You always hear that millennials only shop online these days, but don’t knock an epic brick-and-mortar experience. Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster takes the concept of immersive, artful shopping to new heights with its flagship stores, particularly the one it just opened in New York’s Soho neighborhood. Inside, you’ll find two walls of delicate, classic sunglasses alongside more avant-garde frames, with a fountain straight down the middle. Keep walking and you end up in a “gallery space” with rotating art exhibits—right now it’s a light installation by Moooi that looks like a fiery sun. It’s pretty much the perfect selfie spot—you can’t get that on the Web!
Fittingly, “experimentation” is key to Gentle Monster’s vision, and while the brand does offer truly unique, boundary-pushing sunglasses—like the ski goggle–esque ones it made for Hood By Air—many of the frames are beautifully understated. Even the popular wire-framed Love Punch sunglasses are razor-thin, so they don’t take up too much real estate on your face. Other standouts include the rounded Future Is Past sunnies, which feature a luxe gold trim; the chunky Luck and Fate, which are deceptively light; and five styles Gentle Monster designed in collaboration with Opening Ceremony, below, now available in a special pop-up in OC’s Howard Street store. In swirling, mother-of-pearl-colored acetate, they aren’t for the faint of heart, but OC will also have 30 sunglasses from Gentle Monster’s main line on display. Whether you’re looking for something sleek and minimal or attention-grabbing, you’ll find it there—and for a reasonable price, too. Most of Gentle Monster’s sunglasses ring in under $300, making them a substantial but smart investment. Not in New York? You can shop them online, too, at en.GentleMonster.com.
Photo: Courtesy of Gentle Monster
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