On a recent crash trip to Seoul, South Korea, we discovered a gem of a store and a brand that is at the forefront of fashion forwardness: Gentle Monster is the hottest sunglasses brand emerging out of Korea, marrying impossible style with art.
One look at the Gentle Monster flagship store in Garosugil and you would think you walked into an art gallery or a museum. The sunglasses are merely a part of the setting, a four story house that kept its original rooms. when you walk in to the dining room area or the bathroom, art installations in white indicate what that room served as in the past before it was turned into a shop floor. Cutlery, lotions and potions are plastered against the wall to give the visitor a three dimensional view of the space.
The beauty with this unique store concept is that the installations on the ground floor entrance change every few months and showcase different themes and artists. The picture below is the current installation during the month of May 2016.
Now speaking of the actual products being showcased, you will find the widest variety of styles and tastes from retro frames, to futuristic reflective mirrored lenses and colourful aviators. Our favourite style is called the Kong X Gentle Monster, a trapeze shaped aviator in a light frame and a nose bridge reminiscent of Dior’s latest sunglasses. The lens is super reflective, mirroring any colour of background you see, therefore turning them into a completely different colour. They come in a variety of lens and frame colours which you can see below in our shopping widgets.
The second style which we feel is unlike anything else we have seen is the Big Bully aviator which has a thick rim and comes in two colours as shown below. This style is a little more difficult to find and is currently available in-store only.
So what is unique about Gentle Monster sunglasses? First of all they were designed with the Asian facial structure in mind: the sunglasses do not slip off a low nose bridge or look too curvy on a slightly flatter face. At first, we were quite skeptical about the fit on a Caucasian face, but virtually every single style that we tried on seemed to sit comfortably on the nose and to frame the edges of the eyebrows and face. Gentle Monster sunglasses also suits slightly smaller faces that otherwise get downed in conventional brand names.
At $200 to $300 a pair, we really had to stop ourselves from going overboard. We are truly thrilled with our discovery, as the brand is now available online at Harvey Nichols and Nordstrom. But whatever you do, if you happen to be in Seoul or Beijng, make sure you head to the stores to experience retail therapy in an artistic setting.