19 October, 2018 | It’s true, sunglasses do things for you that other fashion accessories simply can’t.
I like my fashion haute couture and humorous. I don’t mean wearing something that causes amusement (not for me an octopus-inspired minidress by Iris van Herpen), even if loaded with irony, but rather enjoying the sartorial realm with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. It’s for this reason that I read the words of fashion writers and authors Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, who wittily unpack all the couturier shows as well as many a celebrity fashion moment on their website, Go Fug Yourself. Inspired writers, they coin phrases that take the stuffiness out of designer luxury and, well, just make good style sense.
‘Everyone looks better in sunglasses’ is one of their popular expressions, and a piece of fashion advice with which I wholly concur. And for many reasons too, not least of which is that South Africa has the second-highest UV level in the world. Sunglasses (the bigger, the better, and polarised, of course) mean stylish protection. Which, in turn, is a very good reason not to fall prey to the small-frame sunglasses trend that is unfortunately so popular right now. These mean-sized, little accessories also do nothing for one’s sense of mystery, a very important point in Cocks’ and Morgan’s sunglasses ethos.
Sunglasses do certainly add mystique, says Cocks. ‘There’s a reason Anna Wintour wears them all the time, including during fashion shows, and it’s not because she’s worried about the lighting.’ With the right pair of shades, you exude cool.
So what is cool right now (apart from teensy-weensy pairs)? Luxury, handcrafted sunglasses from designers that don’t automatically come to mind when you’re hunting for a new pair. British luxury eyewear brand Cutler and Gross, for example, combine fine Italian craftsmanship with irrefutably sophisticated style. ‘If you buy a handcrafted pair of glasses or sunglasses, you want to see the tiny inaccuracies, the straight, raw edges of the plastic, the pins – they give character, make them unique to the wearer,’ explains the brand’s cofounder Graham Cutler.
Another upscale designer that is delivering the goods, but might not be on your sunglasses go-to list, until now that is, is Thom Browne, Council of Fashion Designers Menswear Designer of the Year Award (CFDA) recipient in 2006, 2013 and 2016. Browne’s unisex range is essentially classic yet retro-inspired, with aviator-styles given current spins and sleeked to modern perfection.
For women, wearing sunglasses means the opportunity not only to exude mystery but on-point glamour too. Some might say they are your look’s finishing touch. ‘I think sunglasses are very glamorous, but they also help you look “done” and accessorised without a lot of effort on your part,’ says Morgan.
‘Obviously, it also helps that they cover up tired eyes, under-eye circles, crow’s feet, and all manner of eye-related drama you might want to conceal,’ she adds. And, yes, about that, sunglasses as a means of hiding age-related complexion challenges is another nail in the coffin for those tiny-framed nasties. A pair of cat’s-eye sunglasses – just as fashionable – will work wonderfully and labels such as DITA have reinterpreted this shape into a contemporary look with a lightweight, titanium construction.
Chopard, too, have taken this particular style and modernised it, injecting their jewellery heritage into the design for a touch of opulence. And what could be more glamourous than that?