an outfit. One day you might feel glamorous, another day retro, later in the same day, sporty. You can have a whole wardrobe of frames.’ ”

Michael Kors eyewear design is intimately associated with his apparel and handbag design. “The signature hardware and iconic design elements that are found in Michael Kors handbags and apparel define the eyewear collection as well,” notes Muller. “For example, the « Tonne » hardware found on the handbags collection is also translated into the hardware elements of the 2012 sun and ophthalmic collections.”

Felix Sides, vice-president of sales for Marchon Canada says it is this cross-product integration that makes Michael Kors work in eyewear stand apart from other designer brands. “The eyewear, like his clothing, is sexy, sophisticated and timeless, while delivering style that is approachable. The collections are of a very high quality, craftsmanship and design. The shapes and sizes are perfect for the Canadian market. They feature recognizable logos and are priced right.”

Hot styles for the 800 stores across Canada that carry Michael Kors Eyewear include aviators, oversize plastic and straight top frames. Sides points to models M2040, M2453 and M2770 as top sellers.

The eyewear fits a variety of lifestyles and a wide range of consumers. Michael Kors customers are men and women who are college educated, appreciate quality and are value driven. Indicative of the wide appeal of the brand is the fact that both Taylor Swift and Diane Sawyer wear Michael Kors.

Kors has received many industry awards over the years including a prestigious Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and ACE Designer of the Year from The Accessories Council. He also received the Fragrance Foundation’s FiFi® Hall of Fame award in 2010 and the Award of Courage from the Foundation for AIDS Research in 2011.

It appears there’s no stopping Michael Kors, a veritable force of nature in the fashion world. And Marchon will continue to work closely with him to translate the elegantly minimalist elements of his apparel and accessories into eyewear that is coveted around the world.

Born to Design, Arielle de Pinto Creates Frames for Centennial Optical

By Paddy Kamen

PortraitAn exciting future for frame design is assured. Young and multi-talented, Arielle de Pinto makes a strong impression with her eponymous collection from Centennial Optical.

There’s a lot to be said for coming to eyewear design from a diverse artistic background. Arielle de Pinto has enjoyed making art for as long as she can remember. “I was always into art as a kid, had a private art teacher while in high school and studied fine arts at university.”

While still working on her art degree at Concordia University in Montreal, de Pinto stumbled upon a specialty that has led to acclaim and a successful business that has nothing to do with eyewear. “I took a course in textile arts and was learning to knit and crochet. We were asked to create something structured and so I went off to the fabric store to look around. The only thing that caught my eye was costume chain.”

After trying several ways to work with the chain, de Pinto hit upon crocheting it into a necklace. “People responded very well and began asking for them. I became good at it but didn’t know if I could make any money with the jewelry. I tried the craft fair route but soon realized that it is not a way to earn a living. Then, gradually, my jewelry was accepted into shops.”

Her big break came when a New York City shop, ‘No.6 Store’, agreed to carry her line. “Very soon after that, I got a mention in the New York Times. Then it started to sell like crazy,” says de Pinto, who is based in Montreal. Another opportunity soon opened up when de Pinto was invited to participate in the Gen Art exhibition for Fashion Week in NYC, in September 2007. Magazine mentions became more frequent, she hired a publicist in Europe, and before long her elegant chain mail silver and vermeil work was appearing in Vogue and Elle.

De Pinto also fashioned exotic, eerie masks and sexy vests from the costume chain. The masks were featured in a film collaboration between de Pinto and the LA-based boutique and magazine THVM Atelier. The film was part of an exhibition in May 2011 at Italy’s VicenzaOro, the world’s leading exhibition of fine gold and silver jewelry. Indifferent to borders between art and fashion, de Pinto develops her art practice alongside commercial ventures.

While jewelry was, and is, her first love, de Pinto was well placed to try her hand at designing eyeglass frames. Her father, Steve de Pinto, heads Toronto-based Centennial Optical, which was founded by her grandfather, Roger de Pinto.

“I always enjoyed looking through sample drawers and learned to appreciate beautiful frames,” says Arielle. “Having been around the business all my life has definitely been an advantage when it comes to design.”

Steve de Pinto is understandably proud of Arielle’s success in the jewelry market. He’s also happy to have her on board, designing for Centennial. “It quickly became apparent that there was the possibility of transferring some of Arielle’s jewelry skill and talent into eyeglass frames,” says Steve. “We started out by having her help in the summer with temple designs. She consults with us on various collections and we launched the Arielle de Pinto collection in 2008. Every three months, we release new designs and the collection is doing very well.”

