Look-at-me designer sunglasses have long been de rigueur in Hollywood, where the sun and the flash of paparazzi cameras shine bright.
The latest "it" sunglasses, launching for winter, up the fashion ante even more with super-luxurious details and limited-edition runs. Karl Lagerfeld introduces the Chanel Eyewear Prestige Collection this month, with 18-karat yellow or white gold lenses as its signature. And only 30 people in the world will have the privilege of purchasing a $23,000 version of Cartier's iconic aviator sunglasses crafted of solid 18-karat gold with leather trim. Just don't absentmindedly leave them at the ski lodge.
"Sunglasses are like wearing a piece of jewelry," says Los Angeles-based decorator and designer Kelly Wearstler. "They're a cool fashion accessory and they're a necessity.... People are even wearing them at night, I see."
An avid sunglasses collector since high school, Wearstler fesses up to owning about 80 pairs. She recently teamed with French eyewear designer Thierry Lasry to customize one of his classic cat-eye frames with her trademark marble detailing and perforated gold packaging; only 1,000 pairs were produced.
"Sunglasses are becoming more and more interesting artistically, so they enable you to express more and more aspects of who you are," adds Lasry. "While they were [more] neutral in the past, [now sunglasses] tend to become the star accessory."
Local brand Chrome Hearts — known for its rock 'n' roll sensibility, high-profile clients and low-key approach to publicity — has introduced sparkly, star-shaped sunglasses, which may be the ultimate Hollywood extra.
Clearly different Thierry Lasry x Kelly Wearstler limited-edition Anorexxxy acetate sunglasses with gold and marble detailing, available in four colors and produced in a limited edition of 1,000 pairs, come packaged in perforated gold cases; $555 at the Kelly Wearstler boutique in West Hollywood, (323) 895-7880.
Animal allure Carrera by Jimmy Choo limited-edition leopard-print sunglasses with 14-karat gold lenses, $1,000 at Solstice in Arcadia, (626) 254-0600; Jimmy Choo at Beverly Center in West Hollywood, (310) 855-9538; and http://www.jimmychoo.com.
Eye-conic Gucci Iconic bamboo-trim aviator sunglasses with gold-plated frames and 24-karat gold mirrored lenses, $1,195 at the Gucci boutique in Beverly Hills, (310) 278-3451, and Solstice in Century City, (310) 282-7160.
Made in the shade Cartier's classic Vendome aviator sunglasses in solid 18-karat yellow gold and leather with anti-reflective polarized lenses, produced in a limited-edition of 30 pieces worldwide; $23,900 at Cartier in Beverly Hills, (310) 275-4272.
Golden eye Chanel Prestige Black & Gold cat-eye sunglasses with18-karat white or yellow gold-infused lenses; $550 at the Chanel boutique in Beverly Hills, (310) 278-5500.
Star status Chrome Hearts star-shaped burgundy metallic Stitch sunglasses in sterling silver and acetate; also in black, purple metallic and silver metallic; $695 at the Chrome Hearts boutique in West Hollywood, (310) 854-9800.
[For the record, 11:12 a.m. PST Nov. 25: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said only 500 pairs of Thierry Lasry x Kelly Wearstler Anorexxxy acetate sunglasses were produced. Actually, 1,000 pairs were produced.]