eyewear

Baleen Designer Maria Bulanda Sees Sunglasses as Architecture on the Face

Baleen Designer Maria Bulanda Sees Sunglasses as Architecture on the Face

If you’d asked Polish designer Maria Bulanda what she’d be working on when she grew up, she might have said furniture, visual identities or even buildings.
But sunglasses? Unlikely.

Not only that but by the time she launched her eyewear label Baleen, the 35-year-old mother of two already had her plate full, working as a graphic designer as well as a costume designer in Poland’s thriving film industry.

While the idea of launching a project of her own had long germinated in her mind, she hesitated over what shape it would take. By then, furniture was no longer a field she was keen to pursue. Neither were clothes, an obvious choice after working extensively on film wardrobes.

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“I [handled] so many clothes every day of my life and we have so many already in the world that I didn’t want to add my pieces of fabric to the industry,” recalled Bulanda.

A trip to Rome after the birth of her first child in 2016 provided her with just the thing: eyewear.

While exploring the city, she happened upon a small antiques store, where she spotted “these beautiful, beautiful vintage glasses.” She was struck by the mere existence of this “item made long ago that was still here, in good condition,” contrasting with “the garbage we put into the world, into nature, [which] really bothered me, especially as I’d become a mother,” she said.

Once she had her sights set on sunglasses, she chose the name Baleen as a manifesto of sorts.

“I wanted to put the attention on responsible consumption and the sustainability of the production process” by referring to whalebones, a natural material used in eyewear and valued for its durability and flexibility in the 19th century, she explained, quick to add that she was glad technological advances and the protection of whales made using her brand’s namesake unnecessary.  

Her initial intention was to strike a balance between easy-to-love classics and bold designs, working with minimal material waste in mind for products and packaging. The “wow” factor in Baleen eyewear turned out to be her architectural culture — Bulanda is the daughter, niece and granddaughter of noted Polish architects.

“Sunglasses are the perfect combination of the two worlds, from my childhood [to] my life now,” she said, comparing the structure of a building with eyewear frames and pointing out the importance of this accessory in an outfit.

Baleen founder Maria Bulanda.

Courtesy

“And when you put the lenses in, you see the world completely differently,” she added.

But it would take her another four years — with the COVID-19 pandemic and the birth of her second child thrown in — before the first models of Baleen hit the shelves in August 2020. Good thing she “never wanted to make a collection which would be fashionable,” she said, hoping her designs hit the right mix of striking and timeless.

Acetate turned out to be the first challenge Bulanda faced. “I knew how to deal with fabrics as a costume designer but acetate is totally different,” she admitted, explaining that she’d been surprised by the four-to-six-month process and number of steps it involved, compared to the quick turnaround between the design of a costume and its execution.

Baleen’s first collection soon found traction through e-commerce. According to Bulanda, her main markets are currently Poland and the United States, where she also sells through Los Angeles-based multi-brand boutique Teller, in Culver City.

Though inspired by buildings, don’t expect to wear a replica of the Guggenheim Museum or San Francisco’s De Young museum on your face.

“It’s not like I have my list of favorite architects and their buildings to turn into glasses,” she said. “It can be a shape from it, or I will be trying to catch how light shows up on the façade.”

Take the Zaha Hadid-designed Messner Mountain Museum in Bolzano, Italy. Bulanda transcribed her impression that its monumental windows had been carved inwards into the rocky formations through a rectangular beveled frame.

The lenses too are part of her evocation of these landmarks and are chosen to match the lighting conditions. “The light in Brazil will be totally different than it is on top of a mountain in Bolzano, so wearing these glasses, you can feel a little bit [of] these places,” she continued. 

The Baleen Quatre Carreres model is inspired by the district of the same name in the Spanish city of Valencia and the work of architect Santiago Calatrava.

The label now offers seven models, in four colorways, all produced in France and Italy. An eighth model is set to launch at the end of 2022 and will be Bulanda’s first titanium design. “I wanted to do metal frames because actually it is also how it all began with the sunglasses [I found] in Rome,” she said.

While keen to expand the brand’s retail footprint, Bulanda is adamant that partners share her vision of eyewear as wearable art objects, rather than accessories. “What I see is that people don’t appreciate the work that has been done to produce [each pair],” she said, recalling how she recently saw glasses smeared with fingerprints in the flagship of a famous brand. “I would like to show [them] like pieces of art, not because of me but in appreciation of the manufacturers and all the people who worked on them.”

For its first physical retail location, Baleen temporarily set up shop in an art gallery on Mokotowska street, a shopping thoroughfare in downtown Warsaw, an area dotted with small boutiques and charming spots. It has since moved to its permanent home farther down the same street.

In this slow and steady approach, Bulanda is supported by her brother Maciej Bulanda and life partner Tadeusz Śliwa, a film director. Both are lightly involved with the brand, keeping separate careers.

As for the architects in the family — grandfather Konrad Kucza-Kuczynski, uncle Jan Kucza-Kuczynski and father Andrzej Bulanda — they’re serving as a design sounding board.

“They are actually even fighting [over] whose buildings were supposed to be an inspiration for me as they both have different [tastes],” she said with a laugh, noting how these intense debates now felt thrilling, after a childhood spent dreading how conversations would invariably turn to architecture at every family meal.

But there is one point she and her grandfather won’t see eye to eye on: her favorite architect.

A self-proclaimed minimalist, Bulanda named Zaha Hadid as her top choice but admitted that “you definitely cannot put [the late architect] in that box,” which prompted the elder Kucza-Kuczynski to reel off other names, like Le Corbusier.

There is another reason why Hadid deserves all Bulanda’s admiration. “She was unbelievable, especially in this men’s world. She was fighting for her dreams and her ideas [which] are light years ahead,” she added, drawing a parallel with the struggle of female creatives across many fields.

