March 27 2010
A cautionary tale of style and service. I had rather lost interest in sunglasses since, with a few honourable exceptions, most designer brands now get theirs made by one of three big companies, so the industry is more about overall seasonal trends with house logos attached than real individuality. They’re an expensive habit, too (I lose more sunglasses than politicians do moral compasses), which means that vintage buys, or mid-market classics such as Ray-bans, seem a better deal.
But then I fell in love with a new design by John Galliano which is a thing of real beauty – fashionably large to cover a multitude of sins but soft enough in shaded colour to be flattering. And although these Biche sunspecs are made by one of those aforementioned big three manufacturers, they are nevertheless as quirky as one might expect from one of fashion’s great idiosyncrasists. The prettily fretted sides (apparently inspired by flamenco dancers’ tortoiseshell peineta combs) stop short of being over-ornate, and the glasses are large enough not to get mislaid. They did great service in a freezing but sunny Paris, where the late-winter uniform seemed to be a fur coat, big sunglasses and strappy Louboutins. Back in damp, grey Britain I didn’t need them, so several days passed before I realised that my lovely new £219 sunnies were – er – missing.
Eventually I remembered that, because they were overlarge for my handbag, I had put them in an open tote bag which I had heaved on to the overhead luggage shelf of the Eurostar train. Passing through the St Pancras terminal a week later I enquired, without much hope, about lost property. The voice on the phone told me, after just a few minutes’ searching, that she indeed had my glasses and, as I couldn’t go back through passport control, she would bring them to the platform. Eurostar may occasionally lose passengers for hours in the tunnel but when it comes to reuniting customers with precious items its service is exemplary.
So now I have a choice: either get a smaller pair or, the more likely option given how much I love these glasses, a bigger handbag. Plus one of those deeply unchic glasses thongs – to tether the sunnies to the bag when they’re not on my nose.