Linda Mulford-Hum, director of frames at Centennial, notes that, “Arielle brings a fresh, hands-on, artisanal approach to eyewear. Her knowledge and experience working with metals is a bonus for producing workable, cutting-edge design.”

The temple designs in metal are indeed interesting. “She has a gift for textures and interesting colour combinations,” notes Steve. “The collection is perfect for trendy, younger women. It is exclusive and while not inexpensive, it is affordable.”

One of the current knockout frames features a beaded fringe on the temples. Another has fascinating cut-outs of almost-abstract human figures. Colours include copper, champagne, taupe and red.

One gets the sense that Arielle would, perhaps, like to be even more cutting edge in her designs, while her father and Mulford-Hum might be more conscious about what the market will accept. Says Arielle: “I want to be creative and cutting-edge. This is the first round.” For his part, Steve notes, “You can come up with a brilliant idea that doesn’t sell, and the market is not forgiving.”

Clearly, Arielle is grateful for the opportunity to design frames and to work with her father. “I like being involved in what Dad does. And I also appreciate using him as a sounding board for my jewelry business.”

Don’t be surprised if you see the Arielle de Pinto name on other designer goods in the future. While she can’t reveal anything about her expansion plans at present, given her young age and overflowing creative powers, it’s highly likely that she won’t be stopping at jewelry and eyewear. However deep and broad her work extends in the years ahead, it’s a good sign for Canadian design that Arielle de Pinto is on the scene and making an impact.

Consumers are Hot for Hilfiger

By Paddy Kamen

No One Embodies Hip American Classic Designs Like Tommy Hilfiger

Designer_HilfigerTommy Hilfiger is a natural entrepreneur, beginning his retail career in 1969 with just $150 and 20 pairs of bell-bottom jeans. After opening a small chain of stores called People’s Place, Hilfiger began designing clothes. He had a knack for creating garments that people wanted, but couldn’t find elsewhere. In 1979 he moved to New York City to pursue his fashion career in earnest, introducing his first signature collection in 1985. It’s been a strong upward trajectory ever since, with product offerings that include apparel for men, women and children, jewelry and watches, along with licensed fragrance products and home collections.

From his initial stores in New York and Beverly Hills, the Tommy Hilfiger name now represents a global entity with sales of more than $2 billion, 982 signature locations and over 7,000 stores that carry his products worldwide. As one of the leading American designers, Hilfiger has won numerous awards, including “Designer of the Year” from Parsons, “Menswear Designer of the Year” from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and several FiFi Awards from the Fragrance Foundation.

In 2003, Hilfiger stepped down as the chairman of his company, retaining the title of honorary chairman and principal designer. The firm was taken over by Apax Partners in 2006 and sold again to Phillips-Van Heusen in 2010, the year that marked the brand’s 25th anniversary.

This fall, Sàfilo Group will debut the Tommy Hilfiger Eyewear Collection. Their expert designers have created a classic, modern collection that reflects the Tommy aesthetic. Jade Sanscartier, spokesperson for Sàfilo Canada, says the collection is geared to the brand-conscious, under-40 suburban and small-town shopper. While this is a unisex collection that will appeal to many young women, the offering is somewhat stronger for men.

“Tommy Hilfiger is very much part of the North American fashion mindset,” says Sanscartier. “Those who are drawn to it appreciate style at an affordable price. The collection is understated and yet unmistakably Hilfiger, with subtle embellishments like placards, logos and colours that will be recognized by aficionados of the brand. The fact that we see Hilfiger products like apparel and fragrances every day enhances its appeal.”

Tommy Hilfiger sunwear features understated but visible logos in contemporary plastics and metals. A wide range of aviator shapes is available in metal or acetate, including modern metal looks, metal shields, oversized acetates and smaller, sporty acetates. The small aviator in metal, with a metal plate on the temple, is both elegant and sporty, sophisticated for any age. Plastic temples in interesting laminates stand out.

The Rx collection is distinguished by strong personality, combining a preppy flair with vintage feel. Geeky oversized frames continue to appeal to the youth market and Tommy Hilfiger is on trend with plastics and metals in Rx models. “They epitomize American cool, mainstream enough to appeal to the fashion-conscious shopper, and leaning toward the conservative side of the trend,” notes Sanscartier. “The titanium frame is amazingly light, while looking substantial. With the Hilfiger logo etched right through the temple and an interesting front that speaks of design, it presents an edgy, sporty look.”

