what is the deal with everyone wearing small sunglasses?
An in-depth investigation to this year’s trendiest face furniture.
Image via Instagram
Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, the entire Matrix cast, and your mum on holiday in the late 90s/early 00s. What do they all have in common? Wardrobes you want, and the ultimate accessory for 2018: teeny tiny, barely there, retina-skimming shades.
Over in fashionland, the industry has the millenium party bug and is revisiting those late 90s/early 00s trends with vigour. But before you start eBaying Kookai and reconsidering peddle pushers, it’s important to note that only the ‘best’ of the decade is worth unearthing, with micro shades currently coming out front and centre.
The cultural genesis of the downsizing of eyewear to the tiniest lens in celebrity circles can be traced back -- like most trends, tbh -- to the Kardashians, and a particular episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that aired this January, where Kim declared bug-eye sunglasses as good as six feet under. “Kanye sent me a whole email like, ‘You cannot wear big glasses any more. It’s all about tiny little glasses,’” she mused. “He sent me like, millions of 1990s’ photos with tiny little glasses like this.” That’s right “like, millions”. Without getting too Diet Prada, before Kim had sifted through her “millions” of 90s references, there was of course Demna at Balenciaga’s spring/summer 2017 show where Matrix shades took centre stage and the internet swooned. Sorry Kim. In turn Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, and the rest followed suit.
It’s important to note that cult New York designer, Adam Selman, and his Lolita shades -- although not as teeny as the ones we’re currently seeing on the ends of important noses -- were the result of a collaboration with frameware brand Le Specs have been selling through season on season since summer 17 (ages ago, in fashion years, basically). The Lolita shades favoured by Rihanna, Zoe Kravitz et al showed a marked turn away from the WAG sized hate-blockers we’d been sporting forever. The final nail in the fashion coffin came when internet sensation and millennial style icon, Jazelle Zanaughtti aka @uglyworldwide sported these ChristianahJones numbers for her Be Good Be Kind, Be 2018 video for this very website late last year. “I want glasses thinner than this,” she postulated. “Tiny, like string, but like different colours and maybe wearing multiple glasses at the same time.”
So you’ve chucked out your giant, Olsen Twinsesque sunnies and now you are ready to buy your own mini-Morpheus style frames. The aim of the game is to render yourself into some kind of fashion assassin-turned-sartorial mole. The glasses should reveal the whole eyebrow (let’s not get into the bushy vs 90s sperm brow debate right now) and preferably as much of the eyeball as possible. Offering no protection whatsoever from sunlight they are perfect for situations where there is no light: Nightclubs, the office, the cinema, Britain. The less practical and more ugly they are, the better. But where do you find them?!
The name on everyone’s lips and eyeballs right now is Georgian designer George Keburia: Gigi, Bella, Solange -- they are all covering their corneas with his minuscule lenses. They might be under the impression that they don’t suit your face (they’re really weird) but that that’s the whole point -- they are the mix of futurism and fashion, the crossroad of high-tech and high-trend. So bad, they’re genius. You wanna look like a sexy alien? You got it. If your mood is less shimmering-moon monkey and more sexy witch, then Australian designer Poppy Lissman, should already be on your radar. “I started designing the first thinner style about this time last year and the first pair (the Le Skinny) hit the market in May 2017,” says Poppy. “We actually had them up for pre-order the month before and the pre-order completely sold out before they hit the market. They might not be super practical but they sure look good in a photo. People are definitely buying more left of centre styles.” She admits.
We know these teeny weeny yellow polka dot eye screenies are impractical, often devoid of any UV protection. But are they more than a fad? Reading into the important semiotics of stepping out of Heathrow / LAX with a pair of ginormous sunglasses stopping the flashbulbs of unwanted paps, your privacy, your dignity intact, the hedonism of last night’s large one hidden behind a smoky lens. 2018’s micro-lens is free. It’s unabashed. It embraces it’s eyebags, it’s bleached eyebrows, it’s weirdness. It exposes the face of the wearer, whoever, wherever they are. They are pure aesthetic, perfect for our image dense era -- there is no doubt that Kim knew this as she replaced her Edna Mode’s for some altogether tinier face furniture. As poet, rapper, fashion designer Kanye West famously said in a now deleted tweet “I have to dress Kim everyday so she doesn’t embarrass me.”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.