Some of us need to wear glasses. We don’t get on with contact lenses, find the idea of laser surgery too risky or live with an eye condition that still makes the ancient remedy of spectacles the best solution.
Fortunately, traditional stigmas about specs are now pretty much a historic curiosity for the Facebook generation. During the 1980s the questionable charms of spectacles were reinvented. Hipsters dragged out vintage 1950s Ray Ban Wayfarer frames fitted with prescription lenses and pop icons like Morrissey embraced the medical aesthetic of NHS prescription frames. By the time 1990s’ geek chic hit – an inevitability of the “caring 90s” self-image and high-profile computing whiz kids – we saw the curious phenomenon of people with no need of glasses buying fashionable frames fitted with transparent lenses. Yep, the traditional negative stereotypes about people wearing specs died a long time ago.
Today optics and mainstream fashion have never been closer allies. Fashion brands and the optical industry just can’t seem to get enough of new collaborations that result in yet another licensed eyewear range. Practically every established fashion brand now has – or at least considers– adding an eyewear range to its armoury.
Hardy Amies Blake eyewear frame; available in various colours.
There are pros and cons to this reality. On the positive side there has never been more choice for consumers, comforting if you really need glasses. Our faces are, well, our faces. They are what the world usually notices first and, as most animal behaviourists will tell you, communication relies on observing faces. Not only does it make it easier to understand the words coming out our mouths, but there’s all those important non-verbal signals we take in and process without even consciously thinking about them. So hardly stupid if you care about what sits smack in the middle of your human canvas as you go about your daily life.
Bearing all this in mind, Hardy Amies offers an excellent choice of men’s eyewear. The iconic Savile Row house is currently riding a wave of renewed visibility and popularity with the right people, primarily due to a timely reinvigoration. Anyone who wants something bold and definitive can find it in what they offer. Yet there are also plenty of excellent designs that walk a thoughtful line between the highly contemporary and classical English sartorial elegance that first put Hardy Amies on the map.
If much of the last decade has been about responding to what the fashion kids desired from the 1980s – in form and colour – then the evolution of the current collection might almost bear out the simplistic belief that fashion goes in cycles. Just as previous collections attested to a clunky and chunky aesthetic that harks back to the 1950s via the 1980s, the current collection takes directions that are reminiscent of the 1950s segueing into a more elegant, streamlined 1960s, informed by possibilities of new production methods, both then and now.
Hardy Amies Calvert eyewear frame; available in various colours.
The streamlined, rimless line of the Calvert model is reminiscent of the early days of Tricky Dicky – did I hear anyone mention Mad Men?- and is more sixties FBI agent than 1950s’ rock ‘n roll clunk. Or, the subtle, rounded lines of the Wilson model have more of a mood of a sexy spy in early Berlin Wall-era Germany than they do of Buddy Holly. And contemporary production possibilities – such as credible transparency– are offered in a number of models.
Hardy Amies was there; a brand that dressed gentlemen from cinema’s post-War heyday. You could do far worse than afford your eyes the same privilege.
Hardy Amies Wilson eyewear frame; available in various colours.