Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Gemma tries it on: 'I'm in the market for a new pair of summer shades'


I have the best sunglasses. Over the years I have amassed a small collection, from the humble (black and red Ray-Ban wayfarers, aviators and oversize vintage styles), to more over-the-top ones, such as my black scroll Prada pair which make me look a bit like Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka – or the star-shaped Miu Miu frames which don't actually feel as if they shade my eyes at all, but do make me look like Elton John. And as those who know me will attest, I think this is a rather brilliant thing. I heart the Rocket Man.

My favourite pair of all though is gold and glittery – very 'me' apparently – and of course they are also by my much-adored Miu Miu. They've gone down very well with strangers and friends alike over the past year. I was in Brazil last week for work, and while I would be devastated if I lost or broke the aforementioned frames, I decided after that short spell in the sun that I'm in the market for a new pair of summer shades.

While I dress quite conservatively, I don't mind going a bit wacky with sunglasses; after all, if I feel like a total fool I can just take them off and I'm back to my boring old self. Plus, you have the safety of the lenses to hide behind, giving you that extra bit of confidence needed when outside your fashion comfort zone. Sunglasses are as important an accessory as a handbag or shoe – just ask Anna Wintour.

First to catch my eye was Australian designer Karen Walker's new eyewear collection (karenwalkereyewear.com). Well in fact it was the campaign to be more precise; photographed by Ari Seth Cohen and modelled by three glittering New Yorkers aged between 65 and 92. The collection aims to celebrate eternal optimism: well, it certainly makes me smile, and I hope I look that good and happy when I'm knocking 70.

The glasses themselves range from the over-the-top – crystal frames, or oversized square shades – to more subtle numbers. But I think I've settled on the tortoiseshell 'anytime' pair with Fifties styling. And what better way to hide my tears? After 10 years, I'm bidding adieu to The Independent and am off to try it on someplace else. Cheerio readers, it's been a pleasure.