The Chelsea Hotel is currently in the throes of a major legal battle, with the building's longtime mix of eclectic tenants going up against a new landlord who is seeking to throw them out. While I was following the on-going scrum back in New York (the landmark is only a fifteen minute stroll from my apartment), I've somewhat lost track of what's going on since I left. The last I heard was of a controversy concerning a planned private performance for the hotel's tenants by Patti Smith. I don't know how many people have been kicked out, and how many remain, but one tenant who seems to remain firmly in place (at least according to their possibly outdated website) is Mercura Sunglasses.
I look at Mercura as one of those quintessential little New York labels. They have been busily doing what they do best--making outrageous one-of-a-kind sunglasses and accessories--for several decades, attracting attention from industry insiders while remaining relatively under the mainstream radar. The line, designed by Rachel Cohen-Lunning and Merrilee Lichtenstein Cohen, counts Lady Gaga as one of it's biggest fans, and is a wardrobe staple for stylists and collectors. Nonetheless, the made to order sunglasses aren't mass manufactured, meaning that you're not going to find them on the shelves of your average department store. They're also made from non-standard materials, like plastic flowers, trinkets, miniature animals, feathers, and other bits and bobs, making them more appropriate for special occasions than for being smushed up in your purse with all your other junk. I love the off-kilter eccentricism that the line represents, undoubtably somewhat influenced by the famously artistic and outrageous tenants of the Chelsea Hotel.