Believe it that this smallish, relatively simple object we note as a frame is a bounty of creativity. For well over 20 years now, I’ve taken particular joy in instituting 20/20’s Artist of the Frame features spotlighting the array of eyewear designers most adept at creating the ever-progressing standard of ongoing excellence.
My personal awe with this wonderous art-in-fact dates beyond my initiation as editor-in-chief of 20/20 well over two decades ago. For a good share of my early career in publishing, I was the Creative Director of W, a consumer-focused fashion and lifestyle magazine culled in part from the stylish content of the apparel trade newspaper Women’s Wear Daily.
Feature photo shoots at W were numerous and complicated. Locations were quite varied. Sometimes we would work in a fashion designer’s studio, a photo studio or on the streets of New York. And there were great travel shoots to numerous global destinations. The clothing was direct from the runways of Paris, Italy, Japan, New York and everywhere around the world where fashion designers were impacting the apparel trends of the day.
My one trick of planning amidst these feature events was a one-stop-shop call securing eyewear from Christian Roth at Optical Affairs. No matter the designer, be it Halston, Armani, YSL, Kenzo or any of the fashion designer icons, it was Christian Roth eyewear and sunglasses as the perfect and ultimate accessory for the face and eyes. This was, of course, a bit before branded designer eyewear would have the impact it now does but that doesn’t change the fact that my creative director instinct always knew a supreme “eyewear” designer would be the best signature of sophistication and allure on the faces of what is truly stylish.
And it is Christian (and Eric Domege!) who would initially guide me into this incredible optical universe of eyewear designers we dub in this issue of 20/20 as… The Opti Mystics.
I believe we all need a dose of magnificence as we move on through to our new year, and it helps if we not only witness but personally impact whatever might be charged as the new normal. The guide to gratitude is in all of us, so let’s celebrate with each other. We are the magic of optical optimism.
• James J. Spina