Friday, 17 June 2016


Do you remember Concetta Rosa Maria Franconeri?
This is her real name and she Is ten months younger than me. Maybe that's why I have followed the highs [and too many lows] of her life.
All will be revealed after this Shades segment!
Living here on Kent's sunshine coast, sunglasses are not a vanity nor simply a fashion accessory. They are essentials.
At sea I used aviator style polarised shades to help with bright water reflections at each end of the day. I guess they were Ray-Ban but, cannot clearly remember.
On coming ashore for good in 1965 I cast them aside for the now traditional 'La Dolce VIta' look which was then the style, even  if they were never really needed in South East London - especially after dark in coffee bars.
They are still popular around these parts.
Some very similar examples
These very similar examples range enormously in retail price. The most expensive pair would set you back almost £1000. Can you spot the pair that cost £1? I will tell you which in a moment.
A pair of sunglasses are very simple ... four screws, a plastic frame, two lenses and that's all. So is the price variation about competition? No! All these examples along with dozens of other 'designer brands' are made by one Italian company which is the world's biggest 'eyewear' manufacturer. With a head office in Milan it is now a global enterprise named Luxottica. They also own the retailer Sunglass Hut and several chains of optical stores.
Luxottica's genius has been to take a medical device or aid and, over the last 50 years turn it into a fashion accessory. They typically wholesale their products at some 20 times their manufacturing costs. The retailer probably doubles that price for their own profit margin. When one of the 'designer' names is stuck on the lens or printed on the side shank you can double the prices again.
Before you splurge on a fashion pair of shades, think on this? When was the last time you even noticed or could recognise a designer name being worn? Does it matter? I guess not if it made their owner feel good to buy them.
My £1 pair came from Poundland this week and are pictured against the GQ cover immediately above the Chanel pair.
Then again, you could grab some for nothing at all as they are being given away with the July issue of Tatler magazine. I guess that these, like my Poundland pair, emanate from China rather than Italy.
Concetta is better known as Connie Francis and a double CD of her best Italian flavoured hits is released today.
38 tracks on two CD for just £4.71 is a bargain for great music from a time-served professional artiste.
Finally ... My fave radio station right now is on air 24-7 at
Thanks for stopping by ... same time, same place next week?