The 20 Best Women’s Sunglasses for Every Face Shape

The 20 Best Women’s Sunglasses for Every Face Shape

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When refreshing your wardrobe for summer, pieces like breezy dresses and pants, cute summer sandals and a few bikinis or one-pieces from the best swimsuit brands are likely the first items you think to invest in. But don’t forget about the details. Alongside a stunning designer beach bag that will carry all your shoreside essentials, you’ll want a pair of the best sunglasses for women in your arsenal for nearly every occasion — from running errands to heading on vacation and perhaps clocking in miles while you pound the pavement.
Not only can shades add extra flair to your look, but they’re also crucial for keeping those pretty peepers protected. “The health of our eyes has a huge impact on our daily lives, and there are steps every person should be taking to ensure that they maintain good eye health throughout their lifetime,” explains Maddie Anderson, senior marketing manager of California-based eyewear brand SPY+. “Investing in quality eyewear is a great first step.”

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While shopping for the perfect pair of women’s sunglasses, there are a few key considerations and to-dos to keep top of mind. First, do you want a classic or trendy silhouette? Also, shop styles for your face shape to ensure the most flattering fit and always choose pairs with UV protection.
Top sunglass trends for 2022
With nostalgia dominating across every fashion category, this season is all about frames that reference decades past.
“We’ve been seeing the continuation of retro square, aviator and cat eye frames, as well as a ’70s revival with oversized and colored lenses,” says Claire Sheldon, a buyer for beauty, fragrances, sunglasses and hair accessories at Bergdorf Goodman. For a more modern take, brands like Eudon Choi and Giambattista Valli have updated the timeless cat eye silhouette for 2022 with features like dramatic edges and larger fits.
She also notes ’90s-esque oval shades are experiencing a resurgence, with supermodels like Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber consistently reaching for monochromatic looks.
Indy sunglasses founder Indie McFarlane echoes these sentiments. “I’ve been seeing a lot of vintage-inspired sunglasses with a contemporary twist, which is what my brand specializes in,” she says. “My customers definitely gravitate towards my colored styles, and many celebrity stylists have been requesting our checker-print Dolly frame and tinted aviators, which are great for adding a pop of color to neutral outfits and wearing year-round.”
Other hot ticket silhouettes this season? Sporty-chic pairs for performance and/or play (the Kardashian-Jenners are notably fans of dad-esque shield shades) and Y2K-inspired rimless styles championed by stars like Dua Lipa and countless brands including Urban Outfitters, Diff Eyewear and Quay.
Many of today’s top sunglasses have also become more gender-neutral, notes McFarlane, making them able to suit every style. “For example, my Hugo frame is inspired by the retro aviators of the 1980s and can be worn by anyone,” McFarlane suggests.
Top Sunglasses for Women
How to choose the best sunglasses for your face shape
To determine your face shape, Covry eyewear founders Athina Wang and Florence Shin recommend taking a selfie and drawing an outline around your visage. If you’re unsure which face shape you have, both women note that it’s also very common to be in between two face shapes. Indy also offers an easy illustrated guide to finding your face shape and different looks that may suit it.

Square faces: These face types have a strong jawline and broad forehead. Round or oval-shaped frames will help soften the sharpness of square faces, McFarlane says. Aviators are a great option, and cat eye sunglasses with rounded edges can work for those who love the throwback look.
Oval faces: These are typically long and thin and have a chin that’s slightly narrower than the forehead. People with oval faces have the most variety when shopping for sunglasses, as both rounded and square frames will work well for them. “Just make sure they fit snug and frame the widest part of your face, since oval shapes have nearly equal proportions,” McFarlane notes.
Round faces: Those with round faces typically have a soft jawline, and their cheekbones and face length measure roughly the same. “Rectangular and square frames are the best sunglasses for round faces,” McFarlane says. “Frames that are wider than the face add more balance to your soft features. They enhance your visage and can make it appear longer and more slender.” Wang and Shin add that angled details will also offer nice balance.
Heart-shaped: Defined by a wider forehead and narrow chin, heart-shaped faces look best with rectangular or oval frames that are wider at the top, such as aviators and cat eye shapes. “These balance out your facial features and make your lower face a little wider,” McFarlane explains. “These can also help emphasize high cheekbones and a defined jaw.” Additionally, Wang and Shin share that heart face shapes look great in frames that feature more detail at the top to help draw the eye upward.
Rectangular faces: These tend to have defined features such as wider cheekbones. Like square faces, they’re best complemented by round or oval frames or styles with curved, soft edges that create visual balance. McFarlane suggests choosing top-heavy frames like aviators with a double nose bridge or cat eye shapes to highlight wide cheekbones.
Diamond faces: Diamond faces are long with wide cheekbones and a more narrow jawline and forehead. Both oval and cat eye sunglasses are ideal for these face types, as “the gentler edge of the frame will match with the natural features/points of this face shape,” McFarlane says. She mentions that aviators and small, round sunglasses are also great choices.
Another rule of thumb? Be sure to choose frames that are proportionate to your face size. The larger your face is, the larger your frames should be. Meanwhile, people with small faces should choose more fitted sunglasses. When buying online, seek out sites with virtual try-on services and look at the dimensions of the frames or customer reviews to see if they might be suitable for you.

Keep in mind that your sunglasses shouldn’t rest on your cheeks when you smile and should sit securely on your nose bridge even as you move (you can shake your head back and forth during try-on to test this).
Ahead, shop the best sunglasses for women for every need and budget. Note: All offer full UV protection.
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Indy Talk to Me Nice Sunglasses
Best Statement Frames
UV400 protection
Anti-glare
Impact-resistant
“The Indy community definitely embraces designs that are a little different and ahead of the trends, so I am always trying to take eyewear to the next level and think of the next best thing,” McFarlane says, who founded her eponymous Brooklyn-based sunglasses label in 2017. “And I love that these sunglasses, in particular, are a fun and accessible way to express your personality.” The sleek rectangular frames are great for round, oval or heart-shaped faces and feature subtle gold text for a surefire Insta-ready look. The budget-friendly frames also offer UV and anti-glare protection and are designed to be impact- resistant (although this writer did notice that the text does wear away easily with touch.)
What reviewers say: “I’m obsessed with these; super good quality and great design. I highly recommend them.”

