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Latest Sunglasses Trends

Artisan label Colab has also turned back the clock with its latest release of eyewear for men.
Benjamen Judd

Fashion has often turned to the past for its inspiration and this season's trends in men's sunglasses have been no exception. Still in the grip of Mad Men fever and now buoyed by the intense anticipation for Baz Luhrmann's 3D opus, The Great Gatsby, designers have reached back in time and looked to bygone eras for their latest men's collections.

Gone are the oversized and over-branded, and back are elegant and understated. Think Cary Grant instead of Kanye, and Jack Kerouac instead of Justin Beiber.

Powerhouse brands such as Tom Ford, Dolce and Gabbana, and even Gucci have all used old-school luxe details such as tortoiseshell and gold frames as their key looks this season. According to Sam Kershaw, accessories buyer for online retailer Mr Porter, there has also been a resurgence in the traditional circular style, or teashades, originally made famous by American authors Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote.

Artisan label Colab has also turned back the clock with its latest release of eyewear for men.

“We've definitely seen the return of retro styles, ” says Kershaw, “and we're particularly fond of the round sunglasses this season. Brands like Illesteva and Garrett Leight have produced some great tortoiseshell styles.”

Stewart Walton, buying director for Sunglass Hut in Australia, says that it isn't just about vintage styles, but how designers are reinterpreting this. “We have a selection of styles coming through this season dominated by the more iconic vintage shapes released with a new modern twist, ” says Walton. “Italian label Persol have released a limited collection called 'Suprema' that includes styles dedicated to those who love vintage aesthetics but are looking for a fresh take on this.”

Iconic label Ray Ban is also revisiting its beginnings by introducing a new version of its cult classics, the Aviator and Wayfarer. By playing with textures and materials, it is bringing a unique twist to the Aviator with mirrored lenses and the Wayfarer with rubber, matte finishes. In the latest instalment of James Bond, it was Tom Ford's futuristic take on the Aviator that Daniel Craig rocked whilst doing battle with yet another lesser-dressed nemesis.

Ray Ban has given a makeover to two of its most popular styles.

Closer to home, artisan label Colab has also turned back the clock with its latest release of eyewear for men. The product of a unique collaboration with local jewellery designer Elke Kramer, the range was inspired by the poetry of French Modernist Charles Baudelaire and his collection of poems about the back alleys of Paris, Flowers of Evil. The result, says owner and designer Carl Tindall, was a “triptych of styles in dramatic shapes that incorporated striking, but broody colour-ways”.

Putting its own spin on things, online brand Sneaking Duck has used the look of raw woods as inspiration for its take on classic shapes. “We have just launched our Autumnal collection - warming your face in nutty browns and autumnal shades of faux-wood, “ says CEO Mark Capps.

“Each of the eight frames in this collection is crafted in acetate that is coloured and textured to look just like wood, but also with the lightness and flexibility benefits of acetate frames. The collection covers styles to suit all face shapes.”

Sneaking Duck has also quietly been revolutionising the way that we buy eyewear, having embraced the concept of a virtual store where you can upload your image and digitally try on each of their frames in order find the perfect shape for your face shape - which are then delivered straight to your door.

As trends go, however, when it comes to choosing the right style, the best choice will always come down to what works for your features and not simply what's in fashion.

Before making a final decision on any style, Mr Porter's Sam Kershaw offers this advice: “In all cases, remember to consider your complexion and hair color. While sunglasses are typically thought of as a summer essential, they're a perfect accessory for the winter, too – go for polarised lenses in the summer, and lighter lens tints and colors in the winter since the sun isn't as strong.”

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