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Shades Gone Wild

This summer it’s all about which statement you want to make in your most stylish sunnies.

Morgenthal Frederics makes a splash with these cool blue shades

By Jessica Michault

Once upon a time, women would use hats as their main avenue of sartorial self-expression. Look at any classic film from the 30s and 40s and you’ll find it difficult to focus on anything but the headwear.

Fendi's reflective owl inspired sunglasses

Fendi's reflective owl inspired sunglasses.

Jump to 2016 and hats have been replaced by sunglasses as the accessory that gets the most mileage in terms of creative indulgence. And if we take into account the fact that a large portion of women (and men) tend to slide their shades up into their tresses when not in use, the argument could be made that these imaginative modern day sunglasses are the latest incarnation of those kooky bygone hats.

Chanel's oversized frameless sunglasses with quilting detail work on the edges.

Chanel's oversized frameless sunglasses with quilting detail work on the edges.

Over the past few summers the trend in sunglasses hasn’t been so much about one particular style, shape or lens dominating the market. The sunglass industry hasn’t really seen one overriding design like that since the late 90s when Chloé came out with rimless gradient lenses during the Stella McCartney era.

Chloe's 18 karat gold limited edition version of its classic Carlina style shades

Chloe's 18 karat gold limited edition version of its classic Carlina style shades.

Next month Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller has come up with a very luxe way to update the brand’s unforgettable rimless gradient lenses, the Carlina. A special limited edition version of the brand’s iconic Carlina spiral frame sunglasses is being reissued, crafted exclusively out of 18 karat gold. The shades come in two gradient lens variations, a warm honey brown and a golden understated mirrored effect and are limited to just 600 pairs.

A serious pair of statement making shades from Dolce & Gabbana

A serious pair of statement making shades from Dolce & Gabbana.

The current selection of luxury shades is a truly eclectic smorgasbord of styles with flourishes a plenty. But for those who want to really walk on the wild side, there are a few brands that have made an art out of shades with attitude. Top on that list is Dolce & Gabbana, who, for a few years now, has come up with some of the most audacious eyewear ever to appear on a fashion show runway.

Gucci goes for the intellectual ingénue look with its oversized shimmering eyewear

Gucci goes for the intellectual ingénue look with its oversized shimmering eyewear.

Stella McCartney also got into the act with her colorful, retro wide rimmed shades that brought to mind a similar style that Barbie used to favor in the 80s. Gucci and Prada were also big contenders this season for enabling some killer designer stares. Even the sunglass classicist, Morgenthal Frederics, spiced things up with vibrantly tinted frames and original color combinations.

 

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