Courtesy of Indy

Indy Talk to Me Nice Sunglasses

$65

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Quay on the Fly Sunglasses
Best Aviator Sunglasses for Women
100% UVA/UVB protection
Prescription versions available
These best-selling shades from celebrity-favorite sunglasses brand Quay are perfect for leaning into this season’s return of the aviator. And, they’re especially current, as they feature a squared-off look, slightly thicker frame and double nose bridge (also approved by McFarlane). For just $55, you can nab them in four solid-colored and ombre colorways, with the option to try them on virtually. And for those who need it, select versions can be customized with a prescription.
What reviewers say: “I love these shades! Perfect for dress-down days. These are medium-sized, but as someone that has every pair of Quays in large sizes, they looked and felt great!”

Quay on the Fly

$55

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Smith Flywheel Sport & Performance Sunglasses
Best Cycling Sunglasses
100% UV protection
ChromaPop lenses for clarity
Easy to put on with one hand
TR90 frame
Prescription-lens compatible
Sunglasses are an essential accessory for avid bikers, especially on bright summer days. For over 50 years, Smith has become known for its high-performance sports apparel and eyewear, and these unisex shades from the brand remain a standout. Equal parts functional and stylish (yes, sporty shields are having a moment), these sleek unisex shades feature Smith’s color-boosting ChromaPop lenses for making colors pop and providing excellent clarity. A two-position, non-slip nose pad also helps keep your glasses in place. The TR90 frame is lightweight, durable and flexible, plus features AutoLock hinges that hold it open when you only have one hand free to put on these sunglasses or remove them. Available in eight neat color varieties, these shades are also smudge and moisture-resistant so you can always get the best view possible. One thing to note, though, is that these are not polarized.
What reviewers say: “These are perfect sunglasses for biking. The lenses have great coverage and offer good peripheral vision. They are lightweight and they fit my (female) face really well. I highly recommend them.”

Smith Flywheel Sport & Performance Sunglasses

$112

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Celine Triomphe Logo Oval Acetate Sunglasses
Best Oval Frames
Acetate
100% UVA/UVB protection
Made in Italy
“I love the retro oval shape and fun rose color of these Celine frames, which hit on two of this summer’s hottest sunglasses trends,” Sheldon says. Seen on the brand’s spring ’21 runways, these are still as relevant as ever. Plus, they’re made in Italy with premium acetate for lasting durability. A signature triomphe logo done in gold on the temples and gradient lenses earn these even more style points for completing all your warm-weather outfits.

Celine Triomphe Logo Oval Acetate Sunglasses

$450

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Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Colorblock Sunglasses
Best Colorblock
Acetate
UV protection
Across all sunglass shapes, tinted frames and lenses are a huge theme for summer ’22. We love the new special edition of Ray-Ban’s iconic Wayfarer frames that expertly nails the look. You can choose between five frame options, done in red, blue green or violet with a variety of colorblocked lenses for a fun, ’80s-era vibes. What’s more, each pair is accompanied by with a matching cord that helps keep the pairs in place. The updated silhouette has UV protection and is offered with two lens options: polarized Chromance lenses, which reduce glare and calibrate light to enhance colors, and crystal lenses, featuring Transitions technology that adapts to all light conditions so you get the best visuals any time of day. Tap into the brand’s virtual try-on service to see what they’ll look like on you before buying.

What reviewers say: “Love my new Wayfarer sunglasses. They are a beautiful shade and fit perfectly!”

Rayban Original Wayfarer Colorblock

$258

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Saint Laurent Cat Eye Acetate Sunglasses
Best Cat Eye Sunglasses for Round Faces
100% UV protection
Made in Italy
Acetate
Saint Laurent’s cat eye shades have an elongated shape with pointed corners, which make them perfectly on-trend and well-suited for round faces. One of the best designer sunglasses for women you can buy, these made-in Italy shades will last you and are just classic enough to remain a staple for years to come. They’re finished with glossy black acetate and matching lenses with full UV protection. Finish these off with a blazer and flared jeans, and you’re good to go.

Saint Laurent Cat-eye Acetate Sunglasses

$395

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Christopher Cloos Cloos x Elsa Noire Sunglasses
Best Cat Eye Sunglasses for Square and Diamond Faces
Eco-friendly; made of biodegradable Italian Acetate
100% UV protection
Polarized
Another great cat eye option, this version from understated Danish eyewear brand Christopher Cloos better suits shoppers with square and diamond faces thanks to its softly rounded frames. Made in collaboration with supermodel Elsa Hosk, these retro-inspired sunnies are perfect for giving your look a dose of old Hollywood glamour. Adding to their appeal are biodegradable Italian acetate frames, durable spring hinges that are a signature of the brand and an accompanying luxe leather carrying case. The shades are also one of the best polarized sunglasses for women, offer UV protection and can be purchased in prescription versions.
What reviewers say: “Highest quality frames around. Sturdy, light and have a very premium feel. I have had my sunglasses for well over a year and could not be happier. No need to shop around further when you want a new pair of sunglasses!”

Christopher Cloos Cloos x Elsa Noire Sunglasses

$179

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Prada PR 24XS Sunglasses
Best for Larger Faces
Acetate frames
Wide, high-bridge fit
UV protection
Prescription-lens compatible
Prada’s signature PR 24XS sunglasses are a classic, feminine look made for people with larger face shapes. Best for oval, round and heart-shaped faces, the oversized rectangular style features a wide fit across the cheekbones and high nose bridge. These luxury sunglasses for women comes in six versatile shades, including a rich bordeaux color that’s a subtle alternative to black but will still add depth to your look. Throw these on with your favorite coverup or breezy evening dress to nail effortless Italian style.

