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Elizabeth Daniels, 7/10
The fact that Cateye Spectacles proprietor Sung Kim can boast that he's provided sunglasses to Elton John himself speaks volumes about the store. Not that everything is funky, over the top, or rose colored. (And not that the courteous, affable Kim would actually boast, anyway.) The store offers an outstanding array of head-turning frames, collected from all points of the globe, in pristine condition.
The eyewear boutique just set up shop in the funky little quarters near LACC that's also home to Scoops Ice Cream and the Bike Kitchen. It feels like a perfect home for the bright and airy store, done up with just the right touch of retro.
Cateye has one of the nicest collections of eyewear we've seen in a long time -- among either new or vintage stores. The focus of the store is vintage, with a lineup that includes stunning pieces by Christian Dior, Nina Ricci, Persol, Gucci and Ray-Ban, The store doesn't just stock random pieces, but dozens from each designer; even entire lines (including Persol) that are decades-old but still in immaculate condition, and often even still come with the original tags.
In addition to vintage, they stock new collections from Dita, Andy Wolf Eyewear, and Victory Optical. The Andy Wolf designs have a retro-futuristic feel, while Victory is a "revived" label that had its original heyday in the 40s. Anything new was selected because it was made the old-fashioned way: crafted, assembled and finished, by hand.
Cateye has a lab in the back of the store, which means they're almost a full-service optique: they don't do eye exams, but if you bring a prescription, they can fill it, as well as. Even though the boutique's collection is both extensive and exceptional, they also do a lot of custom work. You can bring in an old pair of glasses, and they can either restore them, or recreate them. It's pretty close to being alchemy.
With a few costume-y exceptions, most of the classes are pretty high-end, and priced accordingly. But given the choice between spending $300 on the same blingy Diors that everyone else is wearing and having a practically one-of-a-kind treasure from Cateye, we'd pick the latter ten times out of ten.
· Cateye Spectacles [Official Site]