Sunglasses: Anna-Karin Karlsson Photography: Lottie Anderson
As we know, personal style is all about self expression, and self expression for me involves elegance served with a big dose of quirk. I like a classic black cocktail dress, but messed up a bit with an obnoxious faux fur monster bag. Back in my corporate days, I wore the compulsory black suits, but would also wear a really outrageous handbag, or a pair of shocking-pink suede shoes… anything to inject some personality and fun into a sombre work outfit. I always like something I’m wearing to be unexpected, or just a little ‘off.’
So, when I ran across the Swedish sunglasses designer, Anna-Karin Karlsson, I thought I had died and gone to sunglasses heaven. She is a master at combining sophistication and quirkiness. I want every pair she’s ever made (I’ve looked through Google images, to make sure I’m not missing any of her design history). I mean, these below (called Alice Goes To Cannes) from a previous collection in 2013 have my name written all over them. I’m going to track them down if it kills me. Iridescent baguette-shaped glitter! I’m sweating just thinking about how much I need these (edited to add: I got them!). She still does this shape, just in different finishes now.
Or how about these (called Trouble Comes To Town)? I often wear my sunglasses on top of my head since London weather goes sun/cloud/sun/cloud/sun/cloud in the space of a half hour, and these make that habit so much more interesting! Leopard print (a neutral) kitten eared sunglasses. Meow.
But for now, these are completely rocking my world (they’re called Rose et La Mer, “It’s a celebration of my sister Rose and of the time that I helped her escape from the Albanian mob to the south of France,” says Karlsson)(That’s a story I’d like to hear the rest of!). A GLITTER LEOPARD, reposing atop a white frame. I love them. I never knew how much I needed a pair of white sunglasses with a glitter leopard on them until I had them. If you put Grace Kelly and Iris Apfel in a blender, you’d get something like these glasses.
Anyway, go look at Anna-Karin Karlsson’s website. I dare you not to fall in love with at least one pair. I totally get that if you live in suburbia these sunglasses might not be quite your thing, but I’m grateful to live in a city like London where bonkers style is not only accepted but encouraged.
While I was poring over all the Google image searches of her previous collections, I found a few interviews with Anna-Karin (<—we’re on a first name basis already, see) where she says exactly what I think, namely:
“My collection is filled with glitz and glamour; perhaps it is shallow, but it is the one thing that keeps you afloat.”
“Nothing brings instant glamour like a pair of gorgeous sunglasses so it makes the rougher days so much easier.”
“Fashion to me is freedom. That is, you like yourself, you can wear anything no matter of other people’s opinion. So worst dressed lists and the opinion that women should dress their age makes me sad. We need to celebrate women, people, and life, and not suppress.”
Amen, sister. What do you think of her sunglasses? Would you wear them?