Incognito

Sunglasses shield celebs from glare of microscrutiny

If analysts were to conduct a study of why celebrities wear sunglasses on the red carpet, they might be surprised to find that the answer isn’t just to hide from the glare of all those flashbulbs.

Since Oscar noms were unveiled Feb. 12, designers have clamored to dress the blessed, and jewelers, hair dressers and makeup artists have inundated celebs with proposals. Friends, family, colleagues and reporters seem to all have the same questions on their minds, “Do you think you’ve got a good shot? Is it really an honor just to be nominated? Are you nervous?”

The Academy Awards should be a night of carefree jubilation, but for some nominees, a pair of dark shades just might be the best way to find some peace while still looking cool.

“Sunglasses are relaxing,” says LA Eyeworks designer Gai Gherardi, “it takes some of the pressure off and adds this sort of casual element to it. It could be that you’re really sort of shutting out the whole (world) and feeling very inward, or it could be you’re feeling that you want to repel what’s going on around you and be introspective.”

While Oscar regular Jack Nicholson is hardly ever seen without them, sunglasses have become a part of a look and attitude that has snowballed into a red-carpet must.

“I think that sunglasses provide that medium for the mystique,” adds Gherardi. “There’s this sort of mystery when you have your shades on, ‘What’s goin’ on in there?’ ”

If sunglasses as a shield are a factor, this year’s nominees have caught a boon from the trend gods.

“Bigger frames are hot this year,” reports sunglasses designer Benjamin Montoya of Cynthia Benjamin. “You should see a lot of larger-size black and tortoise-shell plastic frames with a round shape; think Aristotle Onassis.”

Adds Gherardi, “It’s ‘La Dolce Vita.’ The big comeback is round frames — big ones. Round is having a big comeback.”

Gherardi and Montoya agree that if celebrities want to be introverted, they let their sunglasses work for them.

“I like eye wear to stand out,” Montoya explains, “so everything else shouldn’t be so over the top. Keep it simple as far as that goes.”

Gherardi adds, “It’s that comfort/seclusion thing instead of this giant statement. I think that’s why (on Oscar night) if everyone could have their ripped Levi’s on they’d probably want them, but you can’t do that so you’ve got your sunglasses.”

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