On Tuesday night, we hung out with the cool kids at the Los Angeles launch of Charlotte Ronson’s new eyewear line. The designer’s “It Girl” besties, including Nicole Richie, Rashida Jones, Drea de Matteo, Ellen Pompeo and Bijou Phillips, danced the night away to the perfect blend of old and new hip-hop played by Charlotte’s twin sister, DJ Sam Ronson. While none of the beautiful people were actually wearing glasses (it was a party in Hollywood), everyone agreed that if the uber-hip Charlotte was now designing them, eyeglasses are the new must-have.
Ronson took a break from dancing with Phillips to chat with us about the line and her massively successful I Heart Ronson JCPenney collection. (We spotted Sam wearing the line’s Oliver Intarsia sweater.) While it seems that nowadays you are no one if you don’t do a collaboration with a mass market retailer, Ronson said that for her, the collab has always been about staying true to her vision as a designer. “It’s really about the product you put out there and staying consistent. Working with JCPenney has given me a chance to have an outlet that can reach a really broad audience throughout America. What I enjoy about working with them is it’s really about my design and not just slapping a label on something.”
Her eyewear line is similarly distinctly Ronson, with quirky shapes, interesting colors, and slightly hidden floral inlays on both sunglasses and prescription frames. “I look at the glasses as an extension of my clothing line. All of the [eyewear] is consistent with my color palette and I see the pieces as working together,” Ronson says. She joins prior designers like Nanette Lepore and Rebecca Minkoff as the latest participant in the Vogue Eyewear / CFDA collaboration, a design series that started in 2009 with eyewear retailer Luxottica that requires participant designers to not have any previous eyewear experience.
Ronson admits says she only wears glasses “sometimes,” adding that it seems like “more people wear them who don’t need them because it’s a fashion thing.”
While perfectly-sighted Whitney Port told us that Ronson’s line makes her wish she needed “reading glasses or something,” the absurdly charming Rashida Jones (who spent much of the night in the DJ booth with Sam) told us the only thing that trumps her love for her old friend Charlotte is her desperate need for glasses. “I didn’t even realize she had [an eyewear line]. I was mad when I got here and saw them for the first time and she hadn’t even told me. They are, of course, amazing. And I am her number one customer for these because I can’t see anything.”
When we confessed we only wear our glasses in private to keep as much of our nerdiness hidden as we can, Jones assured us, “Glasses are not dorky—they’re cool now.” However, she cautioned that fake glasses are decidedly not cool. “I’m not down with fashion glasses. It’s like wearing fashion crutches.”
We suspect if Ronson put out a line of fashion crutches, they might become a lot cooler. Until then, her eyewear line is available at LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut stores.