Retrospectacle

A glance at headline-making previews poised to make a splash at Mido this weekend reveals the usual slew of new technology launches (Japanese glasses that prevent facial recognition!), top-class designer collaborations (ic! Berlin’s Ralph Anderl and Lapo Elkann!) and massive celebrations (Essilor’s music x art x culture night at La Scala!).

But with Hally & Son’s 1959-era natural water buffalo horn optical frames and Hapter’s World War II-inspired collection, it’s clear that retro isn’t going anywhere. It may not be anything new in way of style and feel, but brace yourselves for the usual influx of beautifully handcrafted acetate frames evoking old-time Hollywood glamour, discerning British cool, and hipster nerd chic.

At Amsterdam's Brillenmuseum, the allure of Dior clearly withstands the test of fashion phases, and so much more. © Desiree Koh

At Amsterdam’s Brillenmuseum, the allure of Dior clearly withstands the test of fashion phases, and so much more. © Desiree Koh

Away from the sprawling Fiera Milano convention center, independent opticians fixated on antiquity do a different kind of purchasing, eschewing trade shows for junkyards, estate sales, flea markets and any other means to uncover frames that can date back to more than 150 years old. Loot in hand, they lovingly restore these treasures into wearable condition – yes, even daily! – through careful cleaning and repair with a gentle hand.

Based on the premise that glasses of yore were built to last, these antique eyewear pieces have a long way to go yet, and whether you wear one of these or a more modern pair, getting the most mileage out of your frames isn’t hard at all with these care and maintenance tips.

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