What Goes Around Comes Around: The Revival of Vintage

NEW YORK—Vintage Eyewear is certainly nothing new, but there is an undeniable shift with consumers desiring accessories that tap into the vein of vintage. Whether inspired by a specific period in time or a revival of a classic style, the growing passion for vintage is definitely having its moment in the sun again.

With consumers constantly seeking something different, vintage looks offer choices that aren’t always on the mainstream shelves.

Now, companies like Brando Eyewear and Fabulous Fanny’s are tapping into this trend by reviving vintage looks for a larger audience each in their own way.

Chevallier for Brando Eyewear:
Reimagining Classic Chevallier Looks

Philippe Chevallier
Iconic French designer, Philippe Chevallier was known as an eyewear provocateur who brought eyewear into the fashion sphere with his bold, handcrafted frames in the 1960s. Now in 2017, London-based Brando Eyewear has launched its inaugural collection of frames from the iconic French designer.

Originally a jewelry designer in Paris, Chevallier began crafting eyewear for major fashion houses such as Lanvin and Pierre Cardin. By 1968—a pivotal time in French history both culturally and historically—Chevallier’s name was synonymous with his influential eyewear designs and he founded his eponymous brand.

Chevallier’s original styles are now selling at auction for up to $50,000, making his vintage frames some of the most valuable, and the revival of this iconic namesake brand is marked by a collection of reimagined looks.

“The cultural zeitgeist of Paris in ‘68 characterized his youth, and this, pared with his appreciation of design across fashion, interiors, art and culture, has always influenced his work,” said Luisa Cooper, creative director of Brando. “His own frames were completely unconventional, every one unique, but they retained a certain je nes sais quoi that has seen the original frames become some of the most expensive pieces in vintage eyewear today.”

Brando drew upon Chevallier’s original design archives and worked closely with him to bring this brand back to life in a new era. This first collection was inspired by three of Chevallier’s favorite constructions: The Box, The Mask and The Whale.

“The inspiration from my frame designs came from the time that we were in. Inspiration came from the music, sex and free love of the 1960s,” Chevallier told Vision Monday.

The collection is defined by bold, playful and sporty looks that inspired the original collections. These characteristics create silhouettes that respect the past with a nod to the future and produce a brand philosophy that is “Bold as Love Since 1968.”

(L to R) Philippe Chevallier for Brando frames Box_04/PC5003, Box_05/PC5004 and Whale_05/PC5013.

Fabulous Fanny’s Eyewear
Finding Inspiration From the Past

Bob Hillman
Across the pond in New York, vintage is also having a revival. Fabulous Fanny’s, located in New York’s East Village, is an iconic vintage eyeglass store that has debuted a vintage collection inspired by the East Village Boutique that has preserved the iconic eyewear styling of the past.

The Fabulous Fanny’s store itself houses a range of antique spectacles dating as far back as the 1700s. However, this isn’t your typical optical shop, and can be considered more of a mecca for vintage lovers.

This new offering showcases famous styles that were worn by well know celebrities, musicians and political personas of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Every product detail from those periods has influenced today’s collection.

This first collection of Fabulous Fanny’s frames feature both acetate and metal styles; optical and sun.

Bob Hillman, a legendary optical retail pioneer, and Larry Bell, an optical salesman extraordinaire, are both partners in Fabulous Fanny’s eyewear. The decades of experience within the eyewear industry between the two of them span retail, labs, and sales and have them well suited for this next experience.

“The optical industry has weaved its ever changing magic around Bob Hillman and I for more years than some of you have been alive,” said Larry Bell, co-partner and president of sales for Fabulous Fanny’s eyewear. “Bob and I have stayed driven, excited and motivated from our sheer love of the optical world, and we are giving a new meaning to ‘what is old is new.’ When ya got it, ya got it.”

The acetate frames are crafted from Mazzucchelli sheet stock and the metal styles feature details inspired by original looks dating back to the 1930s. The metal styles are constructed with high grade stainless steel materials, feature titanium nose pads and are coated with an IP (intelligence property) coating which is patented. All frames use European hinges and all are hand finished and made in Italy.

The Fabulous Fanny’s sunglasses feature nylon lenses which are suited for acetate, metal or rimless looks and don’t chip or crack in rimless mountings.

The silhouettes, various temples and embellishments are reminiscent of past eras and draw on that inspiration to tie this Fabulous Fanny’s Eyewear collection to the iconic Fabulous Fanny’s vintage store itself.

While the frames in this collection might not be the originals from decades or even centuries past, they pay homage to these vintage looks and bring their timelessness to the present for a wider consumer audience.

(L to R) Fabulous Fanny’s frames Harold, Jean and Norma.