Sun’s Out and So Are These 10 New Collections of Sunglasses
Shades, sunnies, specs, glecks, lenses, solar shields or dark glasses – whatever you call them, sunglasses are the accessories that can easily elevate an outfit, whilst avoiding squinting and/or concealing a hangover from hell. The earliest iterations of sunglasses are said to go back to prehistoric times, where Inuit people would wear ‘snow goggles’ made of walrus ivory with slits in to reduce sunlights intensity and block out glare. Whilst 12th century accounts describe judges in China wearing lenses made of smokey quartz to avoid eye contact and conceal their expressions when questioning witnesses in court – sort of like Anna Wintour on the front row.
Growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, sunglass style icons were JLo, Gwen Stefani and Anastasia repping their gradient lenses both indoors and out, with a kind helping of diamantés thrown in for good measure. Summers were spent seeing the world through rose-tinted lenses, before succumbing to the second wind of the oversized bug-eyed frames, a pronounced noughties exaggeration of the pairs worn by in the sixties by Jackie O as well as the silver screen icons Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. More often than not, larger-than-life glasses were precariously balancing on the noses of Victoria Beckham, the Olsens, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton, attempting to disguise them as they dodged the paps leaving a party or carrying their equally oversized handbag through airports. Aside from detours into into novelty shaped lenses and raver shutter shades (lest we forget) following Kanye West’s custom Alain Mikli pair worn in his Stronger video in 2007, trends continued to oscillate between classic Ray-Ban wayfarers, aviators and browline frames.
There is a time and place for classic styles, but as WWD reported – Millenials are opting for authentic speciality brands, whilst the demand for contemporary price-points and high-end is also growing. The rules haven’t so much relaxed but totally gone out the window. More is most definitely more in today’s era of the statement shades. As the mornings get brighter and you start planning your spring break, here are 10 of the best pairs you need to get on your nose.
Combining a shared sustained interest in the innovation of the mundane through the examination of process, materials and the utilisation of new technologies led Stefan Cooke to collaborate with TD Kent on a limited edition collection of bespoke sunglasses for SS19. Inspired by a selection of second-hand sunglasses sourced by Cooke and others found by Tomas Davies-Kent in Istanbul antique shops, vintage frames are reimagined in clear cast resin. The numbered edition pairs are available exclusively from Dover Street Market London.
Kenzo’s creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon looked the fun and futuristic roots of the house for their first collab with eyewear expertise of LVMH’s Thélios. The styles first caught our eye on the SS19 catwalk with their perfect amalgamation of Parisian nonchalance and Californian cool. We’ve got our sights set on the ski-mask style sunnies, but probably not for the piste.
Ace & Tate x CMMN SWDN
Amsterdam-based eyewear brand Ace & Tate‘s sunglasses first came onto our radar with their AW19 collaboration with Ashley Williams creating the Hell Raiser frames, totally 80s and totally fab. They’ve also paired up with emerging menswear label CMMN SWDN to create a two-part unisex sunnies collab. “The glasses are extending upon the theme of our recent collection of retro futurism. We looked at yesterday’s concept of the future, finding inspiration in postmodernist design and hyper modern details,” Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund explain. They’ve done 90s rave via The Matrix and Bladrunner’s sci-fi minimalism and come in a bumbag style case, perfect for coming out of the party in the early hours of the morning. Next up are a selection of 1990s sporty frames, launching of 11th of April. The visor-like and cyclist chic shades are named after cycling legends including Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond, and come with a head strap; think Tour de France and then some.
Francis de Lara
Feeling opulent? With each pair taking between 250-700 hours to make, Francis de Lara’s handmade sunglasses are the pinnacle of luxury. Matches have just launched an exclusive capsule with the first fine jewellery-eyewear house, which includes these Renaissance-inspired gold-plated shades based on the story of Adam and Eve, complete with snake encrusted with oval-cut emeralds and tourmaline apple.
Sun Buddies for Carhartt WIP
Following collabs with Stüssy and Eckhaus Latta, Swedish eyewear brand Sun Buddies has joined forces this time with Carhartt WIP on a unisex collection sunglasses for SS19. Reworking three of Sun Buddies’ signature styles, there’s Shane (classic square frame in black and tortoiseshell), Juliette (a cat eye in black and transparent red) and Jean (a nod to the 1970s in rose gold with lemon yellow arms or silver and powder blue). We’re all about Jean in rose gold, pictured above shot by Peter Sutherland. Launching in stores and on carhartt-wip.com on Thursday, March 28th.
It’s always good and it’s always Gucci when it comes to the Italian brand’s sunglasses offering. For SS19 it’s all about retro Miami vibes captured in a hitchhiking-themed campaign photographed by Hugo Scott. taking the laid-back spirit of the 90s as a starting point, the bold blocky oversized sunnies come as mask and square shaped frames, featuring spoilers accentuating the shape of the lenses and all finished with the gold Gucci logo.
Earlier this month Marine Serre launched her first menswear collection with Canadian luxury fashion and independent designer e-tailer SSENSE, with a second drop scheduled for the end of the month. Think sporty shapes, crescent moons and technical fabrics and everything we love about the 2017 LVMH prize winner’s self-proclaimed upcycled “futurewear” but now also for men. Part of her Rudy Project collaboration Serre’s Edition Tralyx Slim Moon shades are a take on the classic cycling wrap-around shape, semi-rimless and visor-like with a choice of graphic moon-printed black or mirrored tequila sunrise lenses.
Everyone wants to be a Ganni girl. Since launching in 2000, they’ve cracked that covetable Copenhagen chic and remain a fixture on our wishlists. “With Pre-Spring, I was thinking about watching old Westerns on TV growing up in Denmark. This was the 80s, when there was literally just one TV channel, and on Sunday afternoons they’d always show a cowboy movie,” explains creative director Ditte Reffstrup. Live out your Americana dreams with a pair of bright red acetate cat eye frames. P.S. there’s a cute banana detail at the end of the arms and they’re made of renewable fibres.
Super/Sunnei by Retrosuperfuture
Founded in 2007 by Daniel Beckerman, Super by Retrosuperfuture has become the contemporary eyewear brand to watch. And if you’ve been watching you’ll know that they know their way around a collab. They’ve teamed up with the likes of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, P.A.M. (Perks and Mini), Office Magazine and Marques’Almeida. For SS19 Retrosuperfuture teamed up with Sunnei for a second season on three super-sleek pairs geometric pairs coping in black, midnight blue and Havana acetate. Get your skates on though as they’re selling out fast.
Blu Cantrell eat your heart out. Alexander McQueen’s SS19 gradient tinted lenses are the perfect summer of love via early noughties R&B sunnies. Light, minimal wire frames hold either circular, hexagonal and cat eye shaped lenses, which come in greys, purples, pinks, browns and backs. Where the arms join the lenses, the glasses are finished with a jewellery-like detail of a spider or beetle encrusted with crystals and pearls.