What reviewers say: “Love these sunglasses! They have a great and unique shape and fit my face perfectly. Well-crafted and perfect color (I purchased the burgundy.”

Prada PR 24XS Sunglasses

$298 
$194

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Spy+ Hangout Sunglasses
Best Oversized Oval Shades
Polycarbonate lenses
100% UV protection
For an even more distinct version of the oval look, Anderson suggests this wider take on the 90s-inspired silhouette. “The Hangout is trend-forward, and filled with Spy+ tech,” she says. Featuring a proprietary Accurate Radius Curvature, the polycarbonate lenses are tapered to follow the natural curvature of the eye to provide an ultra-clear view and minimize eyestrain. “Not to mention, the frames are constructed of Bioplastic, which is comprised of 50% organic plant matter that is both lightweight and durable and aids in reducing plastic consumption,” Anderson adds. These come in classic black, white and red translucent frames for a vintage pop of color.

Spy+ Hangout Sunglasses

$70

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Covry Rana Granite Sunglasses
Best Round Sunglasses
Plant-based acetate frames
100% UV Protection
Prescription lens-compatible
Ideal for those with low nose bridges and high cheekbones
While oval shapes are a big sunglasses trend this summer, round sunnies are a timeless option that look amazing on square and diamond face shapes. Burgeoning female-founded brand Covry offers a great pair made with the brand’s signature Elevated Fit, which is designed to defy the industry standard by providing a complementary fit for those with low nose bridges and high cheekbones — specifically Asian wearers but also those of non-Asian descent. To ensure top quality, the brand works with 40 skilled artisans that mold, cut and assemble each frame. You can use the brand’s virtual try-on system for $10 to test the waters before you buy, and similar to a handful of the label’s other styles, these are available with prescription lenses for those who need it. And to top it all off, they’re scratch-resistant and eco-friendly, made with plant-based acetate derived from cotton and wood pulp.
What reviewers say: “After decades of wearing glasses that sit too low and constantly slip on my nose, this was a perfect fit from the first moment I put it on. I love that it feels super lightweight and sits perfectly on my face!”

Covry Rana Granite Sunglasses

$150

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Versace 40mm Irregular Shield Sunglasses
Best Fashion Shields
100% UV protection
Metal/plastic
Made in Italy
Versace has also hopped on the 2000s-era shield shade trend, and this pair features all the drama you’d expect from the luxury Italian brand. Wrapping fully around the face, these have a sleek curved silhouette and decadent Greek-style key hinges for a bold dose of hardware. Make these the focal point of your outfit by pairing them with a simple white tee and straight-leg jeans or go bold by wearing them with a floral summer dress. Grab them in bronze or dark gray with contrast gold detailing or opt for the all-black version if you prefer something a bit less flashy.
What reviewers say: “Very futuristic and fun. Can’t wait for vacation! Also a bonus that the bottom of the shades doesn’t sit/rest on my face.”

Versace 40mm Irregular Shield Sunglasses

$342-$355

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Aoxeyewear The Vittorio Sun
Best Classic Frames for Small Faces 
Italian acetate
Polarized
UV A/B protection
Prescription versions available
Created in 2005 by Paris-born CEO Idriss Nestor, Aox specializes in luxury eyewear at relatively affordable prices. Its pieces (which top out under $200) are handmade in Sorrento, Italy with universal-fit nose pads and highly-adjustable temples to better fit a range of face shapes — and its Vittoria Sun frames are no exception. These subtly vintage-inspired frames are made with sturdy Italian acetate and come in both “narrow” and “average” fit options to help you get the perfect match. They also have polarized lenses with UVA/B protection and are available in prescription versions. For further customization, choose between a handful of neutral to colored frames and lenses and add your initials on the interior, free of charge.

Aoxeyewear The Vittorio Sun

$128

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Urban Outfitters Dixie Translucent Icon Sunglasses
Best Rimless Sunglasses
Polycarbonate lenses
Copper frame
UV protection
Coated grip
Calling all Y2K fanatics. Brands like Fendi and famously nostalgic label Blumarine gave rimless shades a spotlight on spring ’22 runways, and plenty of other companies are taking note. Offered in four in bright hues, including neon green and a cool blue, these translucent frames from Urban Outfitters are minimal but offer UV protection and a coated grip to keep them in place. And due to their rectangular shape, they’re an especially great pick for shoppers with round faces. Style them away with your favorite low-rise jeans and butterfly tops galore this season (and maybe blast a Mariah Carey tune for good measure.)

What reviewers say: “These sunglasses add a Y2K vibe to every outfit. Got them in pink, and everyone thinks they’re so fun! Perfect for summer.”

Urban Outfitters Dixie Translucent Icon Sunglasses

$18

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Dior Geometric Acetate Cat-Eye Sunglasses
Made in Italy
100% UV Protection
Acetate
The luxury French fashion house known for its impeccable tailoring and innovative silhouettes offers up these supremely edgy cat eye shades, perfect for anyone who loves a traditional look with contemporary flair. A geometric shape and elegant gold branding give these a striking appearance, while 100% UVA/B protection ensures your peepers stay protected. Grab the made-in-Italy style in all-black or a dark tortoise shell version with deep blue lenses for an even more unexpected aesthetic.

