An energetic hub embraces Brussels. It is a hive of remarkable activity for culture, cuisine, fashion, and international politics. The city boasts vast green spaces and lovely parks; numerous museums; architectural landmarks; and it is the capital of the European Union. Belgian fashion designers have captivated the global style stage, and include Dries Van Noten; Raf Simons; Ann Demeulemeester, and Martin Mangela. Chocolate, chips, waffles and beer are known to dominate cuisine; however, elegant gastronomy is alive, well and flourishing in Brussels, and beyond the city centre.
Brussels includes nineteen municipalities, and a stroll of the historic Sablon area enchants the visitor with tempting antique shops; vintage clothing; designer labels; charming cafés; and speciality food shops. For distinctive and original custom-made eyewear – set your sights on the remarkable and influential Lunetier Ludovic Boutique. “My wife Vinciane and I opened the boutique in 2015,” recollects optician and owner Ludovic Elens when we met in Brussels, “and we specialise in bespoke glasses. We do feature some brands, but I am an eyewear crafter…that is my passion. We offer the finest quality and personalisation.”
Lunetier Ludovic is a bright and airy space over three levels; the street level displays frames where customers try on the designs; the lower level is Elens craft shop; and the upper level houses the office. “It was very hard to find a location; every week we went to a different area. We chose the Sablon as it has many interesting shops – art; jewellery; chocolate; antiques; and luxury products,’ says Elens.
The frames crafted at Lunetier Ludovic are truly luxurious works of art. Clients chose their materials from the intriguing collection that Elens has acquired – including sheep and deer horns that he works in layers. “We never throw anything out”, declares Elens, “as you never know when a particular piece of acetate or horn might be useful.”
Each design takes approximately two weeks to create – and then two to three months for the actual crafting of the frame. “I want to design the frame that the wearer wants to wear,” Elens emphasises, “as we have many clients who are unable to wear a regular frame from a designer or manufacturer – perhaps due to an abnormal facial issue. However, that can be overcome with the correct design and bespoke fitting. There are details in the designs that you may not see, but the wearer can feel.”
Lunetier Ludovic has an amazingly diverse international clientele that range in age from two-and-one-half-years old – to eighty-one years old. They all wear Ludovic designs, which are individually personalised. Some clients are very specific about what they want. “We had a client who was a Roy Orbison fan, and he wanted frames exactly like what Orbison wore, so that is what we created.”