karen walker via mintshop.com.au
Designers the world over love to spruik the names of celebs who wear their clothes. Just how much of that is the result of PR, paid product placement or of course ‘gifting - the means via which fashion companies get their products seen on opinion leaders via freebies – is frequently very hard to gauge. But here is one example of designer fandom that has nothing to do with any spin or graft. On Saturday night I attended a quite memorable birthday party in Melbourne for a very dear friend (Randal Marsh). Of the plethora of other architects and artistes in attendance, I was seated next to Allan Powell.
Powell is a distinguished Melbourne architect whose award-winning oeuvre includes Monash University’s Performing Arts Precinct, The TAFE School of Design at RMIT, The TarraWarra Museum of Art and a slew of high profile residential and restaurant projects, from Crigan House to The Prince of Wales Hotel, The Albert Park Hotel, Caffé Maximus, Café di Stasio and DiStasio Vineyard.
As it turns out, Powell is quite the fashionisto as well. And I don’t mean that he was wearing a Dior Homme suit (as was Melbourne galeriste, Murray White). Powell’s sartorial style - at least as observed by frockwriter on Saturday evening - could be described as old-school elegance. In other words he was wearing a classic, conservative men’s suit.
Imagine my surprise then, when, during our dinner chit-chat, Powell recounted with some enthusiasm how he had recently spotted an image of a particular pair of Karen Walker sunglasses - and became so enamoured with the product, he hunted down a stockist to snap up a pair for himself. I got the impression that this process had taken quite some time. The sunglasses boasted pink frames in what Powell described as a “Wayfarer” style.
Although Walker has made a few different styles of sunglasses with pink frames, frockwriter understands that only the Deep Freeze style, which does include a “milky pink” colourway, has a Wayfarer look (pictured above).
Sadly Powell’s Karen Walker love affair ended all too abruptly.
Shortly after the glasses were delivered, the sunglasses were snaffled up by Powell’s 20 year-old son Hugo - who is studying architecture.
“I just loved them” noted Powell, wistfully.