The Eyes Have it

Alyson Magee's work makes me want to damage my eyes because she creates the most beautiful eyeglass frames I've ever seen. Function and design are perfectly handcrafted from cellulose acetate, a natural stainless steel and aluminum material that is sculpted and coloured. Alyson is ingenious. Each frame has two sets of temples - one with an identical pattern to the frame and the other are one translucent single colour. They're perfect for schizophrenic fashion-types who want the contrast of amusing and sober looks. It took two years and 50 prototypes to come up with the final product and 25% of that initial research was left in the final design.

Eyewear aficionados, your options for fashionable frames just got wider because Alyson's new line is now available at Karir eyewear boutique. I work in the financial district so I've passed by Karir many times but have never gone in because the minimal store front never grabbed me. I also don't wear glasses, which was probably a bigger factor in this equation. I popped in to check out the merchandise and chat with the designer.

Hundreds of frames and sunglasses line the store walls. I was floored by the selection and diversity of choice (more reasons to damage my eyes, I thought). We chatted briefly about her life and work. She has been living in Paris for over 20 years but she hasn't lost her Irish accent. It being her first time here in Toronto, I tried to convince her to stay for a few extra days and take in some of the Luminato events. Unfortunately, she's a busy lady and had to be heading back to New York City the next day, and eventually home.


The Irish born, Paris-based designer is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London. She had perfect vision but was surrounded by relatives who all wore glasses. It was during these early years she began to think about incorporating art and eyewear. She was the only person to choose eyewear for her Masters of Art in jewelry design. After school she worked with eyewear master Alain Mikli, eventually taking over his collection. Before starting her own line, Alyson co-founded Face a Face Eyewear in Paris and worked with Anglo-American Eyewear in London.

Bob Karir, the owner of Karir Eyewear boutique was also at the show. For over 25 years, Bob has traveled the world to provide Torontonians with fresh and funky eyewear designs. Karir was one of the first stores to bring innovative European designers to the Toronto market. And I'm happy he did.

Karir Eyewear - 3 locations
138 Cumberland St. (at Old York Ln.)

3401 Dufferin St. (at Hwy. 401),

100 King St. W (at Bay)
First Canadian Place.

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