Beau Ideal: Have You Seen These Glasses?

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yellow-tortoise

As the advertiser is wont to say, ‘there are some things that money can’t buy.’ When I bought my beloved dark tortoiseshell Wayfarers from Ray-Ban, I had conducted a parallel search for another pair of Wayfarers; the yellow tortoise. Enquiries in even the most vaunted of department stores, including ‘the world’s best department store’ Selfridges & Co, led to embarrassed smiles from staff, furtive gazing at computer screens and the inevitable comments and excuses; ‘current season’, ‘all stock is out’ as well as a feeble attempt at placating an unsatisfied customer with a pair of rather childish bright yellow frames. The conclusion? No money in the world could buy the glasses that I knew had certainly existed but were, for some reason, no longer available.

The idea of the yellow tortoise frames first appealed to me when I watched the splendidly costumed Catch Me If You Can, when a slick-haired Leonardo DiCaprio lurked in a motor car outside an airport wearing a short-sleeved button-down sky blue shirt and a pair of Wayfarer-shaped sunnies in yellowy-tortoise.

Though I have always been a fan of the dark-tortoise Wayfarer, the yellow were happier, more fun. They had a distinctly vintage appeal, reminiscent not only of the original 1950s frames but also the round-frame lenses worn by colonials in Egypt. Though I reasoned that the darker tortoise frames were more versatile – think ‘pool to premiere’ – the yellow were distinctly a daytime, casual frame.

After thousands of searches on eBay and Google, I found a pair of frames in the classic Wayfarer shape at Revolve Clothing that happened to be, painfully, out of stock. The style corresponded closely to that which I had previously seen on a gentleman dashing quickly through the Regent Street crowds one sunny afternoon last year, so I was convinced I had found the pair but, due to the lack of available stock, the ‘beau ideal’ was unachievable. Even the Vintage Frames Shop, recommended by my close friend Barima, offered nothing.

The likelihood was that the glasses were out of production; Luxottica had pulled the plug. The problem was that the paucity of results in the second-hand market clearly indicated they were dearly cherished: something I both hated and admired in the same transient thought.

Disappointingly, an enquiry email to Luxottica did not even generate a default reply. Though initially surprised, dispirited and deflated I have not given up in the search. After all, the hardest won prize is often the most treasured.


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Winston Chesterfield is an amateur composer, fashion blogger, trained lawyer and style aficionado. He lives in Westminster, London and blogs at www.levraiwinston.com.

Comments

  1. ray castro says:

    someone in Hollywood must have a pair. Try calling Mr. DeCaprio.

  2. VanZ says:

    Not sure if you’ve seen them before, but if you haven’t:

    http://www.mrmuddandmrgold.com/en/brands/anglo-american-optical/

  3. David says:
  4. Jakub Nowakowski says:

    I ave ones very similar to Leonardo Di Caprio’s, though they are less Wayfarer’y. Mine are rather orange and I fitted them with lenses that are sort of orange-brown but it doesn’t look good. I’m gonna go for darker lenses, in my opinion they look much better in light frames.

    Anyway, I bought mine in Glasses Museum in Amsterdam and they have a huge selection of vintage glasses, so if you happen to be there it’s definitely worth visiting. Also try Mykita and Cutler&Gross they may have such frames. Wayfarers are a little bit banal.

  5. Adam Ratani says:

    I prefer Persol to Rayban, I have just ordered myself a pair of 2747′s in Tortoise.
    http://www.persol.com/UK/collections/sun/PO2747S/95-48#b

  6. Adam Ratani says:

    Oh and give Adam Simmonds a try. They are a great opticians in Primrose Hill. Perhaps they might be able to help you source them.
    http://www.adamsimmonds.co.uk/