This season's round of eyewear collaborations has brought some of the brightest yet. Well-crafted frames with distinct fashion sensibilities are coming down the pipeline, along with unexpected but welcomed creative match-ups and revivals of yesteryear's iconic brands. Whether straight from the runway or made for fun in the sun, these nine pairs capture the essence of sunglasses and the upcoming summer season.
A Bathing Ape + Sunpocket
Sunpocket enjoyed massive popularity—on and off the slopes—with its foldable sunglasses during the 1980s. The formerly French brand was relaunched last year in Sweden, in sync with growing interest in vintage and niche shades. Gaining a bit of street cred, Sunpocket collaborated with A Bathing Ape for a limited-edition release in matte army green and polarized lenses. Order them from Zozotown for ¥11,340 ($142).
Barton Perreira + Giovanni Ribisi
The current face of Barton Perreira, actor Giovanni Ribisi graduates to co-designer of two styles for the optical label. Lending much more than his name, he submitted his own 3D renderings of the designs. The Ribisi is a modern-vintage take on the round frame with its sleek lines, classic acetates, and mineral glass lenses. (The other style, the Giovanni, will hit stores later this year.) In stock at Context Clothing for $480.
Richard Nicoll + Ksubi
Deflect the sun's rays and stares with cool detachment in these mirrored shades from Richard Nicoll and Ksubi. The frames' metallic matte finish and coordinating lanyard add an extra dose of flash. A part of Nicoll's spring 2012 women's collection, they'e inspired by "L'Enfer," the never-completed French cinematic masterpiece. Available soon from a selection of to-be-announced stockists for around $340.
Mauricio Stein + ASOS
British online retailer ASOS recently unveiled its collection with Mauricio Stein, a Brazilian eyewear designer noted for his offbeat label, MauStein, and numerous collaborations. Starting at $82, each pair—like this one with teardrop-shaped lenses and cutout detailing—has the eccentric stylings of boutique frames without the sticker shock. Visit ASOS to purchase.
Finger in the Nose + Vuarnet
Parisian kidswear brand Finger in the Nose teamed up with France's Vuarnet to create stylish sunglasses for children. The result: scaled-down versions of Vaurnet's best-known shades just in time for summer. This includes the Cateye, as worn by ski racer Jean Vuarnet during his triumphant run at the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the Surfer, pictured here in gray tortoise. They sell from Finger in the Nose webstore for €114 ($151).
Eyebobs + Iris Apfel
Interior designer and all-around fashion icon Iris Apfel is unmistakably recognizable in her larger-than-life spectacles, so her partnership with Eyebobs makes total sense. The generously oval-shaped Iris takes after Apfel's trademark frames and comes in three colorways and standard polarized lenses. At $99 through Eyebobs, the sunglasses are also priced to benefit Lighthouse International, a nonprofit supporting those suffering from vision loss.
Zac Posen + Illesteva
Perhaps Illesteva's sunniest collab to date—as well as designer Zac Posen's first venture into sunwear—these shades have created a buzz with their unabashedly retro, ready-for-the-beach vibe. Here in leopard, the cat-eye silhouette is a can't-miss homage to the 1960s, a style Illesteva had a hand in making popular. Rumor has it they will appear at Colette, Opening Ceremony, and directly from Illesteva for $300.
Giles + Cutler and Gross
British designer Giles never shies away from the playful in his line of womenswear. He goes full-tilt extravagant with the Sonic, nodding to "a Victorian mechanical silver swan" and cygnets. Like every pair from Cutler and Gross, the hand-cut acetate fronts and temples are tumbled in a barrel for several days for just the right amount of smoothness and edges. Cutler and Gross has the sunglasses for $525.
Kris Van Assche + Linda Farrow
It's hard to keep tabs on all of the Linda Farrow designer collaborations out there. From the look-at-me outrageousness of Jeremy Scott to the spare sophistication of the Row, the resurrected eyewear company has become a go-to collaborator for hip fashion labels. For Kris Van Assche's current men's collection, bold experimentation meets understatement in the form of a subtle oil-rainbow effect. For a list of retailers visit Kris Van Assche directly or see them now at Linda Farrow's e-shop for $516.