Shield-like glasses from Chanel, Armani and Gentle Monster are in to blow up our 2019 summer
The words “practical” and “necessary” are seldom heard in high fashion. But, with our ozone layer breaking down, it is as important as ever to have sunglasses that can block harmful ultraviolet rays and protect our corneas. And as a bonus, we get to look like boss of all things fashion, Anna Wintour-style. Besides their functional role, sunglasses have always been an accessory that conjures a vibe of strength and calm, steely ferocity. It has people saying: “do not mess with her”. It’s because sunglasses shield one of the most vulnerable areas of our body, both physically and emotionally. Never will you look like you’ve been caught with your pants down while wearing a pair of classic tortoise sunnies a la Holly Golightly.
So, it is no surprise that this season the trend has shifted to oversized, shield-like glasses that can withstand the elements, and the social pressures of being a woman.
Leave it to Miuccia Prada to sound the horn of feminism with the new pair of Prada Linea’s, which blend an athleisure aesthetic with a dynamic geometric shape and electric colourations for an ultra-light fibre frame. It’s not a pair of sunnies for the faint of heart, but for someone who’s confident, resilient and needs an invulnerable look to match. With this frame, we also see the ever-growing importance of including sportswear and streetwear into the fold of luxury fashion. And as always, Miuccia’s unyielding adaptability and willingness to evolve has kept her house relevant.
At Kenzo, we see a similar narrative in eyewear with their blush pink frames with modern two-tone outlines. This woman could be heading down the slopes in Aspen, admiring the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, or a tech junky who needs a barrier between her and the glare of her smartphone.
At Loewe, we also see large visor-like frames by JW Anderson. It's less cyberpunk and more holiday preparation for a Mediterranean holiday. People are starting to head back outside and enjoy the sun, but it does not mean their faces have to suffer for it — the more coverage, the better to prevent crows feet from forming around the eyes.
Big oversized frames at Armani also have that prep-for-holiday look, but with more nightlife in mind, perhaps at a club on some Greek island.
Ever since Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster hit the stage, bigger and bolder have defined this new age of eyewear. Oversized sunglasses tend to give the illusion that the wearer has a more slender and narrow face, the desired social media look. Whether that is a healthy aspiration will be left for a different conversation about the standards of beauty.
Surprisingly, even though oversized glasses are still the big trend, Gentle Monster’s latest collection has gone in the opposite direction by including more narrow frames, in sharp rectangular and triangular shapes, giving off Matrix vibes or 90s Faye Wong. The 90s, of course, was the golden era of Hong Kong cinema and the industry’s influence resonated across the world. You can very well imagine a pair of red ribbon Gentle Monsters fitting in with the backdrop of the Fragrant Harbour’s incredible skyline. It’s a fun and intense-looking frame, which embodies a futuristic look from a retro perspective.
Kate Spade knows about retro. For their spring frames, it’s all about flower power and skipping through fields with only love and peace in mind. The structures are for those in need of respite from a chaotic and exhausting world. The pastel shades and clear acetate finish give off a romantic, soft and feminine feel.
For more throwback, we see the return of eyewear chains, but not the kind worn by librarians or schoolteachers. Take the Chanel round glasses incorporating the brand’s iconic calfskin, leather-woven chain with gold frames and gradient lenses. This statement pair is meant for a Miranda Priestly type. They demand and command your attention with their intricate detailing and pearl adornments. But chains are also just practical and quite useful. Let’s face it; sunglasses are probably the accessory we most often lose. How many times have you had a waiter chase after you when you leave the restaurant to return your sunglasses? Securing your frames around your neck is just good sense and when it’s a Chanel chain, why argue. And speaking of chains, Givenchy’s sunglasses are literally dripping with them every which way, reminding us of the early days of Lady Gaga. Like we said before, it’s all about bigger and bolder in an era of maximalism. More is more.
So ladies, the next you’re out about perusing for a pair of eyewear to add to your collection, remember the time-honoured adage: go big, or go home