My obsession with sunglasses started at a very young age and was inspired by my beloved aunt, Christina. I would spend holidays with her, dressing up in clothes from her extraordinary wardrobe, and watching episodes of Absolutely Fabulous.

I used to declare at primary school that my aunt was, in fact, Eddie and I would scream, "It's Lacroix, darling." I still remember the pair that first did it for me. Large, pearl-encrusted Chanels that Jennifer Saunders wore in Ab Fab to hide her face from aggressive paparazzi, who weren't actually taking her photo. That was it. Sunglasses stole my heart — and my wallet thereafter.

Fashion designer Jessica Grubisa's favourite accessories are sunglasses. Photo / Greg Bowker
Fashion designer Jessica Grubisa's favourite accessories are sunglasses. Photo / Greg Bowker

I have managed to collect or acquire roughly 60 pairs and there's a story for each. I can recall how much, where, why and what I was doing at each stage of my life when I purchased them.

They are (I can only imagine) like children; I love them and they excel in some fields. There are my Acne Mask shields; ridiculously huge and shiny bold aviators. No one can see your eyes through the glorious lens — the classic look-at-me/don't-look-at-me sunglasses — great when you are need to look absolutely drop-dead-fabulous but don't want to be approached or spoken to at all.

Advertisement
Fashion designer Jessica Grubisa at the Sugar Club, SkyCity, Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
Fashion designer Jessica Grubisa at the Sugar Club, SkyCity, Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

Not to be confused with my black Versace Medusas from the early 90s. Notorious B.I.G. famously wore them. Now, these are great for the "I drank two bottles of wine last night and ate my body weight in bread — I'm grabbing a coffee and I'm just going to slink past you all gracefully" moment.

Or then there's the sleek pair of highlighter green transparent-lensed Cunningham's I found rummaging through an op shop that are perfect for wearing at night. Transparent enough to not look like a total asshole sitting front row, these also feature a sharp angle so they give an air of being slightly unimpressed, insouciant.

Also in the Versace camp and also from my beloved aunt, a pair of round tortoiseshells that she purchased in London the day Gianni Versace died. They were from his last
eyewear collection.

There is a flowered brow Prada number I spent all my rent money on. I simply couldn't live with out them. "IT'S NOT A SUNGLASS IT'S A LIFESTYLE," I most likely screamed while trying to justify the price tag.

There's the Jeremy Scott Mickey Mouse flip-ups, a black round pair featuring a solid round cover that turns into Mickey Mouse ears. These I managed to barter off a friend one night after years of trying. I finally wore her down and wore them everywhere. They made me feel invincible.

Then there are the early 2000s Dior rose-tinted wrap-arounds. These are so bad they're good. I collect early 2000s Dior by John Galliano and had been hunting for this quintessential pink pair for quite some time, with no luck.

One day a group of friends and I were discussing all the lovely fashion — let's call them "mistakes" although I prefer "moments" — we made as teenagers. I'm talkin' the bum bands, the awkward low-rise pants — and the Dior wrap-arounds. To my absolute delight a mutual friend came through — her awkward teen fashion faux pas was my Dior sweet dream. She couldn't give them to me fast enough.

A pair of Dior sunglasses in it's finest shade of pink. Photo / Greg Bowker
A pair of Dior sunglasses in it's finest shade of pink. Photo / Greg Bowker

Sunglasses are simply the best. They're the only fashion accessory that can help you brave the world and make you feel like a super-hero in an instant. They have shielded me from the sun and from countless awkward encounters.

Thank you for making me feel like I have my shit together when, let's be real — between collecting that Sunday morning coffee, slithering past that girl you met one time, or perching front row, do any of us really?

Forever yours.