Meet Karen Walker: The Designer Behind Our Favorite Summer Sunglasses
The following is a guest post from our friends at The Chalkboard by Pressed Juicery.
We recently met the amazing designer behind cult-sunglasses line Karen Walker atop the city at the legendary Chateau Marmont’s penthouse. We were there to preview her incredible new collection of sunnies and shades, and not only did we get to check out the coolest sunnies you’ll be obsessed with this summer, we were also able to sit down for a chat with this designing woman about her business, style and what influences her most.
Chalkboard: Karen, your eyewear has been seen on the some of the coolest style-makers out there. Did you expect your frames to become such an obsession for Hollywood? Who was the first to wear them?
Karen Walker: From the start, we wanted to create a line in which every piece was a stand-out design. Nothing boring! Even the simple pairs are a little flatter, a little chunkier, a little squarer or a little brighter than one might at first expect. They’ve been embraced by so many people – stylists, celebs and civilians alike – and we love to see them being worn on all these folks. The first celebs to embrace them though included Beth Ditto, Florence Welch, Rihanna and Sean Lennon.
This is your seventh season of sunglasses. How do you decide what will influence the new season of sunnies?
It’s part instinct, part relating back to the apparel and part reacting to the gaps in my own collection. It’s been about big? Let’s go small. The last few seasons have been about round? Let’s go square. We’re going big with gold on the runway in New York? Let’s have eyewear to match. Never had a pair of bright lolly pink sunglasses before? Let’s do some now.
Overall, what would you say is your biggest influence? Do you take a cue from the fall and spring shows or try and stay independent from that?
Given we show at the shows in NY every season and have done for 20 seasons, we of course consider what we’re showing on our own runway quite crucially and work the eyewear design to fit with that.
Beyond sunglasses, what are some of your favorite fashion brands?
Well, obviously I wear a lot of Karen Walker clothes, but I also buy from other designers whose work I like. This season’s purchases so far have been mainly from the old favorites: Balenciaga, Marni, Prada and Miu Miu.
Favorites sunglasses of all time?
Karen Walker Hectors in any color.
You strike a pretty fashionable figure. What is your go-to outfit?
This season it’s our navy and cream houndstooth silk dress (look #25 in our spring summer show in NY last September) with our tan and gold heels from the same season.
Any tips or tricks up your sleeve for wearing or keeping sunglasses in perfect condition?
I’m a little naughty and leave mine lying around out of their cases in drawers, cars, handbags and on desks, so I’m a bad one to ask. I’m much rougher with them than I should be, but they seem to stand up to an awful lot of wear-and-tear.
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