From Prada to Ray-Ban: 21 sunglasses to consider this summer

It’s the one accessory most of us can afford to snap up from a big-name designer

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With schools breaking for the summer early next month, your holiday plans must well be on the make. Amid the rush and bustle of last-minute (re)scheduling, shopping and packing, it's easy to overlook an essential summertime wardrobe accessory: sunglasses.

Whether you're on the beach or at brunch, a pair of shades can add a touch of sophistication, even intrigue, to almost any outfit. It's also the one accessory that most of us can afford to snap up from a big-name designer. You may not have a taste for Roberto Cavalli's stud-­encrusted sweatshirts or be willing to drop Dh15,000 on Valentino's Vring Lizard handbag, but shelling out a tenth or less of that for a pair of branded sunnies – which are likely to give you more wear – is well within reach. And the UV protection is just a handy bonus.

Here are some of the latest summer collections to look out for...


So named in the 1930s because they literally banned the sun's rays, these sunglasses officially gave us the aviator shape, made classic by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver and Tom Cruise in Top Gun. For summer 2019, the company has reinvented its original Aviator, which now comes with a light reflective effect thanks to double mirror crystal gradient shades. The brand's Wayfarer style, meanwhile, is available in four new colours – red, blue, brown and grey – and the 1980s Wing now comes squared with mirror gradient lenses in gold, silver, gunmetal and black.

Gigi Hadid for Vogue

The American-Palestinian model first partnered with Vogue Eyewear in 2017, then a relatively obscure brand, effectively replacing the thick black nerdy-chic look with smaller, thinner frames in oval shapes and with tinted lenses. Two seasons on, Hadid’s latest designs for the brand are inspired by “the many moods” of New York. Replace the word moods with shapes, and you’ll get a clearer picture of what to expect: wrapped designs in classic black and Havana; an angled visor with tri-gradient lenses; super-slim cut-off rims with Swarovski sparkles; and a cat’s eye shape so petite as to be almost triangular.


If candy colours are more up your alley, the playful pops of shades at Prada have you covered. The sunglasses are available in myriad shapes, both big and small, with ­geometric frames and sleek or solid arms, with many featuring dual, sometimes triple, colourways. Pastel hues such as pink and cloud dominate a few pairs, while elsewhere a cerise and olive frame is offset by a monochromatic arm. Sky blue and mustard yellow, and tortoise and teal are some other combinations to look to, while one particularly outlandish pair looks like a cross between army fatigues and candy canes.


The Italian brand’s Medusa and Greca motifs are embossed across its spring / summer 2019 eyewear range, which is “characterised by high-end materials and ultra-­contemporary design”. The former trait is realised through ebony and oyster leathers, black enamel and nylon fibre temples, while the latter takes the form of low cat-eye lenses, fluorescent temples and squared Baroque and / or cut-off frames. The Medusa, meanwhile, appears as studs or medallions on the bridge, arms and temples of several pairs. If the snake-haired logo is a touch too overwhelming, look to the zigzagging but much more subtle Greca pattern instead.


From butterfly wings and robotic visors to oversized temples stamped with the house logo, Valentino brings its haute couture aesthetic – created as “an homage to the individuality of contemporary women” – to its sunglasses for spring / summer 2019. This is also a good range to look to if you want to introduce unique colour combinations to your eyewear wardrobe. One pair is available in purple and honey-striped havana with amethyst crystals and mustard lenses; another has a slim rose gold frame with a light pink and blue-mirrored melange design; and a third has a blue frame with beige temples.

Roberto Cavalli

If it’s round frames that suit you best, look to the Italian fashion house’s eyewear range this summer, which has Kendall Jenner as the face of the campaign for 2019 and 2020. Available in tinted blacks and browns, the five-piece collection is unmistakably Cavalli with its gold embellishments – one pair is studded with diamantes, ­another has latticework across the top and a third is double-rimmed with the metal. Elsewhere, the snake form, which is now a staple in the brand’s clothes, creeps along, scales and all, across the bridge of one pair, while the arms of another come stamped with circular medallions.

Dolce & Gabbana

While many of the pairs listed here serve as unisex, Dolce & Gabbana has released a line of menswear sunglasses in styles that are both subdued and well over the top. The Domenico model, for example, features a thick boxy design (in keeping with the pair the designer himself sports) with metallic details, striped acetates, and in brown, grey, blue or classic black. Dolce & Gabbana's full black mask glasses, on the other hand, are emblazoned with the brand's name front and centre, plus on the side, in striking white. A pair of aviators comes in three colour combinations: florescent ­orange details with an orange rubber logo, gunmetal with grey rubber inserts, and gold with gold-coloured mirrored lenses and white rubber inserts.