For the majority of Australians who know something about fashion, or what is involved when defining what constitutes a pair of premium quality glasses, generally speaking, Australian designers and brand names do not come to mind. People know names like Salvatore Ferragamo, Pro Design, Tag Heuer, and Porsche Design. They may even know that the highest quality frame acetates come from Italy, France, and Japan, the best glasses hinges from Germany and France, and premium varnishes and laminates were produced in Japan. They know fashion is born on the catwalks of Paris, New York, and Milan. Sadly, they may have never even heard of Jono Hennessy.
Jono Hennessy develops ground breaking glasses designs in Australia, using the best materials from around the world, and has been doing so for 3 generations. Since 1925 in the heart of Sydney, handmade, brightly coloured optical frames turned the idea of a glasses shop on its head – instead, one felt as though they were entering an artisan’s salon. Current head designer, Jono Hennessy Sceats, learnt from his father that the production of beautiful eyewear needed to look amazing, but also had to be comfortable to wear, fit well, and be comprised of the highest quality materials.
If you come down to Visual Q Eyecare in South Yarra you’ll see the new Jono Hennessy range, and much like its predecessors, it stands out from the crowd while not being ostentatious or over-the-top. The current range focuses on retro styles, but they are unpretentious, elegant, and contain the definite mark of a true designer. The sense that they are handmade glasses is palpable when you hold them in your hands and feel their build quality. Jono Hennessy experiments a lot with his glasses, being one of the main proponents using fabrics in his frames. However, it’s all done in a subtle, low-key fashion – he knows the collective Australian personality all too well, yet still pushes hard to make us open up and not be too afraid to show a little of our ‘inner colour’.
If you like fashions that are a little bit different, yet not too ‘out there’, ‘in your face’, or ‘glitzy’, but are extremely comfortable, genuinely stylish, and creatively unique, Jono Hennessy may just be the frames for you. The premium quality materials we mentioned before … Jono Hennessy uses them all, and with lots of limited edition frames, no more than 300 pairs per colour are ever produced.
From the new range, for men, dark and heavy frames are popular, and for women, multi-coloured ‘Cat’s Eye’ frame styles reminiscent of the 70’s Aussie women have now been redesigned in a modern context. There are a lot of tortoiseshell colours, different shapes such as circular, or squares with strong edges, and there is always a lot of detailing, right down to the unique bronze coloured ‘JH’ shield logo found on each frame. Blues and textures also seem extremely popular in 2020.
Jono Hennessy glasses are a reflection of the designer himself. After discovering the ‘Yellow House’, a radical artistic social environment that included many famous Australian artists in the 1970’s, he then enrolled in art school and the journey began. In the 1980’s, he became a global innovator, never content to simply follow the trends, and eventually was discovered by Vogue magazine for his unique and lively approach to eyewear.
If you’d like to experience artisan quality glasses that may even have the word ‘Australia’ on the inner side of the frame’s arm (a very rare opportunity indeed!), come down and see Jono Hennessy’s brand new Autumn range at Visual Q Eyecare in South Yarra, Melbourne.
By Simon Ch’ng