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Maison Bonnet

Lafont

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Also asking about Maison Bonnet, which I discovered last week. Has anyone purchased HB eyewear or been to their Paris boutique, which opened in 2009? If you've actually been there can you say a few words about the experience? It seems to be a fabulous place.
 

HHD

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I like the boutique, but I haven't bought anything. They have three ranks for pricing: Plastic, which I believe is upwards of €500, then horn (€900 plus, if I recall correctly) and of course shell, for which prices can run into the thousands. The blonder the tortoise shell, the more expensive the specs. It's a truly beautiful material: Suffice to say the difference between even the finest plastic and the real thing is easily distinguished. It seems to glow. I'm Anglo-Saxon so slightly ambivalent about wearing bits of endangered species, but Bonnet can talk you through their case for the ethics of their shell supply.

I was curious rather than in the market for a pair of Bonnet glasses. I didn't really like their reading glasses frames, which I found didn't suit me (there are wild, thick-rimmed Le Corbusier frames if that's your thing) and their sunglasses were a touch on the trendy, Tom Ford style (Bonnet also sells metal frames by a Swiss designer).

As far as I remember they make many glasses to measure (certainly the shell is MTM). Service is impeccable and friendly.
 

Lafont

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Yes, this is what I've been reading about on the web, though this is the first I heard the lighter-toned the natural tortoiseshell the more pricey.

I wear a Lunor acetate frame which, I maintain, is intended to resemble buffalo horn, although this very expensive material is supposed to be such high quality it did crack recently and was replaced at no charge - considered a "manufacturing flaw." I've always heard that nataural tortoiseshell - and probably horn as well - is even more likely to crack. Yes, MB states how they haven't acquired any more tortoise material since the '40s !!!), etc., etc.
I've posted a few articles in my "Ken's Eyewear Club" - a Google Group you might be interested in joining.

I'd love to have someone contribute who would actually walk in a Maison Bonnet! In Paris in 2009 I visited three of the four Lunor Eyewear boutiques and spoke with the salespeople.... 'Had a grand time! (My main frame was Lunor then.)
 

patrickBOOTH

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Does anybody know if any other company produces bespoke real tortoise shell glasses besides Maison Bonnet? Don't really want to fly to Paris for glasses.
 

Dandy Wonka

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I have ordered my first pair of tortoise shell glasses. Amazing experience. I can't wait to get them in September.

They don't do trunk shows but Franck told me they are about to open in London.
 

poorsod

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What's the process like? Do you have to go back for a fitting? Do they encourage a first pair in acetate to see if you like the design?
 

Dandy Wonka

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It takes an hour or so. Franck (whose enthusiasm for his products is infectious) measures your face and you have a chat. Then he selects about 20 frames in different categories to try on. He watches your reaction and makes suggestions. In my case we ended up with two pairs and his advice was to choose the one I did because they will always be in fashion.

Once you have chosen the design you then go to the material. They don't push you in any direction. You can make your choice between acetate, horn and shell. I wanted tortoise shell. As you probably know the price changes with the colour and they ain't cheap. We ended up with two different choices - one 14K euro and the other 7K. I went with the cheaper of the two. I think there are six or seven levels. The most expensive were the blond around 30K. I found it strange that the price doesn't change on the size of the frames - just the colour.

You pay 1/3 deposit and the rest "when you are happy".

At the same time I went up to the apartment to get my eyes tested because they do the lenses too. Amazingly they get them in 24 hours.

When I go back to Paris in Sept I go in for the fitting that takes some time apparently. Then there will be adjustments and a couple of days later I collect them. I'm already very excited about it.

To answer your fittings question. They will not even sell you acetate unless you can come for at least one fitting. They will not compromise on the quality of the fit no matter what it costs them in sales. I will get acetate sunglasses next time but I am strictly limited to the same frame as I am getting in shell because I can't go back for a fitting.

Whether or not you get shell depends on your budget. It was a lot more than I wanted to spend. I was hoping to get away with the black shell but in my frames it didn't look good. But as he said they will last for the rest of my life and then probably my kids life's too. And they are very special. So it was not hard to sell me.

I would urge anyone that has the chance to go there. Even if you get acetate the experience will be the same.

When I finally get them in Sept I will post them in here.

Happy to answer any more questions. I searched for the same info before I went.
 
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poorsod

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Thanks for the review! I was there last summer but they couldn't fit me in for an appointment. I plan to visit them this summer. They told me sky's the limit regarding the price (i.e. 6 digits).

I'm afraid if I go directly to tortoise, I may not like the design.
 

Dandy Wonka

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There's no chance you won't like the design. The whole process is geared against it.

And you should book now.
 

Lafont

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Wups; I wrote above I visited three of the four Lunor boutiques in Paris in 2009, and I was wearing a Lunor frame. I wore Lunor afterwards; I visited the LAFONT boutiques in Paris, and I was wearing a Lafont frame at the time (which I'm wearing again!).
 

Dandy Wonka

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I went to the shop when i was recently in Paris and picked up my tortoise-shell glasses. I have to say their choice for me was impeccable. The glasses really suit my face.

The first appointment was for the fitting. Franck took about an hour to get them fitted correctly. He would try them on and then go to work over a flame to mould them perfectly. The result is glasses that stay in place the whole time (gravity permitting). At that appointment I also had my eyes checked again.

The second appointment was to pick them up.

I absolutely love them. In fact, when I have them in my hands and rub my fingers on them I don't want to let them go. There's a really pleasing texture to them.

I can't recommend these guys enough and urge any of you that are thinking about it to take the plunge.

BTW at the same time I ordered some sunglasses that I will pick up in May when I go back to Paris. I got them in acetate - grey with grey lenses. I think they will be amazing. I can't wait.

I attach a picture of my glasses. They look dark inside but when you go in the sun they go cherry-red in places. In the shop they said this is their favourite colour for that reason.
 

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