Aviators will see you through the next season
Charles Lindbergh has outsoared every imaginable fashionable man living or dead as the carrier of the title of style icon of the season. His sartorial influence is everywhere from the many variations of aviator-style jackets at Burberry Prorsum to the knee-high leather boots at Tod's and even the pilot's cap and goggles at Zara and H&M. Looking like you are ready to take flight is key this season, which is why almost all the major labels from Alexander McQueen to Zegna are pushing aviator sunglasses.
Tom Ford was a proponent of aviators even before he launched his eponymous eyewear line. During his days at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, he would wear aviators with almost any outfit, be it a well-worn tee and jeans or a suit with a white shirt that is unbuttoned mid-chest. The versatility of these sunglasses lends them to all sorts of fashion persuasions. You can be wearing something formal or you can be rocking army fatigues and still look, for lack of a better word, cool. For his eponymous collection, Tom Ford has tortoise shell aviators (2) in dark Havana with brown-tinted lenses and a cut out on the bridge. They are vintage-inspired and remind me of the style worn by the original members of the jet set. As with all Ford's glasses, they have the stealth T logo on the temple.
Aviators also don't discriminate against face shapes and hairstyles. Whether your mug is round and showing early signs of sagging or angular like a Roman sculpture, whether you are sporting dreads or are follically challenged, aviators are your fail-safe option. Plus, they never go out of style. They transcend time and trends.
Ermenegildo Zegna knows this, which is why it decided to celebrate its 100th anniversary with a pair of aviator sunglasses in perhaps the truest and most original shape. Called The Centennial Aviator, they have a metal rim with slightly rounder lenses. The frame is in a shade of rose gold. 'Ermenegildo Zegna 1910-2010' is inscribed on the arms.
Prada's aviators (3) are infused with more modern elements. The shape of the lens is less round and more square and tinted in a dark greyish-green colour. The frame is completely in tortoise. What I like about this pair is that they reclaim the aviator sunglasses from frat guys and keg parties and bring them back into the realm of fashion. I almost stopped wearing aviators two summers ago because everywhere I looked there were groups of college guys sporting aviators with popped collar Lacoste shirts and affectedly angled ball caps. I don't think members of Pi Delta or Kappa Gamma, or whatever Greek letter combinations exists, would go anywhere near this pair from Prada because these are just way too chic for pedestrian frat boy taste.
At Tod's and Hogan, the aviator glasses were produced in all sorts of shapes, sizes and materials. There are acetate and wire-rimmed versions at Tod's which would suit just about everyone, be they driving Maseratis or riding BMW motorcycles. I especially like the wire-rimmed versions that are partially covered with sand-coloured leather. They remind me of the rich and plush interiors of the mega yacht of Tod's owner, Diego Della Valle.
Hogan's sunglasses are hip and urban and true to the spirit of the label. There are plastic pairs with exaggerated frames outlined by metal (1), which would please the likes of Parrell and Kanye West. There are also more streamlined and less attention-grabbing styles. The men's sunglasses come in black and dark brown with heavily tinted lenses. There's an H logo, much like the one on their best-selling sneakers, in metal at the tip of the arms. It's tiny but it doesn't go unnoticed. There are 10 styles to choose from, all inspired by the aviator.
If you are camping overnight for the 8am opening of H&M for the launch of their collaboration with Lanvin tomorrow, be sure to grab a few pairs of the men's black plastic sunglasses that are a cross between aviators and wayfarers. It's not every day you can purchase stylish sunglasses for next to nothing.
Ermenegildo Zegna. IFC Mall, Central, tel: 22950828
H&M Elements Mall, Kowloon, tel: 2196 8391
Hogan, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 0181
Prada, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2522 2989
Tod's, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2810 8692
Tom Ford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2234 7802