Haute Thoughts by Heidi Dillon: Sunglasses

Ask any fashionista girl how many pairs of shoes shoe owns while she is in the presence of her husband or boy friend and she will probably take you discretely aside and whisper a triple digit into your ear. Ask her to divulge the number of sunglasses she has tucked away in her drawers, and you will get the same response. Sunglasses are a fashion accessory that we simply cannot get enough of and, like fashion, one must keep up with trends from season to season.

During a recent trip to Paris, I was invited to a luncheon at the Roger Vivier store to view Bruno Frisoni’s Haute Couture shoe collection. The shoes were divine, but the best part of the affair was receiving a pair of chic black over-sized Vivier sunglasses as a gift which immediately supplanted my barely worn Chanel’s. While the Vivier’s are great – they make me feel like a movie star, even in my exercise clothes, and work well with many things in my wardrobe – they certainly are not sufficient. A true fashionista requires a variety of different styles to compliment her sartorial variations. During the summer months, for example, I prefer to sport light colored or even white frames (if you can work a fabulous pair of white shades, you will turn heads). For the past couple of years the frame silhouette has been thick plastic numbers or oversized sunglasses that were made popular by Rachel Zoe.

Given the glamor quotient of these looks, it’s doubtful that they will go out of fashion any time soon. Kate Moss has been wearing the classic Ray Ban Wayfarer for a while and the look has been adopted by the younger set in classic black as well as bright colors and neon. With the exception of white frames, most sunglasses are seasonless. The weather plays an important role in your sunglasses choice. Bright, sunny days require a darker lens and cloudy days demand a lighter one.

In addition to being an important fashion item – frequently featured on the runways by Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Armani, Versace, etc, sunglasses also protect your eyes from UV rays and help prevent the unnecessary squinting that can exacerbate crows feet. I have been laughed at for wearing shades during rain storms, but those nasty UV rays are everywhere.

My friends at the new Oliver Peoples boutique in Malibu tell me that top sellers among the celebrity set are the Sofiane, a large plastic frame with a gold “suspended” metal inlay, a metal wire encased in two layers of hand-sculpted plastic (my next purchase, by the way), and metal framed aviators worn by Angelina Jolie. Another huge trend is in limited edition collaborations with the likes of Dior Homme’s artistic diretor, Kris Van Assche, and Mosley Tribes x Crooks & Castles Castellano (rapper Jay-Z’s brand). My ridiculously fashionable 11 year old son scored the most important look of the season at the OP boutique- a pair of Paul Smith clear round plastic frames (al a John Lennon) with a made-for-Malibu-only lens called Malibu Blue. He looked amazing in them and I tried them on and looked like, well, John Lennon.

All this pondering of sunglasses has made me nostalgic for a long-gone pair of red shades with green rhinestone-studded lizards on the sides that I purchased while in a stupor at Margaritaville.


Originally published in Snob Essentials September 17, 2008