Both sun and Rx collections feature playful colours including red, pink, white and blue.

There’s little doubt that consumers are still hot for Hilfiger, a designer who has a keen instinct for trends, both current and anticipated. And the eyewear collections, distributed by Sàfilo, capitalize on Hilfiger’s savvy and a brand with undisputed recognition.

Monika Schnarre Debuts in Exciting Partnership with Optiq Frames

By Paddy Kamen

Monika Schnarre, the youngest woman ever to win Ford’s Supermodel of the World competition, is now the proud designer of an eyewear collection in partnership with Optiq Frames.

Schnarre won the modeling competition when she was only 14, subsequently gracing the cover of American Vogue and runways the world over. Not many young women would have the poise and confidence to live that kind of high-pressure life and Schnarre allows that it was challenging: “I felt this great sense of expectation, perhaps self-imposed, that I had to be a perfect role model, completing high school while working internationally, getting straight ‘A’s, and also living a wholesome lifestyle, which isn’t easy in the modeling world.”

By age 18, Schnarre had given up full-time modeling and moved to Los Angelesto pursue acting. She tested herself by not relying on her savings, throwing herself into another uber-competitive world. “It is definitely very hard to break into acting. I was lucky because I started doing commercials right away and landed a job on The Bold and the Beautiful and then The Beastmaster. At the same time, I took a two-year certificate program in journalism at UCLA.”

After appearances on many leading television shows and hosting red-carpet events, Schnarre decided that she wasn’t meeting her full potential. She left LA and moved back to her hometown of Toronto in 2008, hoping to get more television work.

“The industry was really hurting at that time, and I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for a job to materialize,” she explains. “I realized that I have good name recognition and a love for fashion, so I decided to turn that into a woman’s apparel line.”

Having seen many fashion designers go broke, Schnarre took a low-risk approach and began working with the Shopping Channel. “I knew what I was missing in my own wardrobe and I instinctively knew how to address the needs of tall women like myself,” she explains. “My first collection, Tall, sold out. That collection is now sold through retail stores and now I also design clothes for the average woman, plus accessories, including bags and jewelry.”

It was a chance meeting through a mutual friend that led to Schnarre connecting with Joe Nadler, president of Optiq Frames. “I’ve always loved eyewear and have many pairs in my collection, even though I don’t have a prescription. I liked the Nadlers immediately. It was essential to me that I be involved in the process as I didn’t want to just stick my name on something that I didn’t believe in. They were receptive to my ideas and so a partnership was created.”

Says Nadler:  “I saw working with Monika as an outstanding opportunity. I love the fact that she is Canadian and I appreciate what she is invoking with her brand.”

As Nadler points out, many manufacturers simply obtain a license to use a designer’s name and, “slap the name on with little or no actual involvement from the designer. Our partnership with Monika, is, in contrast, very hands on. She is easy to work with and knows how to articulate her brand. And with all her years in the fashion industry she is very much in touch with what women want to wear. I’m happy to say that we are all extremely proud of the collection.”

The Monika Schnarre eyewear collection of prescription frames and sunwear features designs that embody Monika’s fashion philosophy of simple sophistication and affordability. “The women I design for are working women, like me. They don’t have a fortune to spend on eyewear and yet they insist on designs that further their self-expression and sense of style,” she says.

The launch of the collection this spring will find Schnarre on Breakfast Television and in major women’s magazines. She will appear at trade shows with Optiq Frames and even at customer locations. Video footage has been shot for television and print and radio exposure will be included. “She is prepared to do what it takes to promote the collection and her elegance and recognition factor demand attention,” says Nadler.

All Optiq Frames eyewear, including the Monika Schnarre collection, is manufactured in the same leading factories as many other well-known brands. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our frames,” notes Nadler. “That quality, combined with accessible design features and reasonable pricing, assures us that the target market of women 30 and over is going to love these frames.”

Each frame comes with a lens cloth and designer case, also created by Schnarre, both in her signature colours of blush pink and chocolate brown. Frames are on-trend in a variety of styles (roughly 50 per cent metals and 50 per cent Italian acetates), featuring tortoise shell, sleek metallic temple details and current colours.

It seems there’s no stopping Monika Schnarre as she turns her early success on the world’s runways and her experience in fashion, acting and media to the creation of products that help women express themselves with confidence and style.