Over on swanky Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, there's a darling and intimate, sexy and wonderful eyeglass shop that's been in existence for just shy of a quarter of a century, holding strong throughout the street's many retail vicissitudes since 1994. That darling, sexy shop is none other than Montana Eyes, owned by Marla Cohn and managed full-time by her daughter, Rebecca Cohn. The vibe is generous and sweet and they have seriously INCREDIBLE frames for sunglasses or spectacles, crafted by designers all over the goddamn world. I can think of at least a handful of devoted clients (me and my husband included) who will go to no one else to find beautiful frames that actually complement your face and are a refreshing and resplendent departure from uninspired, fairly ubiquitous eyewear. Also, Montana Eyes is mega dog-friendly - they have an enormous terrier named Mia, who rules the Montana Eyes roost.
We're obviously stoked they were willing to tackle our SHAPERS Q+A! Thank you, Rebecca + Marla! We adore you! xx - Rebecca
1 - How long have you been in the designer eyewear industry?
I suppose you could say I was born into the industry. I’ve never remembered a time in my life there weren’t glasses all over the house. My mother Marla, the owner of Montana Eyes, has been in the optical industry since she was 18 years old. She opened the store twenty-three years ago, and though it’s gone through several changes; remodeling, new brands, and new neighbors, it has always been my second home.
You guys are one of the most dog-friendly spots in town, with glass jars of dog treats on the main table and oftentimes terrier Mia is in attendance. How did your rescue terrier find her way to you?
Well I think dogs and glasses have simply always made sense to us. My mom grew up with dogs, and we always had dogs. Mia finding her way into our family is sort of kismet. We had a dachshund for eighteen years named Elroy. Losing him was really tough, and it took my Mom several years to be ready for a new dog. My Mom had been in contact with a boutique/rescue up the street on Montana Avenue called Two Wag For, and they called us and said they had a puppy we should come meet. I went up the street and there I saw Mia - a small, awkwardly adorable black and white scruffy puppy. I called my mother and said something like, “You have to come see this angel”. The next day my Mom and I came to see Mia, and I kid you not when my mother picked Mia up, they hugged each other. I could cry talking about it, because it was kind of one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I wholeheartedly believe they are soul mates.
As one of the absolute BEST spots to get bitchin' glasses and shades, you have a fair amount of celebrities who frequent your shop and are wholly devoted to Montana Eyes. Can you share a few names or a fun anecdote about one of your fave famous clients?
I think one of the best parts about Montana Eyes is that we’ve created a safe environment for everyone to feel at home. My mother and I have never been name droppers and very often we have to hide how star struck we are. We treat all customers the same way, even when they are some of the most famous celebrities worldwide.
What is your favorite room in the house and what surprises would we find there?
My living room is very much my happy place. The space is eclectic with colorful desert tones. I have a very healthy cactus in a rust colored pot named Montana (clearly after the Avenue the store is located on), a record player and cabinet with an assortment of vinyl I’ve been collecting for years, vintage speakers and throw pillows I’ve picked up in Joshua Tree over several visits.
What is your go-to album (or albums) to listen to while road tripping?
Lately I have fallen in love with a newer indie-rock band called Whitney. Their album "Light Upon the Lake" is sweet, peppy, and extremely easy to drive to. Perfect "drive-up-the-coast" music.
Tortoise, plaid, or ombre?
Tortoise, always. Tortoise reminds me of my childhood and the retro styles I grew up seeing.
Name three of your favorite eyewear designers and use a single word to describe each.
Jacques Marie Mage- Strong
Cutler and Gross- Nostalgic
What’s your favorite spot in California to daydream and reset your soul?
I love the newer Getty. I could spend an entire afternoon out there in the garden with my journal and Polaroid camera. It’s a quiet bubble above what feels like the world.