BY DENIS LANGLOIS
It’s been said the suit makes the man.
But considering how many surveys over the years have found eyes are the first thing people notice about someone else, it could be argued that it’s really eyewear that makes the man.
Optical companies are always keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest trends and styles to design frames that match a man’s personality and the message they want to convey to the world.
For 2016, in-demand, popular frames for men are those that are stylish, well made and – for the most part – are not overly flashy but still make an impact.
“Men are looking for transformative frames – those that are work-appropriate then transition easily into weekend style. Men are looking for eyewear that is trendy and new, something that will make a statement, while maintaining that cool, masculine look,” says Mark Ginsberg, senior vice-president, global marketing, for Marchon Eyewear.
The company’s portfolio includes several brands that are synonymous with leading edge men’s fashion, including Calvin Klein, Nautica and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Ginsberg says frames in bold shapes with leaner plastic designs and those with intricate metal details are hot for men right now.
Frames in the new Calvin Klein platinum collection feature many of those qualities.
The ck5886, for example, comes in matte faux wood colourations and boasts a bold rectangular silhouette with a subtle colour-blocked effect that creates a modern, masculine appearance.
Ginsberg says he expects a range of colours will be popular in 2016, from classic, neutral tones to intense blues and greens.
New frames in Marchon’s Dragon collection – which is aimed at a younger audience with a passion for exploration and adventure – are available in several striking hues, like teal, matte red and shiny honey, but feature traditional, classic shapes.
Carol Ann Edwards, marketing and communications manager at WestGroupe, says a key trend in men’s eyewear is a focus on high-tech materials.
“Whether it be titanium, beta titanium, aluminum or carbon fibre, men are increasingly looking for lightweight, super-strong materials in eyewear construction,” she says.
“In addition to materials, men are also seeking out more technical hinge designs as well as new and interesting design features that make the styling more technically interesting.”
WestGroupe’s Evatik brand is introducing two new models for winter 2016, including the E-9122, which meet that desire for high-performance, tech-inspired frames.
Made from 100% titanium, the frame has an acid-etched mesh design outlined in a contrasting colour. It is very lightweight, yet durable and is “the perfect blend of technology and fashion.”
The K-533 frame by WestGroupe’s Kliik:denmark, which is also being released this winter, is another incredibly durable frame that boasts a slim and light silhouette.
“These contemporary frames have an over-sized eye shape, keeping with the must-have winter eyewear trends.”
Linda Mulford-Hum of Centennial Eyewear also says technology is creeping into every premium menswear line, including in the eyewear industry.
“In eyewear, technology is focusing on making frames thinner, lighter, more comfortable and more durable for the wearer without compromising on the look. Blends of sport and technology and technology and fashion are the key elements we are working with,” she says.
Men appreciate superior craftsmanship, attention-to-detail and the feel of luxury, she says.
“Design detailing that adds luxe include plastic texturing, wood finishing, sporty elements like rubber, plastics with metal inlays,” she says.
“Important colours for 2016 include metallic guns, indigo blues, soft ambers, warm crystals and, of course, classic tortoise shell. These core colours combined with a dash of ruby red, vibrant blue and burnt sienna adds that playful edge.”
Centennial is launching in January Champion Optics, which it says will include frames that are the perfect blend of sport and technology.
The men’s collection, whose namesake has been an innovator in the sport category since 1919, will feature a broad range of sizes and materials, including their patented C-Tech metal alloy.
Centennial is also a distributor of Hackett England frames, which has several new models coming out in January in its compression molded plastic series.
“Compression plastic weighs a fraction of regular plastic but gives the same retro look and durability all due to the core of the frame consisting of ultra-thin stainless steel. Surrounding the stainless steel is molded plastic to create a frame that is the best of two worlds,” Mulford-Hum says.
New styles will also be added in January to Centennial’s Spine Optics line, which features frames with patented spring grips for a non-slip experience.
Meanwhile, Marcolin USA has also added new styles to one of its iconic brands – Harley Davidson Eyewear – that feature high-quality materials and interesting temple details.
The masculine design of the new HD0731 includes a semi-rimless front crafted in metal and is available in satin black, shiny gunmetal or shiny navy. The streamlined silhouette merges with handmade acetate temples that have a slight flair and are completed in a matte finish offered in a rich colour palette of black, tortoise or navy.
The new HD0732 features textured metal temple detailing, which is inspired by the hardware found on Harley Davidson motorcycles. The frame’s metal front is available in deep tones of satin black, medium gunmetal or medium brown, which is complimented by temples offered in shiny finishes of black grey horn, black or dark brown horn, respectively.