Shades of the Season
Shades of the Season

Preview of new collection by sunglasses giant led to a big surprise

The future is always bright and that is as good a reason as any to keep your baby blues shaded away behind some very snazzy pair. Recently I was privy to some very fantastic previews of sunglasses for the coming season. The first was a launch by Safilo for their upcoming collection. Or should I say collections?


It is the company behind some of the world’s biggest designer label glasses, so it is not surprising that they are such a major influencer of popular style. The most interesting thing about their preview was that they did not just simply line up the glares by brand, but also grouped them by style. They had created four ‘looks’: Military Khaki (lenses in earthy shades), Mirrored lenses (the classic mercury-coatings), See-through frames (imagine perforated frames), and the Sweet Sixties (someone say throwback?).


It was a bold move because it shows an initiative that goes beyond brands and fashion, with the idea to educate consumers on the essence of style. The idea was to get people to build associations based on their personality, and help choose a pair that resonates strongly with their personal taste and style as opposed to opting for something that flashes a logo or motif.


For me the showstopper were their in-house series. That’s right. Safilo is making some revolutionary stuff and their new range with brushed metal finishes and a very special hinge (one that reminds of bigger brands like Lindberg and Mykita but at a fraction of the price) will be definitely popular.


For those who like it big and bold  there’s always Gucci, Fendi, Bottega, and Marc Jacobs who don’t shy away from making a proud display of their brands. Carrera had some interesting additions – bi-toric lenses, a limited edition Jimmy Choo collaborative pair – trying to straddle sporty and designer; they mostly manage it well. YSL remains one of the classiest brands with elegant and timeless designs.


Coincidentally my other run-in was with the people  at Luxottica. This is another eyewear behemoth and they too have a lot of style muscle in dictating just what we will be wearing in the season to come. Ray Ban leads with some ultra-light `aerospace material’  stuff – utterly weightless Wayfarers! They call it Liteforce.


Oakley remains the most efficient sports performance brand in the market. Their Anti-Smudge technology wicks off sweat (or water or similar) that may chance to fall upon the lens thereby offering ideal visibility – I  wouldn’t think of going into an endurance race with anything lesser. And then there is another brand I like, Persol. There is something non-conformist about them  that I can just not stop adoring. Be it the shiny arrows on the temples or the way they fold around your face; if I have a bias that I’ll admit to, this is it.


Overall the colours for the season seemed rather subdued and mostly in brushed finishes but Ray Ban truly steps it up a notch and both the colours and the finishes have been revisited with a flair for the quirky: their  Denim Wayfarer will turn a lot of heads.  The Aviator is revisited too with Titanium frames and weldless hinges.


As I said in the beginning, the future is indeed bright and as long as the sun shines down on the sunglass market, there shall be no dearth of hues and contours to choose from. Trick is to find one that works for you and not just one that you see in a display window with an intimidating price tag.

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