Guess What Karen Walker Shields Her Eyes From, Besides The Sun

It was oh-so-apparent last weekend at Coachella that every savvy gal under the desert sun had gulped down the Karen Walker Kool-Aid. Staring at us right in the face were crazy cat-eyes, technicolor eye-poppers, and even some filigree frames that won't officially debut until August (lucky duckies!).
Well, right before we embarked on that audio odyssey, we sat down with the eyewear ingenue for a preview of what we can exspect from her in the months to come. She very rarely hops the pond to come to Lala, so we felt very privileged to have a chat on the couch of her Chateau suite! And, she didn't hesitate to get cozy with us to share real insights (sorry, last one!) into what sends her into design overdrive, either. Read up on KW, her process, and her inspirations, and prepare to fall in love with the beautiful mind hiding behind the shades.

What’s on your to-do list while you're here in L.A.?
"I would like to check out Anthropologie, and see my apparel in the flesh on their floors. I’m dying to get over to TenOverSix as well. We’re staying at Shutters, and I heard that the spa has just been redone; I may just have to do a treatment or two!"

What type of girl do you have in mind when you design your sunnies?
"We have 70-year-old ladies wearing these! Any age, really. Someone who wants to have their character come through, and who has a strong sense of design and personality."

Which clothing designers do you love to see worn with your eyewear? "What I like about eyewear is that it can work with a lot of different looks. You can wear it with a Balenciaga dress, or something that is straight and very quirky. You can go anywhere, and we have a lot of different stores. We have over 200 stockists around the world, and they’re all very different. You could have something in one boutique that is very elegant, but in another you could find something that is very young, youthful, and playful. I think that’s how people want to dress — they want that flexibility."

Who have you seen rocking your shades that's set you over the moon?
"It seems every week I receive emails and photos. There was a really cute picture of Agyness Deyn wearing a bright orange pair with her blonde hair, which I loved. But I get excited seeing any girl wear them."


In Auckland, where you live, are you recognizable?
"I find that in my hometown, I do get stalked. People do a double-take. In Japan, there are tears and hyperventilating!"

What was your most recent purchase? "I bought a swimsuit from Marc Jacobs for my four year-old daughter. Imagine the winner of Miss Universe from 1988 — one shoulder is red, purple, blue, and white — that’s what it looks like!"
Does your daughter have your eye for design? "She’s starting to express herself in terms of what she wears. I remember when I was four, there was this dress that I wore all the time and I loved it, but my mother probably hated it!"
We have a funny question for you. "Well, your question can't be as weird as what I hear in Japan, like 'Will you sign my breast?' and 'What's your blood type?' Ha!
Okay, so besides the sun, what do you want to shield your eyes from the most? What mortifies you? "I was at a party — it was a nice event — and a grown man who should have known better was wearing flip-flops. Flip-flops should only be only worn poolside or at the beach! A 35-year-old man really should know better. So, I said something to him, and pointed out some shoes for him (because we were at a store) that would have been much more suitable. When I showed him the shoes, he thought I was giving them to him, hilarious!"

Photo: Courtesy of Karen Walker

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