is it worth it? : Ain't no sunshine when they're on

They may cost pounds 220, but then German designer Jil Sander's new range of sunglasses has the style and engineering of a top-of-the-range Audi

The competition is hotting up for sunglasses this season, with every design house launching new ranges as high-street shops produce stylish, cheap and adequate alternatives.

Jil Sander is a German designer who successfully combines understated style with Teutonic precision. So, it's no surprise that her first range of sunglasses has the engineering of a top-of-the-range Audi. They are a microcosm of European skill: designed in Germany, hand-made in France by optician-to-the-stars Alain Mikli, and presented in a beautifully understated case from Italy. "Jil advises Alain on what she wants," explains Marie Claude Issarder at Alain Mikli. "These sunglasses are the result of their collaboration, so you get the best of both worlds." Two designers for the price of one, now that's a bargain.

I showed them to a product-designer friend who went into fits of When- Harry-Met-Sally-style ecstasy over their small but perfect form. It's difficult to describe technological poetry, but here goes. They are speckled silver with a thin band of metal running through the middle of the frame, which thickens towards the outside edge so the sun can't get to your eyes from the side. The plastic bits that rest on the side of your nose twizzle for a perfect fit and screws the size of microchips hold it all together. It's like wearing a mini Clifton Suspension Bridge on your nose, but far more comfortable. The oval, dark green lenses flatter everyone (it's not hard to get friends to try on pounds 220 worth of designer specs) and the clarity of vision in bright sunlight is excellent. So, why are they so good? "This model is made from cellulose acetate with ceramic coating, which is new technology in sunglasses" says Marie Claude. "The lenses have UV 400 protection and are made from CR39 plastic."

Well, that sounds marvellous, but is it necessary to have Isambard Kingdom Brunel's life's work on your nose? "The most important thing is that they give you good UV protection," says Dr Louise Culham, head of optometry at Moorfields Eye Hospital. "UV 400 is the standard level of protection that sunglasses should have against harmful UV rays. You can get sunglasses with UV 400 protection for pounds 20, but CR39 plastic is good because it has properties which protect against UV rays. Basically, you should look for sunglasses which protect all around the eye."

Police make a good pair of black and chrome sunglasses at pounds 89.90 which look similarly hi-tech at first sight. But they are not really in the same league, although they are comfortable, stylish and would make a good, cheaper alternative to the Jil Sander marvels.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links