Dior Geometric Acetate Cat-Eye Sunglasses

$560

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Tifosi Alpe 2.0 SingleLens Sunglasses
Best Sport Sunglasses for Small Faces
Polycarbonate lenses are scratch-resistant and shatterproof
TR90-nylon frame
100% UVA/UVB protection
Also a leader in athletic eyewear, Tifosi “designs, tests and tortures its product to enhance your sport — whether you’re running a 5k, riding your first century or playing 18 holes on Sunday,” according to the brand’s site. These featherlight frames are a perfect companion for clocking in miles, complete with Hydrophilic rubber nose pads and ear pieces that stay put even as you sweat and allow for a more custom fit. The polycarbonate lenses are scratch-resistant and shatterproof, and among over 700 four and five-star reviews on Amazon, this pair is lauded by countless customers as one of the best sport sunglasses for women with small faces. Like the rest of the brand’s styles, these offer 100% UV protection and come with a zippered shell case, cleaning bag and care instructions. And priced at just $29, they’re a great budget option, too.
What reviewers say: “My face is relatively small, and I have trouble finding glasses that aren’t too wide. These fit really well, and they look pretty good. I can see clearly with them, and they haven’t fogged up on me yet. I’ve worn them in two duathlons and numerous running races, and they stay in place and keep the desert sun out. They’re not super dark, so I often wear a hat or visor if the sun is low, but the sun is really bright here, and I do find these really help.”

Tifosi Alpe 2.0 SingleLens Sunglasses

$39 
$29

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Indy Nolita Sunglasses
Best Cat Eye Sunglasses for All Face Shapes
Acetate frames
UV400 protection
Polarized
Impact-resistant
Featuring a slightly elongated silhouette and squared off edges, Indy’s fresh take on the cat eye style works for a range of face shapes. And, according to McFarlane, the style was even worn by Christina Aguilera’s dancers in a recent performance. “The Nolita is perfect for every day and the lenses are polarized, so they block any harsh rays while you’re walking your dog, headed to the club, or recovering from a long night out,” she says. Depending on your preference, these UV-protective and anti-glare sunnies come in all-black and tortoise shell finishes. The versatile look is even great for pairing with dressier combos for the office or sporty ensembles.
What reviewers say: “I took these skiing, and they provided such great protection against the strong sun and snow! So chic without losing the important protection of the sunglasses.”

Indy Nolita Sunglasses

$79

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Diff Eyewear Bree Sunglasses
Also Consider Rimless Style
Stainless steel frame
Scratch-resistant
100% UVA/UVB
Can be fit with prescription lenses by local optician
A frequent celebrity collaborator and high-quality, yet affordable label to boot, Diff Eyewear is one of the best sunglasses brands for women on the market. Even better, the company uses profits from each pair of its frames sold to provide eye exams, glasses, medicine and surgery for people in need around the world. We love this oversized rimless style that feels so current, featuring tinted ombre lenses, a cool geometric shape and arty wire accents. Although these are not polarized, they will effectively block harmful UV rays and feature scratch-resistant lenses for enhanced durability.
What reviewers say: “I have several pair of Diff glasses, but I love how different these are! They look and feel great and I get so many compliments wearing them.”

Diff Eyewear Bree Sunglasses

$98

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Covry Vega Coconut Sunglasses
Also Consider Classic Shades
Nylon lenses
Lightweight cellulose acetate frames
100% UV protection
Available with polarization
A squared silhouette with rounded edges, such as our Vega, has proven to be one that never goes out of style,” Wang says.  “It’s versatile for most face shapes, and this tortoise pattern always adds a classic touch.” Featuring a stylish rose gold finish and subtle gradient lenses, these are made with the brand’s signature Elevated Fit, lightweight, plant-based acetate and scratch-resistant lenses. As an added bonus, they come with a soft vegan leather carrying case and are available in versions with or without polarization, depending on your preference.

What reviewers say: “I have a round, wide and short face with a low nose bridge. I find sunglasses that don’t pinch me at the temples have huge lenses that overwhelm my face. These looked perfect on me, though. Only thing is I wished this style came with nose pads, they still slip a little down my nose (oily skin). I highly recommend getting polarized lenses — finally no squinting!”

Covry Vega Coconut Sunglasses

$95

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Flatist Eyewear White Veneda Carter Edition Disco Sunglasses
 Italian Acetete
100% UVA/UVB protection
Alongside sporty shields, architectural, futuristic shades are also having a moment. These collaborative sunnies from renowned celebrity stylist Veneda Carter and buzzy Danish eyewear brand Flatist add freshness to classic rectangular shapes with slightly rounded edges (great for a variety of face shapes), while also offering a touch of nostalgia with hazy orange-tinted lenses. They’re made with Italian acetate for top quality and include a subtle translucent white finish. Use them to complement edgy pieces or create a nice contrast with dainty frocks.

Flatist Eyewear White Veneda Carter Edition Disco Sunglasses

$260

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Emilio Pucci Butterfly Sunglasses
Best Modern Cat Eye Sunglasses
Plastic
100% UV protection
Made in Italy
A face lift in sunglasses form and perfect for those with round faces, these Emilio Pucci shades boast striking flared edges (which is fitting for the brand, given its reputation for bold geometric prints). A rainbow-tinged moniker is emblazoned on the side for a fun, yet subtle pop of color. Made in Italy, the all-black shades also boast smoky lenses with 100% UV protection.

Emilio Pucci Butterfly Sunglasses

$235

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What to look for in the best sunglasses for eye protection
In addition to looking for sunglasses that fit your style and face shape, all our experts agree that it’s crucial to choose women’s sunglasses with UV protection. This technology found in certain lenses “blocks harmful UV rays from the sun to help reduce eye fatigue and lower your risk of long-term sun damage, including corneal damage, cataracts and macular degeneration,” Anderson says.
Remember that the higher the UV rating, the better. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it’s best to select sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. These will be labelled as having 100% UV-A and UV-B or UV400 protection.

