For international cosmetics guru Bobbi Brown of Montclair, designing a new eyewear collection is a personal mission to demystify and simplify the process of choosing glasses, just as she did with makeup selection. Known for her iconic black frames, Brown welcomed a partnership with Safilo Group, a worldwide leader in premium eyewear. Here, Brown shares her vision for 14 sunglasses and 16 optical frames, as well as six readers.
New Jersey Monthly: How did you get involved in eyewear design?
Bobbi Brown: What excited me was looking for the perfect pair of frames–like finding the perfect black pant. I wanted a little hardware on the side for interest, but nothing too intense, so I used silver nailhead trim that reflects my cosmetic packaging: industrial style with a downtown edge.
NJM: Was it a leap to move from designing makeup to designing eyewear?
BB: It was actually a natural progression because, as a makeup artist, I understand the nuances in people’s faces. So I created frames in various women’s and unisex styles to complement facial shapes and skin tones.
NJM: What was your creative process?
BB: Before I began designing, I shopped for glasses and studied iconic shapes. Then I created a wristlet bag to hold each pair of glasses, and inside is a compartment just big enough for a lipstick and cell phone. My inspiration was a silver mini bag I found in France.
NJM: How can shoppers find flattering eyewear?
BB: Our freestanding display has all the tips you need to choose a fabulous pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses, so you don’t even need a salesperson. My three-step system is simple. First, find a frame style you like. Second, identify your face shape. Third, choose a color palette.
NJM: What did you learn about eyewear design?
BB: I learned that frame thickness has a lot to do with style. The thicker the frame, the more fashion-forward it is. There’s a fine line in designing eyeglasses, because simple styles can look really smart. But if you take it too far, they can quickly appear silly. Actually, each of my frame styles is named for someone I know, and several are named for family members.
NJM: How do you personally shop for glasses?
BB: For me, its more than just owning functional glasses. My personal aesthetic is between a simple Ray-Ban and a chic Celine—stylish but not too avant-garde. Sometimes I want a change, so I have a pair with a little tortoise on the side and another that’s grayish purple.
NJM: What’s your next big thing?
BB: My new book, Everything Eyes, comes out in April. The first half is about choosing the right eye makeup, and the second half focuses on selecting the right glasses. I’m really excited about this new venture—maybe my styles will even appear on the pages of Vogue.