For Hire

Thursday, June 11, 2009

round sunglasses

You all must have seen the John Lennon Poster (Mr. Lennon’s image, in round sunglasses) allover the NYC town, peering at us from subway walls and billboards since May, publicizing a Lennon exhibition at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in SoHo. That show ignited requests for round sunglasses at stores around the city.

The hot eyewear look of 2008 was pretty much defined by plastic Wayfarer knockoffs, garish neon trapezoids often seen color-coordinated with a plaid shirt and sneakers. Or else it was “shutter shades,” those ventilated blinders popularized by Kanye West (that was really too much).

It's 2009 and sunglasses must be round! Why? Only last year round sunglasses were considered square?

...a pair from the linda farrow collection...

Round frames last appeared as a fashion trend about two decades ago. In 1989, when Alain Mikli introduced a thick-rimmed version. One of my very first were Mikli's!

Before that, they were a defining element of hippie style during the 1960s counterculture movement — just about the only time that round glasses could be described as an unqualified fashion hit. Throughout the last century, round glasses have been associated with celebrated architects, literary stars and intellectual thinkers — Philip Johnson, Le Corbusier, Dominick Dunne, Gandhi — almost all of them men and rarely a figure noted for his cutting-edge personal style.


And yet something about the style, as uncommercial as it may seem, has clicked with designers. Or, as it turns out, several things happened at roughly the same time, in 2007 and 2008, that help explain why you are seeing round sunglasses again.

The story of round would not be complete without a nod to the hippies. This year’s Broadway revival of “Hair,” while not exactly fashion friendly, had its first performances last summer at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. At a preview last May, its cast performed at the Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before an audience that included a spectrum of international fashion designers.

...photograph by Mr. Sidibé...

Remember the black-and-white portraits taken in the 1950s and ’60s by the Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, who was given a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Biennale art fair two years ago? That was when Mr. Sidibé, now in his 70s, began to have an unexpected fashion moment. Designers sought out monographs of his work, notably a 2004 edition published by Steidl that conveyed the exuberance of postcolonial West Africa with images of stylish young men and women, many of them wearing incredible sunglasses.

...another Sidibé photograph...

But it was not Mr. Sidibé’s influence alone that set off the trend. John Lennon deserves some credit, too. In July 2007, Mr. Lennon’s name was again in the news when a pair of his wire-rimmed round glasses were sold at auction, drawing bids of more than $1.5 million, the BBC reported, though the final sale price, which was never disclosed, was believed to be far less.

But it also just makes plain sense that round glasses would return because they mesh with other eyewear themes occurring at the moment, like vintage, geek-chic and Hollywood.

This round shape is the most natural shape for designers to embrace and maybe, another signature Lennon style — an upside-down pear shape — would be the next big thing after that?

1 comment:

Uma said...

Love & Peace!


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New York, NY, United States
Just like the rare Swiss mountain flower Edelweiss - a symbol of prestige and distinction - the clothing brand IDILVICE (pronouced "Edel-vice") was born in the mountains of Switzerland and since then it's flourishing on the concrete of Manhattan and recently even in the rolling hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. However as the spelling indicates, the label is not meant to be associated with too much folkloric alpine tradition, but rather and probably in the contrary, with unconventionality. The IDILVICE label was founded in 1995 by Swiss Native fashion designer Idil from the city of Saint Gallen, Switzerland, who's foundation dates back to the 7th Century and which became famous for their quality textile products, especially embroidery textiles, which are still popular with Parisian Haute Couture designers today. In search for something less traditional, Master Graphic Designer Idil ventured out to New York City where she fell in love with American Pop Culture.