Turn heads with these retro-futuristic shades
Optometrist-turned-designer Joseph Haver transforms eyewear into works of art.
On one of the most beautiful streets in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv – surrounded by fashion boutiques, trendsetters and upscale cafes – sits Joseph Haver, a sleek eyewear boutique that’s garnered international attention. The buzz has everything to do with a visionary named Joseph Haver, the boutique’s founder, who spent more than two decades caring for clients as a certified optometrist before launching his company.
The boutique sells his own eponymous brand as well as a curated selection of hand-picked global eyewear collections. Segueing from optometrist to eyewear businessman was a natural next step for Haver. “In the U.S., an optometrist stands behind every eyewear store. I find the professional experience necessary while helping people choose glasses, it shouldn't be based on aesthetics only,” Haver tells From The Grapevine.
Having been so focused on patients’ eye health as an optometrist over the years, he became attuned to what kinds of eyewear his customers were seeking and what was lacking in his industry. “Design, uniqueness and quality are highly appreciated here,” says Haver of the coastal city of Tel Aviv. “I felt it's time to offer people exclusive eyewear brands and a totally different, personal approach to eyewear instead of mainstream logos and the big optics chain standard.”
Joseph Haver offers an old-fashioned approach to shopping in his store: clients relax, enjoy a coffee, discuss the latest news and try on glasses. It’s a refreshing philosophy on shopping for eyewear. The Joseph Haver ethos places value in relationships and experiences he and his clients share. “The shopping experience I offer is defined by personal approach, carefully selected range and professionalism,” says Haver. “I welcome my clients at the door, examine them and help them find the best frame fit. I know most of them by name and by preferences, and they trust my taste and my judgment, which allows me to suggest directions they haven't thought about originally.”
Haver says the boutique’s interior was carefully designed by him along with his architect friend, Dor Kessel. “The boutique's design is inspired by mid-century minimalism with hints of Art Deco and Bauhaus,” says Haver. “It emphasizes the whole experience, that kind of no-rush, old-school thing.” In the fast-paced, eyes-on-phone world that we live in, this environment seems to encourage clients to slow down and savor the experience.
Haver conducts extensive global sourcing; he mostly carries luxury heritage brands and upcoming designers. “I like to think of my store as a platform for their success, since they often get featured in fashion editorials due to my personal connections with the stylists,” Haver tells us.
The optometrist-turned-businessman and eyewear designer eventually decided to develop his own eponymous collection when a small family manufacturer in Italy approached him. Not so surprisingly, the doctor took a biological approach to designing the collection. “I found myself opening anatomy books for studying skull measurements,” says Haver.
Haver started with a limited range of five styles, covering a variety of shapes and sizes – from round and half-round to elliptic, square, rectangular and heptagon. “The collection, made of Mazzucchelli acetate known for its quality and finish, owes its geometric nature and black-white-red color palette to the 1940s minimalism and 1960s space age as defined by André Courrèges and Paco Rabanne,” says Haver. The collection is elegant and retro-futuristic. “My background in optometry helped me to really embrace my most eccentric ideas, as contrasting lens shapes and very wide temple, arch-cut to fit an ear shape.”
Haver recalls a particularly poignant moment when selecting the acetate colors for the production: “I ran into a certain tortoise sample and actually stepped out to the balcony to admire it under the South Italian sun... It was magic.”
Haver encourages each of us to view eyewear as a mechanism to totally reinvent and uplift your spirit and style. “I believe in the power of eyewear to aesthetically redesign a person’s image, to become his or her social business card,” says Haver. "I believe my collection makes a statement that allows you to create a total look around it. As one of my clients said: 'When I go out wearing jeans and T-shirt paired with your white sunglasses, all eyes are on me.' And this is exactly what I suggest: wear white. Not ivory, not cream but crispy, uncompromising white.”
While we each rethink how our wardrobes can transform into a canvas for our eyewear to pop this summer, Haver is hard at work developing new ways he can take his brand to another level. “I feel that the mix of 1940s geometric purity and 1960s futurism is yet to be researched.” Something tells us he's onto something.
Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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