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The debut optical collection from Karen Walker Eyewear may seem like a radical and remarkable move for the designer who has come to dominate the outré end of the sunglass spectrum. Opticals, after all, are a different ballgame. Design execution becomes elevated to an exacting degree as each pair of frames needs to be industry-fit and calibrated in terms of strength, fit, weight and comfort to meet stringent wearer and optician requirements.

A Debut Collection Featuring 50 News Styles

To achieve this required level of technical detailing and yet maintain that elusive edge of subversive chic that is the Karen Walker Eyewear trademark is the tightrope that had to be walked in this premier collection which comes out swinging with 50 new styles.

Karen Walker Optical is about reinventing cultural snapshots with an artful ease that belies the depth of historical reference whilst still seeing silhouettes hone in on classic looks from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Subtle but important revisionism is taking place in each pair with the tilt of a line, the shift of an angle.

“I’ve always said that our look is about getting ‘just the right amount of wrong’,” Karen says. “In this collection the frames are so superfine that the delicate act of getting things perfectly off-kilter became even more exacting. You have to know precisely how far to push things. In some cases we got there by ever-so-faintly blowing up a classic shape and then toying in some way with the proportions, or pushing the silhouette into an awkward, unpredictable direction. It was all about tiny but vital distortions.”

Delicacy is a key theme in a range that is wrought ultrafine to a level never seen before in any Karen Walker Eyewear collection. All 50 frames – metal and acetate alike – are lightweight and precise. The iconic power of the arrow insignia is super-finessed to match and appears in a multitude of never-before renditions on hinges, as a temple tip on metal arms, and even in minute detailing as a monogram on custom nose pad hardware.

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Each pair of frames will have passed through 200 pairs of hands in the course of their production process. The stainless steel-core frames are precision-engineered to be exceptionally lightweight while a new cellulose acetate is derived from natural cotton and wood fibres, and is flexible, hypoallergenic and fully adjustable. The mono rimlock on the frames makes them ideal for optical lens fitting.

Bouncing off the lightness of the frames’ technology, the colours chosen are delicate too. The faintest infusions of lilac, pink and nude push a hint of colour into clear acetate frames. The solid colour acetates are classic Karen Walker gloss black, navy and blush along with the original Karen Walker Crazy Tort and a new tort that’s a tonal integration of black, brown and treacle.

Celebrating the SuperGeek

The campaign for Karen Walker Optical celebrates the super- geek that is the high school spelling bee champion. Each pair of eyewear perfectly frames the portrait of our orthographic prodigies as they step up to excel in their moment at the mic.

Karen Walker Optical is defined unisex, and although certain styles with the collection undoubtedly give a knowing nod to the masculine influence of the Monumental by Karen Walker collection, Walker herself is reluctant to single out specific styles for men or women. It’s an intended ambiguity that possibly stems from the fact that Walker is often seen wearing Monumental styles herself. So consider the new range gender fluid – which only narrows down your list of style choices to, well, 50.

Better start browsing now then, available exclusively with Karen Walker Eyewear stockists

Find Out More: www.karenwalker.com

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