Nestled between the bright pastel window displays of Craftland’s new location and the artfully ad-hoc presentation of RISD’s student-run gallery, it might be a bit of a challenge to spot Providence Optical—if it weren’t for the beautifully massive wire-rimmed glasses that hang above the shop’s Westminster Street entrance.
Stepping inside on a steamy summer morning, one might be surprised to find a quiet bustling throughout the air-conditioned store. Customers’ eyes slowly move from spectacle to spectacle, closely examining the hundreds of varieties in materials, accents, shapes, and colors. Other patrons sit patiently in the comfy lounge chairs, taking in the array of glass specimens.
Welcomed in, we were given a crash course on the summer and fall’s hottest trends: Augusto Valentini spectacles paired a matte finish with an elegant gold trim, while Providence Optical’s latest creations sparkled with stainless steel rivets.
More and more pairs were brought out, carefully detailed to us, and ushered back onto their display cases while the grand finale neared in the form of vintage ’80′s eyewear. Absurdly large (in that perfectly quirky way) frames approached, showing off beautiful real enamel detailing flush with clean metal skeletons. The unworn finds—$75—were certainly a show-stopper.
From the cases upon cases of unique and downright beautiful spectacles, though, we knew that many would visit and find their perfect pair of glasses that day, and hoped many others would continue to find their glass-soulmates, right inside that little shop.