August 21 2014

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5 posts tagged "KBL Eyewear"

Kara Mendelsohn of KBL Eyewear’s Newest Vision


We all want a closetful of go-with-everything, silk Equipment shirts for each day of the week, but at around $200 a pop, that’s wishful thinking for many of us. Enter Kara Mendelsohn, who just launched a capsule collection of ultra-affordable, staple blouses named Cooper & Ella (a tribute to her two children). After working in sales and merchandising the past 17 years for successful brands like Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, and Thakoon, as well as starting up KBL Eyewear with her husband in 2009, Mendelsohn knows a thing or two about what the market is lacking. “Stores often ask me if I know of a brand that offers blouses at a niche, opening price point of $68-$88 that are chic, modern, and fun for their clients. So voilà, [I had] a business plan,” Mendelsohn told “Our girl has sophisticated taste, buying high and low. She is looking for a great top to wear on date night, dinner with friends, at work, or just running around on the weekends.” With 30 styles featuring four different prints and thoughtful details like split sleeves, delicate lace paneling in back, and keyhole necklines, these pieces will seamlessly mix into most modern wardrobes. The blouses make their debut here on and we’re confident they will be in major retail shops soon.

Photos: Courtesy of Nico Iliev / Cooper & Ella

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

Pret-A-Surf, KBL Team Up On A New Pair Of Celeb-Approved Shades


What do Blake Lively, January Jones, and Emma Stone (above) have in common? Plenty, upon consideration: blond hair, long legs, magazine covers, fiery hot acting careers…also: sunglasses. Lively, Jones, and Stone are just a few of the trendsetting celebs who have nabbed pairs of Pret-a-Surf‘s soon-to-debut sunglasses, made with the L.A.-based label KBL. The frames mark Pret-a-Surf’s first collaboration, and they pick up the red motif of the brand’s beachwear. “I’m sure you’ve noticed the red zipper on many of our looks,” points out Jillian Demling, who co-founded Pret-a-Surf with Karen Mulligan last year. According to Demling, both she and Mulligan have picked up multiple pairs of KBL sunglasses since the brand launched in 2007, and they immediately cottoned onto KBL cat-eyes as a fitting adjunct to Pret-a-Surf’s sporting take on vintage pinup style. “We wanted shades that our girl could wear playing tennis, surfing, or just lying on the beach.” Or, as it turns out, ducking the paparazzi.

Photos: Courtesy of 42 West (Emma), Courtesy of Pret-a-Surf

KBL Offers “Trouble” Worth Courting


Husband-and-wife team Adam and Kara Mendelsohn, the designers behind KBL Eyewear, take the slow-and-steady approach to growing their business. After starting with affordable, classically styled sunglasses back in 2009, they branched out into plastics the following season and now—with their business steadier than ever—are trying their hand at optical frames, too. More power to ‘em, we say. The new eyeglass styles debuted this week at Moscot in New York, where they’re offering both metal and plastic frames, like the bookish, two-tone Sheer Trouble specs (top left, $195). Speaking of stepping out, KBL is tiptoeing into collaborations. Two frames they made for Marcia Patmos’ Leroy & Perry Spring ’11 line are available for sale on their Web site, like the well-received Wild Promises style updated in a cool, puttyish camel (bottom left, $150). If you need a better reason than that, there’s this: 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, an initiative of the CFDA.

Photos: Courtesy of KBL

“One Word: Plastics”


When Kara and Adam Mendelsohn (she, a fashion sales director; he, a designer and consultant) launched KBL Eyewear last season, they focused their attentions on revamping classic styles in wire frames—and, believe it or not, at affordable prices. That won them an audience with the likes of Barneys, Kirna Zabête, and Otte, all of whom snapped up the designs. For their second collection, the duo has expanded to plastic, working in fine Italian acetate. Their new styles are inspired, Adam told us, by a trip to Treviso, Italy, where he stumbled upon a vintage eyewear showroom. That might not make it into the Lonely Planet guides, but credit the guy for single-minded pursuit of his craft, especially with results like these. We particularly like the Wild Promises style (above left), a boxy, unisex shape, and the girly, Jackie O-ish Now Now Now (above right). Both make use of KBL’s exclusively developed dream blue, an icy shade reminiscent of the glacial tones Karl used for Chanel. The specs list is long, but if you like a little drudgery with your eyewear, you’ll be happy to know that Kara hand-letters the style name on the inner arm of each pair.

Wild Promises and Now Now Now, each $135, available at

Photo: Steven Torres