People assume it’s only egotistical bints who wear sunglasses indoors, but wearing sunglasses indoors makes more sense than wearing them out. No one bothers you on the street, but in a bar, at work or on the tube, it’s a different story. Divided through social forces into iPhoners, shoegazers, gawpers and – on late mid-week evenings – manic masturbators, people on the tube need a good pair of sunglasses more than anyone. Sunglasses function as a gawp aid, a sleep aid and a conversation avoidance aid. If you are going to graduate sunglasses from dimmer switch to an extension of your personality, it’s important to do it with style. Take a few tips from these familiar stars of screen, they’ve got the hang of it.
It’s the crudest reference in the book, but if you can divert your eyes from prepubescent Natalie Portman and her circular pair, you’ll notice Jean Reno’s equally impressive sunglasses. The vintage junior Jean Paul Gaultier’s were recently purchased on an online auction site for $8,320, and go by the style name of Junior Gaultier 58-0072. You can find close relatives at Vintage Sunglasses or House of Liza. Kris van Assche does a similar version, too. To bring Natalie’s look a bit more up-to-date, try wearing sunglasses that are closer in style to reading glasses. You know the type – normal glasses. The Row have an excellent pair. Knocking two fashion heads together can produce often produce an inbred, one-eyed, three-legged “masterpiece”, but Illesteva’s modern design are a great exception.
Al Pacino’s Tony is Miami’s suave answer to Liam Gallagher. Firstly, if you think about it, Tony’s a mod. Secondly, they’re both cocky fuckers – abrasive and bold as brass, they collect women like football cards and won’t be seen without their aviators. His are black with a white rim and scream “I drive Ferraris into men who look at my wife”, and temptress Michelle Pfeiffer’s – the Nicole Appleton of the scene – are cat eye frames, pure gold-digger. Sweeten up a sugar daddy and head straight for Chanel, Gucci, Ralph Lauren. For Al’s, a classic pair of Porsche Carrera’s like these humdingers should do the job. A cheap imitation of what is apparently called the “turbo stripe” are available on eBay.
One of Michael Caine’s greatest qualities is the ability to turn acting superstardom into a bog standard, blue collar job. His CV veers erratically from hit to miss, but the sheer number of films on it is evidence that this isn’t a man who can’t act, it’s a man who says yes every time his reliable old telephone rings. He's a man's man, a grafter. If someone needed a lawn mown or an awning erected, I’m sure Michael would be happy to oblige. Back in the day, Michael was rarely seen without his thick-framed square glasses, and every now and then he’d go riviera in dark lenses. Oliver Goldsmith created Michael’s glasses in The Ipcress File. There are great reworkings of styles available at General Eyewear, one of the best designers on the market, including the Caine-ish Rosny, Lem and Flammarion.
Sophia Loren would wear sunglasses potholing. So in Arabesque, as a sexy secret agent on a deadly mission, they are vital. You won’t find better than Illesteva’s ‘Sophia’ homage, handcrafted in Italy.
Take a look at these sunglasses worn by tiresome actor Brendan Fraser in the unexpectedly gripping film California Man. With wrap around go-faster sides and blacked out lenses, they were once typical summertime clobber for surfers and Burtons dads alike but are yet to see an ironic revival. The surf brands have moved on to the wayfarer but most of them do have one or two similar pairs for die hard bodacious types. Try these by Quiksilver. To show a keener commitment to either sport or irony, heed Kenny Powers’ advice and buy the military favourite, Oakley M Frames. It doesn’t get much more macho than that.
Cary Grant makes it look so easy. He’s always in a suit – business first – but his sunglasses add youth, relevance and, dare it be said, rebellion. These were austere post-war times. Having wet hair and rolling up your sleeves were rebellious. The now iconic Tart Arnel’s are still available but differ to the vintage designs. It’s not hard to find keyhole sunglasses so take your pick. Linda Farrow has a substantial selection, there are a slimmer pair at Prism. General Eyewear’s Ostrander’s are the best update on the classic.