A-Z of Eyewear: A





A key concept in eyewear styling, aesthetic balance is crucial to the fitting of frames to the shape of the face. To borrow a comparison, a beautifully tailored suit cut from the most sumptuous cloth would be less than appealing if it did not fit to perfection. Eyewear is the same. Absolutely essential is how the spectacles sit on the bridge of the nose and how the frame interacts with the width of the nose. We must consider the height lenses sit in relation to the eyes, and the emphasis the shape of the frames lend to the contours of the face. With expert consultation, the correct choice of frame shows the world who we are and projects our personality. This is the canon of eyewear styling.


One of Britain’s last manufacturers of bespoke spectacles, Algha still operates a factory in the East End of London that first opened in 1932. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Algha’s machinists produced half a million pairs of the traditional NHS glasses a year. Famous Algha enthusiasts include John Lennon, Robin Williams, Sean Connery, Ozzie Osbourne, Queen Elizabeth II, Rihanna and Ralph Lauren, a notable lover of Panto 47 frames.


The original metal of choice for frames was gold or a mixture of gold and other, cheaper metals. During the 1950s, though, both Art-Craft and Tura designed and developed aluminium frames for both ladies and men’s spectacles. Many became iconic pieces of eyewear such as Art-Craft’s The Rimway, Clubman Art-Rim and Art-Bilt 100A. By the early seventies, aluminium became more widely used as a material for eyewear frames, having proved to be lightweight yet robust, immune to heat and difficult to scratch or corrode. Aluminium frames were particularly popular with businessmen. The conservative colours that worked best with the metal matched perfectly the look of the traditional business or boardroom suit.


Art-Craft is an American manufacturer of high-quality eyewear. After world war two, their colourful combination frames helped make spectacles a fashion item rather than just a device for optical correction. Their Rimway model is one of the most popular eyeglasses ever produced.


An A-shaped face tends to be heavy on the jaw. An oval, almond or upswept frame for ladies will draw attention away from the jaw and up to the cheek line. For gentlemen, rectangle and oval frames will achieve the same effect. Consideration should be given to balancing the position of the eyes within the frame, so as not to make them appear too close together.


Besides providing additional clarity to vision, aspheric lenses are also slimmer and create a more attractive profile.