Forget athleisurewear, the next big market is eyewear. Of all of the new independent labels out there, our current favourite is Phillipe V, which is funnily-enough based in Hong Kong.
The line was founded last year by industry veteran Phillipe Vergez, who has been referred to as the Manolo Blahnik of eyewear. His name may not dominate headlines, but chances are you’ve worn one of his designs. He started his career in the late 1980s, working and designing for major brands and groups including Luxottica, Quicksilver, Arnette and Ray-Ban (and those are just the gigs he’s allowed to talk about). Remember when Will Smith wore Ray-Bans for Men In Black, instantly making the brand cool again? That was one of Vergez’s projects.
He went on to launch his first eyewear label for women called Jee Vice, which was embraced by celebs including Madonna, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker, who almost exclusively wore his sunglasses in the film, Sex and the City 2.
After taking a break, he is back with his eponymous label featuring 11 interchangeable styles (seven for men and four for women) based on classic shapes such as the aviator – but updated with his own twist. Highlights include a hinge-free stainless steel style called Numero 5 which inspired by a pair of glacier frames. It features featuring a cool mesh covering that curves around the outer edge of each lens for a futuristic look.
Women can choose from styles like the oversized cat frame decorated with gold studs across the top of the frame, while another style features gold floral embossing around the temples.We love the attention to detail including the thin gold line circling the inner rim of the frames or the skull and Fleur de Lys motifs which are the brand’s signatures. Even the lenses come in a range of cool colours from red to black.
While the frames may look the part, they are also crafted beautifully. The fit is designed to suit both Eastern and Western faces and every pair is handmade from start to finish in Japan using Italian acetate, German hinges and metal parts, and custom CR39 organic lenses produced by French company Essilor. It takes around 20 days to make a pair due to all the intricate processes involved.
It may sound expensive but the collection is extremely affordable and ranges between US$280 to US$340.
New styles and optical lenses are also in the works.
Philippe V is available at select eyewear retailers and boutiques, in addition to the brand’s website, philippev.com
(An edited version of this story first appeared in the South China Morning Post newspaper)
Numero 1 for Women