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Visor Sunglasses Go Back to the Feature

Visor sunglasses are one of Spring 2022’s biggest accessories trends. Shield-cut eyewear — comprising one continuous lens instead of two separate lenses and a nose bridge — protected eyes at Chanel, Rick Owens, and Balmain. These sporty shades came with lenses variously polarized (Roberto Cavalli), mirrored (Tod’s), and rose-colored (Louis Vuitton). At Gucci’s Love Parade show on Hollywood Boulevard, the models wore XL face-obscuring flat-tops that would make Kim Kardashian proud.


Shield sunnies originated in the world of sport, where they’re prized by cyclists, baseball players, mountain climbers, and skiers for their lightness and unparalleled field of vision. Because visor styles stretch continuously across the face and are often rimless with minimal frame material at the temples, they enhance depth perception and peripheral vision. And of course, recreational athletes have long known they offer a major style advantage too. This season’s high fashion iterations recall Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele’s 1980s editorials for Vogue and French ELLE, which featured inimitably toned, tanned girls on the move.

A 1980s Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele Editorial for French ELLE

 

In the 1980s, Jean Paul Gaultier became one of the first designers to put shield sunglasses on the runway. In the 1990s, Miuccia Prada and Karl Lagerfeld launched Prada Sport and Chanel Sport. These luxury activewear lines featured fashionable and functional eyewear styles like black visor sports sunglasses with sleek red strip branding on the arms and white visor sunglasses featuring diamond pattern details that recall quilted bags. And visor shades reached their apotheosis circa the turn of the millennium when they became a pap-blocking favorite of Britney, Lindsay, and Paris and John Galliano debuted a Swarovski crystallized version at Dior.

 

John Galliano for Christian Dior 2003 Runway 

Why the visor shades resurgence now? Well, for starters, they offer a comforting layer of protection when we’ve just spent most of the last two years covering our faces. They also fit with the retro-futuristic cyberpunk vibe currently trending on TikTok. Of course, they’re also part of a broader cultural fixation on all things Y2K, from trucker hats to chokers. And unlike low-rise jeans, they’re even more fun the second time around.