Monday, July 14, 2008

Eye Sigh


I have a tale of sunglass woe. When I left Canada in 1990 for graduate school in the States, with me were my new Christian Roth sunglasses, probably the most pricey accessory I had purchased to date.

I’d entered an Ottawa eyeglass shop on a lark, and the bronze metal Roth glasses had me at hello, if you’ll pardon the cheesy movie reference.

I paid more than a month’s rent for them, but the price was worth it: these sunglasses complemented my summer skin tone (golden-y bronze from growing up on a beach), my dark blonde hair, my dark flax-y linen Jaeger suit. Reader, I would have married them if I could have.

During my first summer in grad school, as I wasn’t a U.S. citizen, federal law dictated that I had to find a job on campus, so I worked in the costume department of the music program, sewing up leather vests and arm casings for the large Icelandic singer in our university’s opera, and the like. I also worked front of house for performances.

One evening a troupe of high school kids booked the theatre for a workshop. I put down my sunglasses in the green room washroom while I washed my hands, left the room, remembered my glasses, and returned to an empty sink. Gone forever!

So between tears, I called up Joel Name, the wonderful NYC eyeglass shop, in its “old” location, right where the Village meets SoHo at Houston. The proprietor shipped me an almost identical pair—a little more almond shaped, but the exact same bronzy metal. I felt complete again.

And I wore those sunglasses for fourteen years.

Two summers ago, while vacationing on the Cape, I fell down a flight of stairs at the Canterbury leather shop, spraining my ankle (oh, the swelling!) and crushing my glasses which were in my hand. They were beyond repair.

I haven’t been able to replace them. My philosophy is always to buy a timeless article of the best quality and then to keep that item for infinity. But I haven’t found something comparable to those perfect Christian Roth sunglasses.

For the time being I wear a simple pair of Lulu Guinness's glamourous shades (think Annette Bening wearing Oliver Peoples circa 1992 in Vanity Fair, channeling Old Hollywood), but I don’t love them and would not be sad to lose them.

What to do? Does anyone have a super-beloved pair of sunglasses? If not, what’s your dream pair?

14 comments:

Miss White said...

Oh dear, I hope you manage to find something to replace them one day.

I have a pair of Chanel sunglasses that cost me far more than I could afford but they suit my little face, which is a rare thing for me. This is their third summer now and I'd be devastated if I lost or broke them!

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

what a terrible way to lose a pair of glasses! not only were you injured, but you also destroyed your favorite pair of sunnies??? my boyfriend broke a lens of his oliver people's aviators and he went back to the store to get it replaced (ended up costing an arm and a leg). i would think about what you loved most about your glasses and then search for a similar (less expensive) pair.

WendyB said...

At least they had a long and happy life with you.

Times of Glory said...

The story reminds a pen of mine. I can really understand how you feel! Yes, I totally agree. It may be a bit over limit at that time, but it will always look timeless and the end of day it is actually much cheaper and more stylish compared to keeping buying a new pair that you are not so fond of!

It's strange that I'm still looking for a timeless pair! I have my Oliver Peoples! They are great, but not as ideal as I wish! Hopefully, both you and I can find the dream pairs xxxxxxx

riz said...

That's an amazing campus job you had there missy! I wish I could have worked such great 1st jobs...

l'air du temps said...

hello Miss Cavendish, i've been peeking in on your blog now for a few months. since time has passed i can't remember how i discovered your pretty blog space...

i love the idea of having a pair of sunglasses that one loves. i usually buy a pair that i like, but your post has inspired in me the idea of buying a pair i love.

sorry you lost your beloved sunglasses. i hope you can find a pair you equally love in a different way for different reasons...

Imelda Matt said...

I feel your pain...I have a big Lady O type head and finding glasses that cover my eyebrows is a challenge. So when i found my vintage 70's porn star glasses (to match the mo I was sporting) I was in sartorial heaven. They lived on my face for 5 years (the longest) before the arm broke and I was told they were un repairable. So I stuck them together with tape and worn them for another 12 months before the other arm fell off.

Let me tell you, life hasn't been the same since!

enc said...

I'm so sorry to hear these tales of woe! Tumbles down staircases! Broken, lost sunglasses, oh boy.

I had a pair of my dad's Ray Bans from the '60s. No one else had them. They were SO VERY cool. I wore them and wore them, then stored them, in their leather and wood case. After awhile, they began to corrode. There was no saving them. That was sad. I've never found anything I liked as much since.

I don't think I'll try.

Petersens said...

YAY! I found your blog through one of your comments on the Sartorialist. Thank you for providing a fabulous addition to my "While my baby naps" collection of blogs to browse and enjoy. I love your take on fashion. As a former Literature major and a lover of all things art, I love your thoughts!

miss cavendish said...

Thanks for all your comments, everyone. I'm a little swamped at the moment, so please excuse this "umbrella" response. And welcome to the two new readers!

Mary-Laure said...

Reader, I would have married them if I could have.

LOL

I love my Aviator Ray Bans because they remind me of my grandfather, a navy pilot who had the same ones.

Eyeoneye said...

by the way they opened online store for Christian Roth sunglasses: Here

Ophira said...

Hello, there! I'm an Ottawa resident, and I'd like to inquire which store (if you can remember the name or the location) sold you these fabulous glasses. I'm looking for a nice pair of prescription lenses myself...

miss cavendish said...

Ophira,

This was almost 19 years ago(!) but it was an optical shop on Sparks Street, closer to the Hill than to Bank St.