Eva Longoria on wearing specs

Spectacles have an “empowering effect” on actress Eva Longoria. That’s her word, and it’s refreshing.

Gone are the days when wearing glasses was considered uncool. It’s now the reverse. So cool in fact that people are now wearing glasses without a prescription in them.

Longoria began wearing reading glasses four years ago and admits that at the time she thought, ‘wah, I’m getting old’. But then chased that thought away when she realised what a powerful accessory a pair of specs could be.

“I actually feel like Superman reversed. When I put my glasses on I feel like I can do anything,” Longoria says. “Because it’s usually to read something that is going to better my mind or educate me, so I feel empowered every time I put my glasses on.”

When we met for our interview at the Sofitel, Auckland she’s wearing a pair of striking frames designed for Specsavers by designer Collette Dinnigan. They are absolutely stunning on Longoria. She looks as though she was born wearing glasses, they suit her so well, and she wears them confidently. They are larger frames than she is used to, classic black “with a party inside” (gold glitter flakes decorate the inside rims).

Longoria has just jetted in from Sydney, Australia (where she was also a guest of Specsavers) and is here to help judge the Specsavers’ Spectacle Wearer of the Year competition in search of the New Zealander who wears their specs with style and confidence. The winner of the competition gets to fly to Los Angeles to visit the set of Longoria’s new TV show, Hot and Bothered, in which she plays the lead in a behind-the-scenes comedy about a Spanish soap opera. Only her character doesn’t speak Spanish and has to work with her ex-husband. “It’s a very dysfunctional work place comedy with really great characters,” says Longoria, who begins filming the series for MBC after her visit to New Zealand.

So what is she looking for in the winner? “I’m looking for a classic style but at the same time something that exudes confidence,” she says. “I love people’s aura coming through the photo when they upload the photo on the Facebook page. I’d like to see that they are really comfortable in their individual style and comfortable in their skin, and celebrating the fact that they are wearing glasses. And that comes through. You see it. Some people shrink behind their glasses, they put them on and they go ‘oh, okay’ [sighs]. I want to see the opposite of that. I want to see people lean into wearing spectacles.”

Her advice for finding the right specs is to go into a store and try on frames and different colours. She admits she has quite a few pairs – one on her nightstand, a pair in her purse, at the office, one in the car, and one for dinner.

“When I started wearing glasses I had to navigate that thing of ‘oh, glasses are an accessory. What do I want to look like? Do I want to look sexy? Do I want to look like a student? Do I want to look serious?” she says. “The great thing about Specsavers is they partner with different designers – Collette Dinnigan, Alex Perry and Max & Co – they’re creating some really funky stuff where you think ‘that’s so cool. That’s a really good twist on a classic frame’. I love this competition that celebrates that individual style and celebrates confidence by wearing glasses as opposed to shrinking and dimming your light behind it.”

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Mercedes-Benz Presents announcement

Fashion designer Kate Sylvester is now part of an exclusive club.

The official word was given at last night’s Champions of Fashion 2015 Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer Announcement red carpet cocktail event held at The French Kitchen, Auckland where Sylvester was named 2015 Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer.

An accolade she now shares with Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Badgley Mischka, Carla Zampatti, Monique Huillier and Dame Trelise Cooper.

Designers are chosen for their unique style, creative flair and quality craftsmanship. All receive support from Mercedes-Benz, including a sponsored runway space (in Sylvester’s case at this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week next month) and a car to drive.

The show will be an undisputed highlight at this year’s event.

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