It's been a long time since wearing sunglasses was just about shading the eyes from the glare of the sun.
Just as often, that pair of Wayfarers, cat-eyes or aviators is used to create an air of inaccessibility and mystery. That's especially true among the celebrity set seeking a disguise and rock musicians trying to cultivate an anti-establishment vibe behind impenetrably inky or mirrored lenses.
But, thanks to the latest celebri-trend — custom-made, lightly tinted lenses in light neutrals or pale pops of color — sunglasses are no longer an accessory that looks cool at the beach or behind the wheel but affected indoors and elsewhere.
It's a subtle look, hard to notice at first. That is, unless the wearer is looking into the camera as
But once it's brought to your attention, tinting can be seen everywhere.
Last year, Brad Pitt had the look at the "Moneyball" premiere, wearing Barton Perreira frames with custom-tinted lenses.
At the "Captain America" premiere, it was
But the king of the custom-colored sunnies seems to be Downey. His eye-catching eyewear, each pair lightly custom-washed to a different tint, includes the Oliver Peoples Sheldrake frames with custom light-wash purple lenses he wore recently to
Larry Leight, co-founder and creative director of Oliver Peoples, traces the demand for medium- to lighter-tinted lenses to
"He was one of the first," Leight said. "And
Although custom-tinted lenses have been an option for both prescription and non-prescription eyewear for years, an Oliver Peoples representative said the brand has noticed more of the famous faces they outfit requesting lighter versions to wear to high-profile events.
"It offers them a certain level of protection from the lights and the flashes while still being able to see clearly and be seen," said Oliver Peoples' director of retail operations Chad Lissak.
In addition to choosing the density of the dye job, Lissak says clients also specify the color from an extensive lens palette, often to match a particular outfit or accessory.
Vintage-inspired blue, green and rose washes are among the most popular.
Although bespoke spectacles ("bespoketacles"?) may sound like an extravagance, one needn't be paparazzi-dodgingly wealthy to afford the option, which at Oliver Peoples starts at about $100.
And, according to the Oliver Peoples people, there's evidence that the celebri-trend trickle-down is already happening.
"Recently we have seen a rise in requests from customers who want to achieve a similar look," Lissak said.