Eyes Forward: Summer's Must-Have Shades

Even during challenging economic times, accessories have long been reliable boons to luxury label’s bottom lines. Now, as the market slowly begins heating up again, high-end brands are introducing new lines and designer collaborations just in time for summer—especially, of course, sunglasses. Luxe stalwarts, newbie shade purveyors and avant-garde labels alike are offering particularly unique versions of the seasonal staple.

Already renowned for its chic, ultra-supple handbags and iconic driving shoes, TOD’s has fittingly expanded its accessories purview to include eyewear, introducing the women’s “1” style for 2010. Classically elegant and available in a variety of colors, the lightweight plastic and metal glasses, $350 would be ideal for cruising 10 Corso Como or hitting up the Corsican coast—ditto DSquared2’s bold, rectangular-framed “44” peepers, $395. Inspired by the French phrase l’œil de biche (“doe-eyed”), John Galliano’s sultry, oversized “Les Biches” ( $390) are designed to mimic a flushed cheek with a soft pink of the gradiated wrap shades.

Speaking of statement makers, Mykita & Bernhard Willhelm’s line of “Franz” aviator specs (recently glimpsed on one Carrie Bradshaw) now boast a more luxe incarnation. Equipped with mirrored lenses coated in 24-karat gold, the “24k,” $775, is available either in a solid hue or in matte black, hand-lacquered frames.

Leave it to Maison Martin Margiela to subvert the design paradigm when hen it comes to framework. The brand’s latest hybrid creation for Line 8, $590, is a wire-framed aviator integrated into a plastic frame. Less conspicuous than the house’s blackout bar-like “Incognito” shades, these glasses nevertheless merit a double take.

The same might be said of Linda Farrow’s collaboration with Irish electro-pop diva (and Viktor & Rolf muse) Róisín Murphy. One of the latest partnerships forged from Projects by Linda Farrow, the collaboration yielded half-moon cat eye titanium frames coated in 24 karat gold and available in either matte white or yellow gold with gray or brown gradient lenses, $737. Illesteva’s round, retro-tinged “Ruby” specs, $185 are equally covetable, but available at a much friendlier price point. One of eight styles inspired by 1950s Havana, the shades look just as at home on a septuagenarian domino player as they do on a downtown-dwelling twenty-something.

Said urbanite likely already has a pair (or two) of Wayfarers on rotation, hence Ray-Ban’s decision to re-launch another iconic company style: the Aviator. The classic frame will be joined by six collections, including the Titanium, $165, featuring either gold or titanium frames and brown or gray lenses. It’s a nice alternative to flashier fare for those days when one really does want to go incognito.

There is one comment on Eyes Forward: Summer's Must-Have Shades:

  1. Yep, Margiela’s boundary pushing is dependable, and the blending of styles will supersede many a loyalist’s specs – a smart move in a difficult climate. But just as clever is Illesteva, putting the nouveau shade within reach of risk takers. The ‘why wouldn’t you’ price point is a great tactic for fashion businesses who can rein in costs without compromising too much quality. Loving the site; thanks for the, um, eye candy.

  2. A very interesting collection – The public have taken well to the Dsquared2 Sunglasses styles considering how new on the scene the range is.

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