Vicky Pepys follows the frame and fortune fable of Gok Wan.
WITH all the spectacle brands in the world today, from edgy couture to celebrity, sports brands, cosmetic houses and even Donald Trump and Scooby Doo, you’d think there’d be a few more aspirational spectacle wearers in the public eye.
Many have fallen by the wayside since the advent of the contact lens; imagine Nana Mouskouri or Hank Marvin without their handsome frames? Would Edna Everage be a success without her fifties upsweeps? Timothy Mallet? Oh dear, best forgotten!
There is someone, who could wear contacts but chooses not to. Someone who believes, quite rightly, that spectacles are a fashion statement in themselves and the more adventurous they are the better – Gok Wan.
Currently entertaining us on Channel 4’s How to Look Good Naked, Gok is perhaps the nicest and kindest style advisor on the current fashion TV offerings. We don’t know of anyone who doesn’t just adore him.
Short-sighted Gok has been wearing his distinctive choice in specs for just four years but was noticed by nationwide opticians Specsavers who awarded him the Best Newcomer title at the Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards in 2006.
His favoured ‘couture’ eyewear had been Vivienne Westwood and Chanel. Now Specsavers sponsor his latest and next TV series.
He’s willingly worn, featured and helped them develop their grooviest collection to date with the tag line “Gok Wan Recommends,” a collection of 12 pairs of frames which have been launched in the last two weeks.
“Gok is known for his funky face furniture so a partnership seemed a perfect opportunity to align Specsavers with someone who is instantly recognised by the public for wearing specs,” say the brand.
They have plans for Gok to front a National Specs day and their anti-bullying campaign for spec-kids in the near future.
For long-time spectacle wearers whose lives are charted by glasses styles through each era (for me gold frames in late hippy 70’s; white plastic for punk days; oversized red-for-power in 80’s) Gok has yet to fully experiment with age and eras but has tried a variety of styles so far.
His first pair were “a pair of really unusual white ones I bought in Singapore,” he recalls saying his worst pair were: “see-through specs from Hong Kong.
“The most far-out specs I’ve ever seen were a pair designed to look like a TV set,” he says, and confesses to owing, “at least 60 pairs the last time I looked.”
Gok recommends matching wardrobe to spectacles rather than eyes, complexion or hair colour. This can be difficult if your clothing style and mood differs wildly from day to day but perhaps the point is that as seasons and fashions change, spectacle wearers should perhaps visit the optician before their favourite boutique.
A new pair of glasses is the most important style change you can make. Indeed a new pair of frames in a sufficiently adventurous new style can update an existing wardrobe with a whole new “face” look.
Every makeover show leaves glasses, make-up and hair changes till the end because that’s where you’ll see the biggest and best improvements.
Gok explains his top tips for choosing a new style.
“Frames should be no higher than the line of your eyebrows, the lower edge should not sit on your cheeks and when you smile the frames should be no wider than the width of your face at the temples,” he states.
For close set eyes he says: “A thin or clear bridge can add width between close set eyes and a coloured bridge will make wide set eyes appear closer together.”
For problem noses he advises: “A short set bridge will shorten a long nose; a high set bridge in line with the top of the frames, is best for a short nose.”
The future of face furniture depends on our willingness to experiment and put glasses first instead of last on our fashion agenda. This range isn’t going to sit quietly; we’d better listen!
The Gok Wan Recommends range is available at Specsavers 10-14 High Friars, Eldon Square, (0191) 233-0077 Other Specsavers on (0800) 0680 241, www.specsavers.com