One sunny day at Disneyland, LA, earlier this year, Kate Moss who, like Delia Smith can sell 50,000 of anything just by smiling in its direction, tried to avoid paparazzi while wearing a pair of distinctly geeky-looking white-framed Ray-Ban Wayfarers. That's all it took.
Now, Scarlett Johansson and Liv Tyler both have a pair in blue; The Devil Wears Prada star Anne Hathaway has an acid-pink, mirrored pair; Rachel Bilson, of OC fame, wears hers oversized, in green; greedy Sienna Miller has two pairs, one red, one blue; Lily Allen's are pale blue and Paris Hilton's are white, like Kate's. That's some celebrity endorsement.
And, in a further cunning PR strategy, Ray-Ban is now getting the boys to join in the trend, too, by hitting the music festival scene, and doling out free white pairs to performing bands. The musicians get the of-the-moment shades gratis, while the brand gets free advertising of the most powerful kind.
Wayfarers (invented in 1952 by optical designer Raymond Stegeman and intended for pilots) have always been bright and lightweight; they were, after all, the first sunglasses to enter the brave new world of plastic, rather than metal, frames.
The revival of these glasses, which have been worn by everyone from Audrey Hepburn to John Lennon, started when Ray-Ban, encouraged by the popularity of vintage Wayfarers among tastemakers such as Chloë Sevigny, brought the design out of retirement to coincide with the company's 70th anniversary. Last summer Selfridges reported sales of Wayfarers skyrocketing by 231 per cent on 2006. This year sales continued to surge, up by 40 per cent.
These glasses aren't particularly sleek or sophisticated. They're a bit nerdy. They're probably best worn by teenagers. But they also reflect the essential summertime feeling of wearing shades in the UK – seeing as it's the only time you really need dark glasses in this country. As Don Healey sang in his 1984 hit "Boys of the Summer": "You've got that hair slicked back and the Wayfarers on..."