Are these the coolest sunglasses yet?
By Ray Zhang
We are without doubt moving into a post-CNY period, characterised by bright, scorching days. These past weeks have been especially so. And nothing is more appreciated now than sunglasses, especially this pair by TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist. Not in the mood to buy—and wear—anything new (actually, to dress well, which these days means considerable effort), I think the best and easiest thing to do new is wearing a pair of shades, but not just any lying around (or the good ’ol, inherently cool Aviator). I am completely drawn to these novel big-eyes-with-a-nose. For one, it’ll distract from my clearly no-new-season-clothes stance; for another, it will amuse the many for whom a pair of sunglasses is just that.
The Soloist’s Takahiro Miyashita is the main man behind the now-defunct Number (N)ine, beloved by many outgrowing the first gen of Japanese designers who put Tokyo on the map from Paris. My first encounter with Number (N)ine was in Tokyo in the mid-’90s, and it was classic love-at-first-sight seizure. A frighteningly-priced patchwork blazer was beseeching my ownership, but fate did not deal me a good card. In 2009, Mr Miyashita took a year’s hiatus after ending the brand that he started with others. He returned with TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist in 2010, and has diligently garnered what has been described as a “cult following”. As a Soloist, his designs bring sharp focus to youth culture, like his pal’s Jun Takahashi’s. They are an amalgam of punk and grunge, and everything between. And, often, they are also cheekily unexpected.
Such as these acetate sunglasses. They look, to me, at first glance, something a psycho in a B-grade slasher flick might have worn to conceal his identity. Or, in a remake of The Birds, featuring humans with some ornithological madness, and hell-bent to wipe out the screaming living before them. Maybe it’s the beak-like extension of the front, through the bridge, evocative of a bird, rather than an insect. A neb that kids might have made out of papier-mâché to wear as costume in a play. This sunglasses has, in fact, more in common with a Harlequin mask than shades such as the Wayfarer. It covers up a good part of the upper half of the face, and would clearly delight those who need such obscuring. I am one.
This Takahiromiyashita The Soloist’s debut eyewear line—known as TheLeftEye—is conceived with the Japanese company EYEVAN, remembered as the manufacturer of the hipster label Oliver Peoples. EYEVAN’s stunning store in Tokyo’s Aoyama is a must-stop for fashionista in search of unusual eyewear. It is unsurprising to me that TheLeftEye is born of this partnership. Launched on the eve of CNY in Tokyo’s Parco Shibuya, via a striking pop-up, Pop by Jun, and under the intriguing theme Listen to This Glasses, TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheLeftEye piques more than just interests, it seems destined to be the leading purveyor of uncommon shades. And this is only just the beginning.
Photos: Takahiromiyashita The Soloist