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KBL’s Beach-Ready Frames


“Design starts from pencil to paper—we aren’t interested in vintage frame copies,” Kara Mendelsohn of KBL Eyewear explains. “We want to do something that is present and based on what’s happening now.”

That has been the mantra of the KBL founders, (Mendelsohn, her husband Adam, and Dave Barton—all with backgrounds at labels like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Thakoon, and Oliver Peoples), since they started the innovative eyewear label in 2009. Since launching with wire-frame sunglasses, KBL has added plastic frames, optical, and hand-finished matte patina, (picking up a host of celebrity fans along the way, including Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, and Blake Lively). Today, they rolled out their Janette Beckman-lensed campaign, featuring their six latest styles, on their newly revamped Web site

“The color inspiration mainly came from the beach and sea glass,” Mendelsohn tells of their Spring 2012 collection, made up of bicolored stainless steel and hand-finished matte patina and acetate frames in crystal, gray, beige, and emerald. “We also are introducing a new technique on some frames, sanding them by hand to give it the authentic look of driftwood.” One of our favorite frames is the rounded Higher Incentive in matte driftwood. KBL’s affordable shades (around $175 for sunglasses and $200 for optical) are available at Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Kirna Zabëte, and their Spring ’12 collection is for sale on their site now. Coming up next from KBL, expect a collection made with materials that “have never been used that will enable us to continue to do unique shapes.”

Photo: Courtesy of KBL Eyewear

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