the gok and eye

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.


Pearl Westwood said...

Aw that so nice of you letting Mr Dott get the freebies. I have spent two occasions trying on glasses and getting all excited, then not actually needing them 20/20 vision! But now as you say you can get fashion glasses without prescriptions. Mind you saying that I have problems finding sunglasses which dont hurt my nose so I am glad I don't actually need glasses after all! xx

SabinePsynopsis said...

Aaahh, so Gok & Jill, so cute. Couldn't you become his new sidekick in his show? I'd love that. And glasses... I've got 'driving glasses' (every time I wear them I'm quite shocked how much better I see) and I do think they make a very nice accessoire. xoxo

the nyanzi report said...

Can I just say that bus 14 passes through South Ken and goes all the way to Warren Street through Tottenham Court Road. Surely you don't need to be driving in central London with all the stresses of parking and getting fined or worse, your car breaking down in Knightsbridge! That's a ridiculously busy junction!

Anyway that's how I feel. I just thought I should put it out there.

Back to the subject of today's post. I love the way Specsavers has positioned itself in the UK eyewear market with it's unforgettable catchy adverts, celebrity endorsements and thus obliterating everybody else in this sector. They're all playing catch up to it. Just like what the Coca Cola company has done in the soft drinks industry.


so cool photos!

Veshoevius said...

Oh wow! I love Gok Wan, his tv series are so great - I would love to meet him. As for glasses as accessories - I agree if you have to wear something all the time on your face make sure it looks good - but the whole hipster thing of wearing glasses with non prescription lens for the sake of appearing trendy strikes me as taking things a little too far.

San said...

Lovely post and I noticed it too about people wearing glasses again. When I was a kid I had to wear glasses and it always made me the outsider. Since I'm about 20 I don't have to wear them anymore and I'm glad about it, I only wear them for driving a car, because it says so in my license.

And I totally like Gok Wan, I first saw him on this comedy show where the guest is the presenter. Friday or Sunday Night show or something like that.

By the way, I started a blog-series called "Keep Japan in Mind Friday", every Friday for the next 8 weeks I post a pic of a thing that I associate with Japan. Would you like to join with your blog? It starts this Friday on my syndicated photo blog http://chrissanphotographers.blogspot.com/.
All it takes is a pic of a thing or maybe even a person or a show you associate with Japan and you post it on Friday on your blog. Easy, no?
I felt this Friday is needed since in Germany the media cares more for the dead polar bear in the Berlin Zoo than for the Japanese people and their struggles. Which is just embarrassing, no wonder I choose to get my news from bbc.co.uk/news and not any german site.

While I'm at it. Love your collages with cherry blossoms. Have a great week.

Shopgirl said...

I only recently found out I needed to wear glasses and was so upset at the prospect!!! I have never been one to want to wear them. But now I quite like them! And am even thinking of expanding my collection. These frames from Gok look good. Lucky you meeting the man himself!!!

(PS Will also be at the Now Project party on Thursday! Maybe see you there?) xx

mtg said...

You're beautiful, Jill! Love that picture of you in mint green blouse. I got rid of my glasses several years ago. I kept breaking them (like I sat on them one time) and it was getting too expensive to replace them every time. And I cannot stand contact lenses! So we splurged and I had Lasik eye surgery. Best thing I've ever done! Wonderful Dr. Ming Wang in Nashville, Tn - he is one of the best in the world. It was totally worth it!

mtg said...

Don't get me wrong, I like glasses on others, I just could not stand them on me anymore. Kids constantly pulling them off me and not being able to swim in the pool, and foggy lenses and all. I know, I know.. life was so tough! LOL

Anonymous said...

Such a funny and honest post and really interesting too. I've always thought of him as the guy who does a fashion show on tv and is always a bit too nice to everyone so it's good to get a true life description of him.

Alexandra Thérèse xx