The designer on the transition from lingerie to eyewear, style icons and a passion for pastel
Why did the lingerie brand, Janet Reger, first decide to go into eyewear?
Eyewear is an everyday item, so it’s like lingerie in that regard. You have to put your bra and pants on in the morning – and eyewear is the same. Eyewear and underwear are key components for life.
How would you describe the Reger look?
There is an attention to detail in everything we produce. We know our market, which is for women aged 30-plus who are fashion-aware. She may not be able to buy into the Chanels and the Diors from a price-point perspective, but she wants something stylish and on trend.
The Reger brand is easy to wear, and the branding is discrete. It is not about massive logos. I’d like there to be a menswear collection one day. I would like to do men’s underwear too.
How many pairs of glasses do you own?
I don’t know – but a lot. I definitely do not have more than 50 though.
What was the first pair of glasses that you bought?
It was a pair of Oliver Peoples. They were tortoiseshell, brown, and very preppy. They had clip-on tinted lenses – I liked to call them my ‘deadly nightshades.’ I absolutely loved them.
Do you have a favourite pair of spectacles?
Another tortoiseshell – but this time a Janet Reger frame. I would be wearing them now, but they are somewhere in my drawer at home and I could not find them this morning.
Who are your eyewear style icons?
For men, it has to be Robert Redford, who is so stylish, and Tom Ford – he can do no wrong. For women, I think Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn are true icons. Janet Reger frame designs love to rock that cat’s eye, chic Breakfast at Tiffany’s look.
"Style can be dictated by trends, but there are certain trends that will never be stylish"
Do you believe in trends?
I believe in trends and style. Style can be dictated by trends, but there are certain trends that will never be stylish.
Take neon for example. It has its place in surfer and snowboarding culture, but it is never going to be chic. Or think about white as a fashion trend. While white trainers are stylish, white heels and handbags are a trend – and not a stylish one.
My next fashion trend ambition is to introduce some pastel frames into the Reger range. I love pastels – pale blues, greens, pinks, and yellows. They complement any skin colour.
Do you think Brits’ eyewear tastes are overly safe?
Yes, middle England does steer quite safe, but I think Brits in general have a sense of the ‘individual.’ In the UK, we are open to people’s translation of what ‘fashion’ means.
There is that hipster, Shoreditch way-out-there fabulously ‘over trend’ look – they are doing things that are really interesting and pushing boundaries.
Twenty years ago, if you wore red frames, people would stop, look and ask: ‘really’? Today, if you wear a beautiful bright colourful frame, it is mainstream.
Could you describe what GB style is?
It is a really difficult question. I think there are three characteristics:
- There is top end fashion, such as Alexander MacQueen, Burberry
- Then there are style makers – such as the Conran family, who have had such an influence on the British look, from shoes to sofas. They represent clever design
- And there is street style – think metal studs, massive heels, dyed black hair. It’s Goth and individual. And people like MacQueen and Karl Lagerfeld have taken so much inspiration from the street look.
Have trends in eyewear changed?
Absolutely. As hem lines change, so does eyewear. At one time, the narrow ‘postbox’ frame and wraparound sunglasses were everywhere. Today, it’s all change – it’s all ‘the bigger the better.’ The geek, preppy, round tortoiseshell is huge, and I love that look.
What are the design details that excite you?
Colour gets me excited. Also, I love the details, be it a touch of mother of pearl, diamante or a matte finish. Hinges go straight over my head – I am not a technical geek.
Image credit: Laurence Derbyshire