Asia is a land of spectacles and we are not talking about the Great Wall or Mount Everest. This is a region where eye glasses are ubiquitous and the latest explanation cites a lack of sunlight – or rather too many hours spent in front of a computer at school and at home when young eyes are still developing. Whatever the cause there is now at least one reason to celebrate myopia, in the form of the must beautifully eyewear ever made.
These glasses, made by Smith & Norbu are the ocular equivalent of haute couture – hand made and tailored individually for each client they look and feel like a million dollars – although they cost slightly less. Adding to their appeal is the impressive range of steps required to produce a pair of Smith &Norbu glasses. Each one is made from Yak horn harvested from animals in Tibet, the most exclusive material available for eyeglasses. Manufacturing a single frame requires as many as thirty operations and among a multitude of highly precise individual steps, the horn has to be cut open, pressed, sawed and thoroughly polished. The result is that each pair is unique.
Horn is not only a highly resistant material. It is also a beautiful and vibrant natural product with characteristic colour nuances that differentiate genuine horn from other man made materials. “My love of travel has always involved looking for something different, for something unique,” says Benoit Ams, the founder and designer of the brand.
“For me these unique influences, these colours, have had an enormous impact on the products I create. I travel the world to track down the most beautiful and high quality raw materials imaginable and these voyages led me to Yak horn as the most pleasing material for eye wear.”
Smith & Norbu glasses are truly bespoke. Each pair is hand crafted after consultations with the customer.
“Our clients want an expert to help them look their best,” says Ams. “They want eyeglasses that will fit, function, and flatter their look, and experience the satisfaction that their eyewear is tailor-made specifically for them to enjoy wearing for many years to come.”
I had a fitting for my pair at The Fashionable Truth’s chic headquarters in Central, where Ams came to measure my face and size up my “look” with the precision of a Leonardo Da Vinci preparing to start a new portrait. Although I tried to flash a suitably inscrutable smile to make Ams’ job more difficult he had a superb design in mind within a few minutes. The result, which arrived a few weeks later, was more pleasing than a sweet morning breeze. The fresh approach of Smith & Norbu’s craftsmen had created a pair of glasses that were a harmonious compliment to the shape of my face and were as comfortable as a pair of snug fitting gloves.
I especially liked the frame, which had “Specially made for Daniel Jeffreys” in elegant cursive script on one arm. The glasses came in a soft leather pouch inside a trademark Smith & Norbu box that has the making of becoming a classic of subtle and understated design.
The Smith & Norbu philosophy was designed by Ams to appeal to people who are “hedonists and elegant”, who “rely on their own taste and creativity” and who chose noble materials seeking “beauty over the ostentation of designer names.” The glasses do all this and more. Holding a pair is to feel like the world might actually look more elegant once you put them on.
如今我们周围似乎有愈来愈多的眼镜框了，也许是青少年们在电脑前面待得太久的原故吧。不管原因是什么，现在总算有一个理由让近视眼也变得时尚非凡了，多亏了由 Smith & Norbu 打造的世界上最美丽的眼镜框。这些眼镜在业界如同时尚界中的高级定制时装，因为每一副眼镜都是量身打造，让配戴者看起来身价倍增——当然，这些眼镜本身就价值不菲，来历非凡。镜框所用的材料，是最珍贵的青藏高原牦牛角，一般品牌难以企及。而一幅镜框的制作需经过包括切割、压缩和打磨在内的三十多个手工步骤。这样精雕细琢的结果是每一副眼镜都那么独一无二。
牦牛角不仅耐用，而且是装饰效果上佳的天然原料。它成色密致而莹润，因而难于伪造。Smith & Norbu 的创立者和设计师 Benoit Ams 表示：“材料之于产品设计是至关重要的。我喜欢游山玩水，四处搜罗一些独特、优质的原材料，而我发现，牦牛角是做眼镜的最佳材料。” 在配制每一副眼镜之前，Smith & Norbu 会有专人负责与顾客沟通。“我们的顾客希望眼镜不仅合适、实用，更能彰显他们的魅力和风度。他们对量身定制、持久耐用的眼镜情有独钟。”
那天 Ams 来到了 The Fashionable Truth 位于中环的总部。为我的五官量度尺寸时，他有一种达芬奇作肖像画的感觉。尽管我不停地做鬼脸，他只花了几分钟就想出了一个绝妙的设计方案。几个星期以后，我收到了成品，揭开盒子的一刹那我有一种春风拂面的感觉——Smith & Norbu 的精湛工艺使得这副眼镜与我的脸型格外和谐，舒适而熨帖。眼镜框的一侧镌有“特别为 Daniel Jeffreys 而制”的飘逸字样。眼镜装在一个软皮小袋中，盛在一只印有 Smith & Norbu 商标的盒子里，整体的设计风格内敛而精致，彰显一个经典品牌的神韵。
Smith & Norbu 的理念是面向一个“优雅地享受生活、坚持自己的品味和创意、选择高贵材质、追寻真品质而拒绝盲目相信虚名”的人群。Smith & Norbu 牌的眼镜不仅能符合这所有的要求；当你戴着它时，仿佛整个世界都看上去更加优雅了。