When I was a child, I had a friend who lived round the corner named Amanda. She had long, white blonde hair, the bluest eyes, and skin so pale she was practically albino. She could get a sunburn on a rainy day. I don't even know why I'd want that: I tan easily and am a fish in the water: it would be agony to be her. She also had a really tall bed that you needed a chair to reach, a broken leg, and, in the same year, CHICKEN POX so bad that when the cast was finally taken off her leg, she still had the little red dots UNDER THE CAST.
Amanda also had braces. And glasses.
And everything that Amanda had, I wanted.
Within a year after Amanda had all these things in the same year, I, too, got braces. And chicken pox. I never did get the tall bed, or, to date, the broken leg, but a few years later, I did need prescription glasses. I chose a really lame frame: white, pointy, with sparkles. Very.. girly. And now I wear contacts.
So when a guy named Tommy sent me a really nice email, before fashion week, asking if I'd like to interview Gok Wan about his new line of Specsavers spectacle frames, and I'd be gifted a pair of said frames, my first thought was 'well I don't really wear glasses - sunglasses, yes, but I"m not the spectacle type' and then 'I don't even watch his shows.' But Tommy was so sweet about it, I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I said yes.
They held the event the day after fashion week ended, in the Soho Hotel, and I was just shattered with exhaustion, but I said I'd go, so go I did. The Soho Hotel, by the way, is GORGEOUS. I didn't know a soul apart from Carrie (shown above). Which I was glad about: I was feeling a bit Gok-shy.
Turns out tho that I had nothing to worry about: he was really accessible, really nice. We asked him all kinds of questions and, unscripted, he answered them with grace and charm. He told us an early memory of trying on his dad's glasses, how his dad was his style icon, and how he felt different, more confident, by wearing them. His influence for this line was the 50s and 60s and as a result of the event, I was totally on board, not just about Gok as a man (I really like him!) but also on the idea of wearing glasses as accessory.
Have you noticed that people are starting to wear glasses again? Is that just a UK thing? Kind of geek chic? Even if they don't need them: like a hat, or a cocktail ring. Not that anyone ever NEEDS a cocktail ring.. oh, you know what I mean.
So a few Sundays ago, we set out in our car, with my thank you voucher, headed for Specsavers on Tottenham Court Road. Only the UMS car broke down in front of Harvey Nicks. Actually, right in front of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, where I've hung out with my niece when my brother is here on tour (how ironic is that: Gok's dad is Chinese). While we could have easily walked home from there, we couldn't leave the car, and AA couldn't tow it at first, so we were there a total of FIVE HOURS - in the unheated car - and as a result I caught a flu bug. But the car did get towed, and thank goodness, is on the mend, as am I.
Which brings us to yesterday. We went again, by car, this time to North End Road. This time, there was a football match on. We were thinking that maybe God just DID NOT WANT US TO GET THESE GLASSES. But we eventually found a parking space, and met a lovely optometrist named Alex, and the Dotman got his specs (I love the frames he chose: classic little round ones, shown above) and I even realised I can switch my daily disposables to Specsavers, with a savings of about 27% monthly.
But to make it even weirder: just as I was leaving, altho I hadn't brought my camera, I thought I'd take a few shots with my lovely Samsung phone camera (we've got the NOW project party on Thursday). A stylish girl was trying on Gok's frames and I asked if I could shoot her. Gave her my card and she looked at me and said 'You shot me and my mum outside the V&A.' Her name is Cordelia and I remember it well, even tho it was like a year or more ago, but I remember they looked AMAZING. But here's the weird part: when I do a search on my own blog, a million posts come up for the V&A, but not theirs. I can't find their photos anywhere.
Anyway: I woke up this morning and the first thing my husband said was 'I'm really excited about those glasses.' He's really thinking of changing his style around those specs. Which is just what Gok was talking about. How the frames around our eyes really can metaphorically frame how we see the world.
It's taken me forever to put this post together and it's a really shaggy dog story and I don't know the point. Perhaps the moral of the story is you never know about people, because now I watch Gok's show and I really really like him, or perhaps the point is: if someone invites you to do something you'd not normally do, give it a shot, show up, you never know, you might learn something.
In any case, I'm glad I went to Specsavers.
Thank you to Tommy, Candace and Richard, and the folks at Specsavers for inviting me, throwing a lovely party, and for possibly changing Mr. Dot's life. Thank you to Alex, my new optometrist. And of course, a special thanks to my good friend Gok. Check out his new range, it's lovely, like he is.