The Golden Age
Touches of gold
Words Alessandra Albarello
A touch of gold makes everything better and brighter. Even glasses, which can become symbols of luxury or understatement. Of audacity or absolute discretion. It depends on the style, because even polar ends will intersect sooner or later. Always.
Gold makes its return. But at this point, we are right to wonder whether it did in fact ever disappear completely – from our wardrobes and from our accessories... This metal is so pure, bright and deep that it has hypnotised alchemists like a chimera or a utopia that has to be pursued; it continues to fascinate us and keeps transforming itself, communicating a range of messages. That can be contradictory at times. When used in glasses, it almost always conveys a cultivated baseline, one symbol that evokes others. For example, for Tom Ford, the intersection created on the bridge that is so characteristic of some of its models (in the opening photo) immediately reminds us of the unmistakable touch of architect Mies van der Rohe, i.e. the two metal lines that form a structural intersection on one of his most iconic and recognisable pieces – the Barcelona Chair he designed in 1929. It is the same intertwined look that can also be found on the bridge of the 360° model that was created by yet another visionary, namely Christian Roth, in 2004.
Balmain on the other hand looks to its heritage, without any kind of self-celebration, to a past that has always been the future; a pure avant-garde style that has never forsaken a touch of gold. Just like Mr Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, the current creative director of the fashion house, takes inspiration from the rococo gilding found on the most celebrated Parisian monuments, mixing them with a rock-chic twist and subliming this precious metal in the Major Ltd model, produced from gold in a limited edition of 500 pieces. It is undeniably a bold piece, like the BV1012S model from Bottega Veneta, which is a reinterpretation of the aviator glasses style in a geometric shape that is full of movement generated by the edges featured on the front as well as the range of thicknesses on the temples and the double bridge.
The first metal frame from Khaite x Oliver Peoples with its cat-eye shape, also available with mirrored lenses, is thin, not to say wafer thin. Essential, sophisticated and glamorous – the 1998C sunglasses are the perfect way to complete outfits by Catherine Holstein, founder of the Khaite brand, who in 2022 was awarded the title of "Womenswear Designer of the Year" by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Then there is the complete harmony of a continuous line that runs the full length of the wide sinuous profile of the Mykita Studio 12.5 model, which has been produced in stainless steel and created specifically for "Carrie" (aka Sarah Jessica Parker) for the "And Just Like That..." TV series. It comes in three colours, including champagne gold with lilac mirror lens shields, was inspired by 1920s Hollywood glamour and is based on an updated aviator shape. By the way, followers of the absolute style icon that is Sarah Jessica Parker may find it useful to know that the version she wears is in the colour bright clover with a dark blue gradient lens shield.
Saint Laurent also delivers timeless contemporary shapes like the cat eye with its SL 637 model where the lines of the lens frames meet on the bridge to create a decisive angle, while the thickness of the metal has been varied and calibrated to express a strong yet delicate character, a subtle yet determined elegance; all elements that instantly point to the unmistakable style of the fashion house. They are as unmistakable as Panthère, one of the symbols of Cartier; the brand that expanded its concept of luxury from haute jewellery to also include other accessories such as glasses, which this year celebrate their fortieth anniversary. One such example is the glossy and gender-fluid CT0430S model, where the 3D feline sits on both arms, as if about to pounce to capture its prey. A model that would surely also have pleased Jeanne Lanvin, a brilliant designer for whom the Cartier jewellery company created a unique and exclusive pair of ultra precious "Panthère" glasses in the 1930s, which featured a white gold frame that was studded with diamonds...
Bottega Veneta, mod. BV1012S
Balmain, Major model
Khaite x Oliver Peoples, mod. 1998C
Mykita Studio 12.5 model
Cartier, mod. CT0430S
Saint Laurent, mod. SL 637
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