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Ron King: The “It” Sunglasses

by The Style King/Ron King on Monday, July 12, 2010

ron king

Ron King has worked as a hairstylist, transforming people’s appearances, for more than 20 years. With a growing celebrity clientele, King travels the world taking inspiration from different cultures and countries. Along the way, he has developed his own “easy wear” style philosophy which plays up a woman’s natural hair texture and pairs it with natural-looking makeup that’s easy to apply. This mantra led him to launch a signature line of cosmetics for women who want to look pulled together but who are are short on time. King has worked with some of the most respected names in the industry, including L’Oreal Professional, Ted Gibson, Eva Scrivo and Rick Wellman.

As stylists, we take inspiration from all different things, and lately I’ve been referencing a lot of retro looks. Lots of amazing and classic things came out of the 1950s … Prim sweater sets, classic Elvis and…. great eyewear? Yup, it’s true. The sunglasses of this summer are the nostalgic cat eye frames of yesteryear made popular by Hollywood luminaries at the time like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly who sported non-tinted versions. The specs of the past were often decorated with rhinestones and kept in a fairly neutral color palette of black and, brown, but the current craze for the cat eye look is interpreted in bolder, more pronounced shapes, thicker frames and, occasionally, bright colors. Cat eye sunnies were trotted out on spring/summer runways as diverse as Giles Deacon, Sonia Rykiel and perhaps most tellingly, on design wunderkind Alexander Wang and quirky mainstay Prada. Soon, hip models were parading the shades off-duty and faster than you could blink an eye, so were starlets like Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie and the Olsen twins.

Many designers have come out with their own style of the cat eye and the result is mostly positive. Dior’s subtle (also in the collage) take is perfect for the more subdued stylista while Betsey Johnson sticks to her rock n’ roll take on fashion and goes for fab and outlandish shades. There are also more affordable styles out there such as British retailer Aso’s cool pair and Fossil’s gentler take on the trend.


The cat eye phenomenon is not only completely of the moment, it’s also wildly flattering. The high, pointed edges of the frames visually lift the face making you look younger, higher-cheek-boned and, of course, more glamorous. I’m a big proponent of cat eye specs also because they look new and fresh despite their storied history and add that fashionable je ne sais quoi to any ensemble. Wang’s futuristic glasses and Prada’s colorful pairs paired with pigtails, on the runway and in eye-catching ads like the one posted here, are the perfect contemporary twist on a classic trend. I suggest wearing the look while attired in timeless looks in plain neutral colors, leaving the glasses to take center stage. Just take a look at Scarlett Johanssen recently all dolled up at an event for inspiration. I made a collage of my favorite different types of cat eyes available in all price and style ranges, below, that’ll make you purr with satisfaction, including one non-tinted pair for those who rock specs appeal even when they’re not in the sun. Picks include shades from the aforementioned Alexander Wang, Tom Ford, Marc by Marc Jacobs, popular online retailer net-a-porter and colorful and irreverent Brooklyn-based retailer Fred Flare that are so cute they more than justify their mere $11 price tag (they actually have several cute pairs of cat eye sunglasses for peanuts).

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