What are polarized sunglass lenses and why would I need them?
“A polarized lens is designed with a special filter inside that helps to block both glare and reflections that bounce off smooth surfaces,” Anderson says. While our experts agree that UV protection is crucial when selecting the best sunglasses for women, choosing glasses with polarization comes down to personal preference. “Blocking the glare allows the wearer to have better perception of their space, enjoy clearer vision when it’s bright outside and experience minimal color distortion,” explains Anderson, who adds that this feature can be particularly beneficial if you spend time on the water or snow, while driving or during a range of other outdoor activities.
It’s important to note, though, that polarization lies on a spectrum. Anderson mentions that some lenses may only block glare at certain angles for the viewer, while others offer almost complete polarization at all angles. Some sunglasses will be labelled with the percentage of polarization they offer as an indicator, but typically the best way to determine how they perform is by testing them out yourself.
Other factor to consider when shopping for the best sunglasses for women
Materials used: If you plan to wear your sunglasses for sports or high-energy activities, look for frames made with materials like TR-90 (thermoplastic) and sustainable Bioplastic, both of which are comfortable, lightweight and durable, Anderson says. (Some nylon frames may also have impact-resistance.) Acetate, another variation of plastic, is often used for fashion sunglasses, with plenty of color options available. However, this material is generally less flexible and impact-resistant for sports. Metal is another popular option for fashion-forward frames; while it’s not as sturdy as plastics, it’s easy to adjust and provides less obstruction to your vision.
Tech features: This is also an especially key consideration for people who are active. Anderson advises looking for features like rubber nose pads that won’t slip when you sweat, removable side shields and extra sweat channels inside the temples for breathability.
Quality/ technology of the lenses: Most sunglass lenses are made of glass, polyurethane, polycarbonate or acrylic — all of which have their own pros and cons. Glass is ultra-clear and durable, however it tends to be more expensive and bulkier than other alternatives. Polyurethane is also a more expensive option, as it’s flexible, lightweight, impact-resistant and provides superb optical clarity. Meanwhile, polycarbonate is clear, sturdy and lightweight, but tends to be less scratch-resistant. Acrylic provides less clarity and durability than glass or polycarbonate, but can be a solid option for casual use if you’re not looking to spend top dollar. Anderson also recommends looking for pairs with special lens technology that can provide additional health benefits, such as Spy+’s patented Happy Lens Technology that acts as a filter to “block harmful short-wave blue light and allow in favorable long-wave blue light that helps to increase both mood and alertness.”
Meet the experts
Claire Sheldon is a buyer for beauty, fragrances, sunglasses and hair accessories at Bergdorf Goodman.

Indie McFarlane is the founder of Brooklyn-based sunglasses brand Indy, which has specialized in affordable, trendy women’s sunglasses since debuting in 2017.
Athina Wang and Florence Shin are the founders of Covry eyewear. The best friends started the brand in 2015 with a mission to make inclusive eyewear for faces of all shapes and sizes.
Maddie Anderson is the senior marketing manager at California-based eyewear brand SPY+. For over 20 years, the brand has offered a range of styles — from casual everyday pairs to safety options that are ASMI- certified  — built with an attention to technology designed to keep eyes healthy.

Meet the author
Sam Peters is the senior style commerce editor at Fairchild Media Group (FMG), where she always up to date on the latest trend and tests out various apparel and accessories styles to find the best in each category. As a California native who thrives on sunshine, she’s naturally tested some of the best sunglasses for women.

Italian Jewelry Brand Acchitto Expands Into Eyewear and Accessories

Italian Jewelry Brand Acchitto Expands Into Eyewear and Accessories

MILAN — In the game of billiards, the first move is called “acchitto” in Italian — and it takes a dose of courage, preparation and even luck to execute.This is how the two Italian founders, Francesca Richiardi and Elena Faccio of the jewelry brand Acchitto felt when they decided to give life to their project. In an interview with WWD, Richiardi mentioned that, “Initially we were unaware of what we were doing, Elena and I didn’t have an extensive knowledge of jewelry so we learned day by day.” Faccio agreed and added that, “We had the courage to throw ourselves into it.”

Francesca Richiardi and Elena Faccio, founders and designers of the brand Acchitto.
Courtesy image

The designers met while working at the Fendi style offices and in March 2018 the jewelry brand Acchitto was born.

“We both had a great passion for jewelry and in particular for vintage, during that moment we noticed that the jewelry market was going in two specific directions: one which was very bold and on the opposite side, minimal designs,” said Faccio. “There was something in between that was actually missing.”

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Richiardi and Faccio wanted to create a jewelry piece that could be recognizable and most importantly that would stand out, while also remaining elegant and wearable. This is why their first design was the “Il Moro Ring” (which costs from 130 to 160 euros depending on the model.) Richiardi explained that they “took inspiration from the Sicilian and Venetian moors but we completely distorted and reinterpreted them.”

“Il Moro Ring” by Acchitto.
Courtesy image

After only four years, Acchitto has already gained recognition with celebrities both Italian and international. Recently, Adele chose to wear the ‘Aequor hoops earring’ for the cover of her Spotify album. Miley Cyrus decided to rock the brand’s colorful rings, and “Euphoria” star Sydney Sweeney wore the “Aequor onde earrings” in pink. Acchitto was also spotted at the finale of “RuPaul’s Drag Race U.S.”
“In 2021 Acchitto has grown exponentially, more than we could have ever estimated and expected, it is crazy to see so many world-known stars wearing our creations. We are always pleased to see how they wear it, what they feel when wearing it, also because each piece is designed to be worn differently,” continued Faccio.
Indeed, thanks to a special mechanism that has been patented by Richiardi and Faccio, the rings can be customized according to the customer’s request — making them unique and to be kept and collected over time. Faccio explained that, “The rings can be screwed and unscrewed back, in this way the client can choose even two different ‘heads’ with one base. It took us almost one year to finally come up with the perfect mechanism.”
Right now, Faccio and Richiardi are expanding their collection with accessories through the recent launch of a collection of sunglasses and belts for the summer 2022 season.
The sunglasses are made in four different acetates: black, tortoiseshell brown, purple and pearly white, with gradient lenses and with the shimmering A logo which is colored according to the model in gold, fuchsia or green and retail at 190 euros on Acchitto’s official website. Besides Acchitto’s website, the brand can also be bought on Yoox and at Gente Roma’s physical store in Rome.

