Get To Know NYC's Silver Lining: Opticians To The Stars
When you're the go-to sunglass guys for the likes of Jay-Z, Lenny Kravitz, John Mellencamp, and Bill Gates, you know you're doing something right. And if you believe that, then Silver Lining Opticians is doing everything right. The Manhattan shades-slinger has become the preferred purveyor for celebrities, stylists, fashionistas, and the discerning public, thanks to an ever-evolving selection of meticulously curated deadstock vintage glasses. To see how it all goes down behind the scenes, we stopped by the shop to chat with owners Erik Sacher and Jordan Silver. Caution: serious sunglass porn ahead.
Jordan (above) started out in the eyewear business as a collector of fine vintage pieces, eventually blossoming into a private dealer for world-class boutiques and a devoted celebrity clientele. After schlepping around cases of premium (and incredibly expensive) glasses for a while, the idea of a brick and mortar operation started to make a lot of sense.
So he teamed up with Erik — a licensed optician and NYC eyewear industry vet with a similar taste — and opened the doors.
The modest storefront on Soho's Thompson Street houses a gold mine of rare pieces from brands with particular pedigree in the industry. In fact, one of their nine store "commandments" states it explicitly: "Hardware must be reflective of construction." In other words, that decorative yet functionless screw along the temple of those new Tom Ford or Michael Kors frames? That's a dealbreaker. Many pairs offered by contemporary fashion designers are all made in the same factories and don't hold a candle to the level of quality they're known for with, say, bags, shoes, or suits.
However, in addition to a bounty of the hardest-to-find old school pairs by the likes of Persol, Carerra, Ray-Ban, and Dior (and so many others), they also stock a large selection of a handful of contemporary brands that are killing it.
For example, right now they've got stuff from Barton Perreira, Bruno Chaussignand, Vue DC, Andy Wolf, and L.A. Eyeworks, among others.
And while you can find pieces in stock for nearly every budget, the premium options are no joke; some can go for as much as $10,000. Eat your heart out, Sunglass Hut.
Stylists are constantly swooping in to grab stuff for shoots. Not to mention celebrity clients, whose handlers will often call to arrange a private shopping session — you think Jay-Z is down to try on a bunch of sunglasses in the mirror in front of fellow ogling customers? Nuh uh.
More recently they've dipped their toe into the industry a bit further with a line of frames and lenses under their own private label. And considering how picky they are about everything else in the store, rest assured the attention to detail and level of quality is nothing but top notch.
A peek behind the curtain, where the magic happens. These machines ensure custom lenses get shaped just right.
Jordan hard at work tweaking a pair.
If by chance you're a frequent customer and can't find quite the vintage pair you're looking for in-store, they'll track them down for you... somewhere.
And should the walls, cases, and drawers full of frames not do it for you (which is frankly very unlikely), you've got to admit their wall art game is on point.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He's lost too many sunglasses at this point to justify spending more than $10 on a pair.