A range of spectacles at various price points for the discerning wearer

Topics lifestyle | Fashion | luxury goods

Lighweight frames from Lenskart.com, sported by its brand ambassador, singer-comedian Bhuvan Bam
My face is my fortune, sir, she said. This innocuous little line from a popular nursery rhyme seems to have caught the fancy of a society obsessed with physical appearance. It's a set that's willing to spend top dollar on cosmetics, apparels and jewellery. One of the latest, though by no means recent, fads is the ubiquitous pair of spectacles, which has moved beyond being a utility accessory to a fashion statement of sorts. Some progress, that, for something that was a hurdle in marriage alliances not more than 30 years ago, with matrimonial ads even specifying 'no glasses'.

And spectacle makers are going all out to capitalise on a huge marketing opportunity. So, whether your face is oval in shape, like singer-actor Beyonce's, with balanced and well-proportioned features, or Victoria Beckham's triangular type, with narrow forehead and wide jawline, you won't have to look around much to get the rim that suits you best. Both round and angular frames work well on oval faces, though round and oval glasses are a complete no-no for circular ones, as they tend to make the face look even rounder. Rectangular shapes work better as they lend  some contour. But if you are square-faced, go for oval or round frames as they tend to soften angular features and sit well on your face. 

According to Matteo Cuelli, Global Brand Sr Director (SVP), Carrera and Polaroid Eyewear, “Eyeglasses that are in contrast to your facial contours bring symmetry and balance to your prominent features. Just as the shape of your face helps determine which frames look best, so does your skin tone.”

What are these skin tones? If you have blue, green or grey eyes with black, blonde or brown hair, you have a cool skin tone. Frame colours suited for this type include black, pink, silver and blue. But if you have brown, black or hazel eyes with black, brown, blonde or red hair, you have a warm skin tone. Orange, white, gold, green and brown frames work wonderfully with this type.

The customer's mindset and personality also play a key role, says Aradhika Mehta, General Manager, Lenskart.com. Spectacle frames have become a style statement and say a lot about your personality. A pair of glasses can set the tone for getting down to business or showcasing your whacky and fun side, depending on what you want.

Dark and navy blue are replacing black frames. Crystal colours in grey, brown, beige, nude lilac, blue, olive are trending as seen in these Carrera glasses. Price range: Rs 3,500-9,000

What’s trending

There is a significant demand for hexagons, trendy aviators and over-sized square sunglasses as they are extremely a la mode this season. Says Mehta, “Even see-through glasses and tortoise shell are doing exceptionally well for us. Lately, customers have also developed a preference for golden metal frames, look-clear acetate lucite frame and ultra-fine wire frames.” Rimless frames (with no frame encircling the lenses, and the metal bridge and temples are mounted directly onto the lenses) are in vogue, but this type is not recommended for reading lenses, which are typically very thin around the edge and are likely to crack around the drilled holes or temples. Others, such as fully-rimmed and semi-rimless are evergreen.

In addition to different styles, there are also different materials you might consider when choosing a pair of glasses. Plastic and metal are popular options. But across all price segments, lightweight is very common, and thin acetates rims work well, says Cuelli.

Titanium, beryllium, and stainless steel are common metals as these are lightweight and durable but plastic frames are better if you are seeking something more colourful and lightweight. In plastic, what is popular is Zylonite, an extremely light material that can include multiple layers of colour.

Brands are seen launching special category of lightweight frames across the affordable, premium and luxury segments. Lenskart’ AIR, for instance, features extremely light frames in sleek designs. Says Peyush Bansal, Founder and CEO, Lenskart.com, “The new campaign 'halka rakh yaar' (keep it light, my friend) is born out of a key consumer insight - the increasing need to keep things easy-going in every facet of life, including eyewear.”

Branded eyewear is a booming market. According to a Himalaya Optical spokesperson, “The five high-end brands that are popular among our customers include Cartier, Maybach, Dita, Lindberg and Chrome in a price range of Rs 40,000 to Rs 4 lakh. These are followed by the under-Rs 40,000 category of branded eyeglasses by brands such as Bvlgari, Mont Blanc, Tom Ford, Silhouette and Burberry."

Today, owing to factors such as high disposable incomes, increased consumer awareness and fashion consciousness, the Indian customer is aspiring for luxury and designer eyewear -- one that resonates with their personality. To cater to the changing flair of customers, many global brands are hopping on to the bandwagon with designer wear at pocket-friendly prices. “Affordable luxury will be the next battle ground for eyewear companies,” says Cuelli. “Faith in store-based retailing remains intact for eyewear players.”

However, online is changing the rules of the game and customers can now find their perfect frame size and shape through the app and website. Most online retailers are encouraging customers to try eyeglasses and sunglasses in 3D to virtually see how frames will look on them.

High power no longer means thick glasses with heavy frames that are both, a physical punishment on the nose bridge and a blot on personal appearance. Users can now opt for very thin glasses with high-index lenses. But they're more expensive than regular plastic or glass ones. If what you have is a very strong prescription or a high number of -4 or beyond, consider ultra-thin high index 1.74 lenses which are available for Rs 10,000-30,000 apiece. These are the thinnest and the flattest and most expensive too. They are also one of the most cosmetically appealing lenses ever developed. Then you have the 1.67 index lenses, which cost Rs 2,900-6,000 apiece and the 1.6 index which sets you back by no more than Rs 1,900-4,000.

Ray-Ban offers a full-power collection of stylish eyewear that perfectly blends comfort and style. The design on top is available for Rs 7,590, the one below for Rs 8,090

What eyewear costs nowadays 

The price band varies from Rs 7,000 to Rs 16,000 for affordable luxury, and Rs 20,000 and above for luxury and atelier segments. Premium eyewear, such as the likes of John Jacobs, comes in the Rs 3.500-6,000 price range. Vincent Chase showcases the widest range of polarised and non-polarized eyewear at competitive prices of Rs 899 and Rs 999, while Carrera/Polaroid/Seventh Street are available for Rs 3,500 to Rs 9,000.

Eyewear is no longer perceived as an afterthought. People are spending more time and money to examine the look, feel and utility their lenses and frames. After all, an association with good, reliable eyewear spans decades, and sees its wearer through various phases of life.

A snapshot of popular high-end spectacle brands
Eyewear brand Price range (Rs) Eyewear brand Price range (Rs)
Lindberg  40,000-4,00,000 Cartier  30,000-3,00,000
Chrome Hearts  40,000-3,00,000 Maybach  70,000-2,00,000
Dita  50,000-1,50,000 Bvlgari  17,000-65,000
Mont Blanc  20,000 -40,000 Tom Ford  22,000-35,000
Silhouette  19,000-35,000 Burberry  14,000-18,000
Rayban  4,000-10,000 Carrera/Polaroid/Seventh Street 3,500-9,000
John Jacobs  3.500-6,000 . .
Source: Himalaya Optical

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