The Acchitto series one sunglasses in white.
Courtesy image

“We realized that seasonality does not work with jewelry, waiting six months for a product also tends to penalize the customer’s request,” observed Faccio. “By launching smaller collections or capsules throughout the year, on one hand, it helps us a lot on a creative level and on the other hand, it brings us closer to the customer.”

This is why the two young designers plan to amplify even more the brand by creating shoes, bags and clothing collections, even through collaborations with other fashion labels.
“We want to grow and create an ‘acchittable look’ and not just jewelry, of course we always want to maintain this connection between us and our final customer, which makes Acchitto so desired,” Richiardi concluded.

Everything to Know About Blackpink’s Jennie’s Second Gentle Monster Collection

Everything to Know About Blackpink’s Jennie’s Second Gentle Monster Collection

Blackpink’s Jennie’s second collaboration with Gentle Monster is almost here.In the last few weeks, both the official social media accounts for the singer-rapper and the South Korean eyewear brand have been teasing the collection, which is named “Jentle Garden.”
The collection comes after the singer’s first successful drop in 2020, with it selling out in minutes.
Earlier this week, Gentle Monster released the campaign images of Jennie, born Jennie Kim, posing with pieces from the capsule. The photos were taken by Hugo Comte, showing Jennie in colorful and floral-themed backdrops.
Jennie’s “Jentle Garden” collection will be available for purchase worldwide starting Thursday on Gentle Monster’s official website.

Ahead of the anticipated launch, the brand created a mobile game called the “Jentle Garden Game,” which is available on the app store. It is a fantasy world in which users can grow their own flower garden with Jennie. For one month, the top 10 players of the game will be selected weekly to be gifted a prize of a flower bag and five of the pieces from the upcoming collection.

In December, Jennie confirmed that her second collaboration with the eyewear brand will be launching sometime this year. The singer uploaded two posts on her Instagram account hinting at the drop and what fans should expect.

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“Coming in 2022 💐,” she captioned one of the posts, which was a carousel of photos of herself posing with a pair of white sunglasses and a bouquet of flowers with the words “Gentle Monster x Jennie” and “Jentle Garden” on the bag.
Jennie’s first collection with the eyewear brand, called “Jentle Home,” launched in April 2020 and sold out immediately. The line was mainly inspired by “Jennie’s childhood memories,” which meant “teddy bears and dollhouses.” It included 15 pairs of glasses and sunglasses and three eyewear chains.
READ MORE HERE:
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Fai Khadra and Elyanna are the Stars of Eye’M Eyewear’s Latest Campaign

Fai Khadra and Elyanna are the Stars of Eye’M Eyewear’s Latest Campaign

Fai Khadra. Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
Part-Palestinian singer Elyanna and LA-born Palestinian model Fai Khadra are the stars of Eye’M Eyewear’s electrifying new campaign. Set in Los Angeles and directed by Lebanese creative Eli Rezkallah, the vibrant video aims to highlight the importance of identity and individuality that is central to the eyewear brand.
Elyanna. Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
The two artists are presented throughout the video in multiple statement pieces, from sharp black sunglasses to the popular transparent and thick-framed style. Some of the bolder pieces spotted in the video include a pair of blue monochromatic sunglasses sported by Khadra, while Elyanna poses in a pair of cat-eye of sunglasses with pink temples. With every piece, a new encounter is made and a different story is told.
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“I had a great time shooting the Eye’M campaign,” shared Elyanna. “The whole collection is something I can relate to, it looks like me. From the location, the cast, the director, and the pieces themselves. Topping it all off with the music is just perfect. Happy to be part of this!”
Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
Paying attention to detail via colorful silhouettes and the construction of the eyewear, Eye’M launched in 2020 with a range of practical, easy-to-wear, and stylish designs. The brand’s vision focuses on self-expression through dynamic pieces of eyewear that cater to individual styles and characters.
Take a look at more stills from the campaign below.
Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
Photo: Courtesy of Eye’M
The latest collection can be found in Magrabi throughout stores in UAE, Egypt, KSA, Qatar, and Kuwait, and on Magrabi.com
Read Next: 9 Pairs of Standout Sunglasses That You Can’t Miss This Season

Exclusive: The First Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli Eyewear Collection is Dropping This October

Exclusive: The First Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli Eyewear Collection is Dropping This October

Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli
LA-cool eyewear brand Oliver Peoples and refined Italian fashion house Brunello Cucinelli have joined forces to create their first collaborative eyewear collection – and it’s a knockout.
Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli
By fusing the architectural elegance of Italy’s Solomeo hamlet and the glamor of classic cinema, the resulting five-style capsule has all the enduring elegance of a perfectly tailored suit – one that should last a lifetime. “We have always tried to create products that maintain a high level of craftsmanship,” says Brunello Cucinelli, “while preserving the moral and economic dignity of human work…On the path towards rebirth [following Covid-19], joyful reunions and daily gestures, men and women are starting to rediscover a taste for dressing well.”
Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli
‘Dressing well’ is something the brand has integrated into its business model since its launch in 1978, creating wardrobe classics in luxury cashmere. Nature and respect for the environment are of equal importance and remain the starting point for all new collections. “We understand that the earth is asking us for help,” says Cucinelli, “and certainly we have to treasure it…The search for harmony in shapes, keen research into color and utmost attention to detail have been the driving forces in creating not only our latest apparel line but this first eyewear collection.”
Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli
Rich in natural noble fibers – soft alpacas, double cashmeres and mohairs – the fall ready to wear offering mirrors the earthy pantone of the brand’s first eyewear line. “We spoke the same design language,” says Giampiero Tagliaferri, Creative Director of Oliver Peoples. “We both champion the process of crafting something simple yet incredibly special…the collection is characterized by a luxurious simplicity.”
Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli
Sustainability through timeless design manifests within the handmade quality of the collection. From the pilot-style Disoriano with genuine horn inlay and discreetly engraved logos to the classic Nino, a Dolce Vita inspired classic in Olive Smoke or Dark Amber, all five eyewear styles marry the signatures of both brands perfectly. “[The pandemic] has impacted me from a spiritual point of view,” says Cucinelli, “leading to a period of reflection, which clearly influenced our business model. We understand that the earth is asking us for help and, certainly, we could not but treasure it. From here, we start again.”
Photo: Courtesy of Oliver Peoples x Brunello Cucinelli
Read Next: 25 Uplifting Spring 2022 Looks from New York Fashion Week

