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`Mad Men` era for Armani eyewear

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The recent eyewear trends have been rooted in thick `Mad Men` era plastic frames, but Safilo USA, who licences the optical collection, is betting that customers are ready for something new in the `What’s old is new again` product vein. 

The brand presented a retrospective of heritage frames from the ‘80s and ‘90s alongside the 2010 Armani optical collection in the Giorgio Armani flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York this July. Safilo USA introduced a handful of their latest eyewear for the Italian brand, all of which were inspired by these classic frames.

“The brand that essentially drove a lot of the success in the optical market in the 80s was Giorgio Armani,” said , COO of Safilo USA, who noted the current trend in fashion for looks from the 80s and 90s. “The new collection, revisiting some of the stylistic traits of the 80s with modern twists, was absolutely appropriate for this time period now.”

The collection, which revisits the production techniques of the original designs, emphasises a more hand-crafted approach. “It’s about having a richness in the touch of the product,” said Brownlee.

Stainless steel or titanium metal frames are hand-finished and polished, while special finishes from the waxes and oils used in the tumbling process of acetate frames give them a warm, vintage, heritage feel. On the other hand, modern technology is used in the execution of hinges, which has significantly advanced since the 80s, explained Brownlee.

There are ten heritage styles available in the collection and five more will be rolling out before the end of the year. Another four styles will be introduced in January, as part of an ongoing revival.

“It’s not just a one-hit wonder,” said Brownlee. “We think that it’s an important heritage to reinforce and continue with collections moving forward."

Eyewear 2010: The eyewear trend this year, for both men and women, is the `bookish` or the `nerd` look with thick frames. Dark and monochromatic colours are pre-dominant. For women, frames with bold colours and motifs are in, and for men the look is heavily influenced by the stereotypes of the past decades.