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People are falling for Daniel Craig's shades. Courtesy Columbia Pictures
People are falling for Daniel Craig's shades. Courtesy Columbia Pictures

Dar sees stars at first overseas outlet

The Life: If bling is your thing, then it is worth peering through a Dar Optics storefront window.

If bling is your thing, then it is worth peering through a Dar Optics storefront window.

In one display, sparkly eyeglasses sit surrounded by giant Swarovski crystals. In another, a movie poster illuminates a shot of Daniel Craig from Skyfall as he dons a pair of Tom Ford Marko FT0144 sunglasses. The only problem: rows of glass shelves next to the James Bond actor recently lay vacant, as the $500 shades had all sold out.

While fancy Zegna, Mykita and Salt frames might seem a dirham a dozen in the UAE, they are a rarer sight in the city where Dar Optics has opened its first shop outside of the Arabian Gulf: Toronto.

"There's no type of shop like this in Toronto," says Emaan Talebi, the UAE-based managing director for Dar Optics Group. "There's less competition."

Founded 21 years ago in Abu Dhabi, Dar Optics now boasts more than 90 stores throughout the Gulf. The company plans to open at least one more shop in Canada's largest city later this year.

But at a cost of C$150 (Dh547) to C$1,500 for a new pair of goggles, slightly more than the Dh330 to Dh5,000 range in the Gulf, these wares are not for everyone. That is why the company chose to launch last summer next to the Tiff Bell Lightbox, a five-storey movie complex that opened in 2010 and is situated near Canada's Walk of Fame.

For now, the star-friendly, downtown locale seems to be working.

Last month, following a special event at the Lightbox with Anil Kapoor, who starred in Slumdog Millionaire and the latest Mission: Impossible flick, the Bollywood actor slipped into Dar Optics and picked up a new pair of shades.

Abhay Deol, another Bollywooder who visited the Lightbox during last year's Toronto International Film Festival to promote his movie Shanghai, has also dropped by-along with some of Hollywood's elite.

Still, only about half of all customers who leave the brightly illuminated shop with new eyewear select frames branded with a high-end name.

"Some want to be understated," says Zahra Lavji, the retail manager for Dar Optics in Canada. "They're brand-conscious but don't want to advertise the brand."

 

business@thenational.ae

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