Kering Eyewear Takes Control of Luxury Lindberg Brand

Kering Eyewear Takes Control of Luxury Lindberg Brand

MILAN — Kering Eyewear is taking full control of Danish brand Lindberg.
The acquisition is “an extraordinary, game-changing step for Kering Eyewear,” and the first of its kind for the group, said president and chief executive officer Roberto Vedovotto in an interview with WWD.
“Lindberg is really an extraordinary company, a luxury excellence in eyewear,” said the executive, touting the super-light, hypoallergenic titanium employed by Lindberg, which is even used for medical surgery, he noted.
He confessed the deal is “a dream come true” as he has courted the founding Lindberg family for 20 years, as far back as when he was helming Safilo Group.
“I know [CEO] Henrik Lindberg has received many offers through the years, always declining to sell and I think he accepted our offer out of sheer exhaustion, as I never gave up on the idea of this deal,” said a clearly upbeat Vedovotto with a chuckle. “I have a boundless admiration for the brand.”

Vedovotto said Kering Eyewear and Lindberg are perfectly complementary and that the latter will remain independent and will not produce for the brands in Kering Eyewear’s portfolio.
Market sources estimate Lindberg revenues total more than 100 million euros. While Vedovotto declined to confirm this figure and to reveal the amount paid for 100 percent of Lindberg, he said the company is profitable and solid. The agreement with Kering Eyewear will also help Lindberg ensure continuity and a future for the brand.

“Thirty-five years ago, we started our company in two small back rooms behind our family optical store, with nothing more than the idea of bringing unseen comfort and quality to the eyewear business,” said Henrik Lindberg. “Thanks to a team of dedicated employees, we can now — in Roberto Vedovotto’s own words — call ourselves makers of ‘absolute luxury eyewear.’ Kering and Lindberg share a common philosophy that design is ultimately about taking eyewear to an even higher level. That is why the Lindberg family is extremely happy to be able to pass the torch on to Kering Eyewear. Under Roberto Vedovotto’s leadership and backed by the impressive values and high standards of the Kering Group, I am convinced that the Lindberg brand will be taken to new heights and the key values and the unique DNA kept.”
Citing Lindberg’s 6,000 partners and presence in 135 countries in the world, Vedovotto believes the brand has further growth potential, while “preserving its character and design.”
Vedovotto’s motto is that Kering Eyewear, founded in 2014, and “merely an idea on a piece of paper,” has grown “from zero to hero,” reporting wholesale revenues of 600 million euros in 2019. But he said “there’s always something to learn and I believe we will learn from each other.” He also said that Lindberg’s “unparalleled expertise in optical frames” will give Kering Eyewear “additional legitimacy with independent opticians,” and allow it to further expand in the optical segment. The two companies will be able to leverage synergies in distribution and geographical reach, he continued. The agreement will also help amplify Lindberg’s reach and increase its brand awareness.
Founded in 1969 in Denmark by optician Poul-Jørn Lindberg and his wife as an optical store, their son Henrik Lindberg has turned the family company into an international brand, widely recognized for its high-end manufacturing of design-oriented, lightweight, and customizable optical frames with a specialization in titanium.

Vedovotto praised Lindberg’s made-to-order capabilities and customer service, as bespoke glasses can be created through an extended modular system which contains billions of combinations, in a wide range of materials from titanium to acetate, buffalo horn, wood or precious metals and received in five to eight business days. “It’s the best in class,” he said.
Lindberg has developed and patented manufacturing techniques and innovations such as hypoallergenic, multi-adjustable and screwless frames that are key differentiating factors in the high-end eyewear market, observed Vedovotto.
The transaction is subject to the clearance by the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021.
Vedovotto set up Kering Eyewear, headquartered at the 17th-century Villa Zaguri, about an hour away from Venice, in 2014, launching a new business model, and the executive always credits Kering chief François-Henri Pinault for his visionary support.
Kering Eyewear develops and distributes collections for brands ranging from Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen to Alaïa, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, McQ and Puma. In March 2017,  Compagnie Financière Richemont became a stakeholder in Kering Eyewear, which led to the production of Cartier eyewear. Collections for Montblanc, Courrèges and Balenciaga have been added and, most recently, for Chloé and Dunhill.
Vedovotto said the company’s strategy has not changed since its inception and it is working through partnerships with brands under the Kering and Richemonth umbrellas, and not through licenses.
Asked if the acquisition of Lindberg could mean a new business model, prescient of other M&As, he said “there is still a lot to do to exploit the company’s potential” but admitted that, “if something very interesting came along, why not?”
Vedovotto said Kering Eyewear will continue to balance sun and optical glasses, fully leveraging the potential of the brands, and said the company “worked well” during the COVID-19 pandemic, “with passion, commitment and team spirit, expanding its market share. In general, there are great prospects for the eyewear sector, which has suffered less than other categories,” also in light of the increased need for optical frames caused by the prolonged use of screens during the lockdowns.

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