Michelle Minnie was once a practicing optometrist and now a brand manager at SDM, a leading optical wholesaler.

I love colour – to me it is an extension of my personality and feelings. Colour has always been a prominent factor in eyewear collections, with variations being offered over different collections and different seasons. I would like to give you some background to the origin of colours and colour definitions, the meaning of colours and then some ideas around the colours that can be seen this summer in eyewear, as well as a sneak preview of trends that will dominate the industry in the seasons to come.

Colour is an interesting thing – it can be an expression of your emotions, it could describe your aspirations, or it could be a subconscious message to yourself and others regarding your view of the world.

The cycle of colours coming and going in and out of fashion is also an interesting phenomenon to consider. Over time the same fashion trends and colours are recycled, with different names, concepts, and sources of inspiration. In the end – it is often the same thing with a different name. A rose by any other name would smell so sweet – Shakespeare.

Today colours are described and matched by the Pantone system, with uniform codes and beautiful descriptive names. The Pantone Company as it is known today, was started in 1962, as a small business manufacturing colour cards for cosmetic companies. One of the former employees (Lawrence Herbert) bought the small company and transformed it into the first colour matching company in 1963. Pantone provides a universal language of colour, and is widely used in fashion, design and other industries.

We must start the colour story with black – it has been a much loved colour, expressing many emotions, from grief, to royalty, to stability, to power and even sexiness over the decades. It is symbolic of elegance, success, sophistication and formality. In fashion and on other fronts, black has often been a favourite of designers and celebrities. In eyewear, black remains a staple colour. It matches many colour schemes, it is strong and visible, and I feel that by wearing a black frame the wearer exudes confidence and boldness. This summer, black is combined with gold and other colours, it remains a firm favourite. Every spectacle wearer should have a little black number in their eyewear wardrobe.

Nudes and pinks remain popular this year, with tinted crystal frames making a strong comeback. Pink is the definitive expression of femininity, a touch of neutral softness. This season, pink can however even be seen in men’s frames, blending with skin tones and adding subtle sophistication to the wearer’s look. If you decide to choose one of this season’s popular pinks, make sure that the specific tone of pink works with your colouring, as the wrong shade of pink could make a light complexion appear too pale. Nudes, pinks and crystals are neutral to the extreme and will be a great addition to any eyewear wardrobe. I choose to wear a nude frame on the days that I want to blend in, be in the background. Wearing pink and its associated tones usually feel subtle and easy to wear.

Small details in teal and coral can be seen in this season’s more vibrant offerings. Combined with gold, these colours shout of summer. Both colours are reminiscent of tranquillity and calming emotions. Despite their boldness, they should help the wearer to exude an air of ease and diplomacy, while staying true to fashion. They add a bit of fun to this season’s eyewear collections and is suitable for young and old. Eyewear with touches of teal and coral should combine well with outfits in yellow or even blue and purple.

Trends to look out for over the coming year:

• Vintage retro – this look has been on the radar for a while, but in upcoming collections, they are all the rage. There is a strong representation of cat eye, ovals and even very small silhouettes, reminiscent of a bygone era. Combined with neutral tonal colours or bold bright solid colours, these expressive frames will make a strong statement in the months to come.

• Metal frames – bring out your grandfather’s old double bridge frame! The coming rage is round frames, aviators and all sorts of shapes in thin sophisticated
metal. Mostly gold, with bright colour combinations on the temples, thin metals are making a strong comeback. Some European style fundi’s are of the opinion that we should see many collections with a majority of metal frames in future. The prediction is that acetate (plastic) will take a backseat to its older metal cousins for a year or two.

In general, my feeling is that eyewear this summer will be flattering, subtle and sophisticated. There are very few harsh silhouettes or strong colours. There is a certain timelessness in the current trends. Maybe it speaks to humanity’s constant search for eternal youth, for a return to that which comes naturally, for a truce with mother nature? I adore the trends of the new season and I think it will be a joyous experience for optometrists and consumers alike to buy and sell frames from the beautiful wares currently on offer.



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