Shopping: The thing about...Coloured contact lenses

Serena Mackesy
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:27

There's a scene in Thelma and Louise where the Susan Sarandon character confronts her boyfriend. "Remember when we first met?" she asks. "What happened?"

"I said you had a nice pair of eyes," he replies.

"And what did I say?"

"You shut them and asked me if I knew what colour they were."

"And what did you say?"

"I didn't know."

Susan covers his eyes with her hand and says "Jimmy, what colour are my eyes?"

"They're brown."

I've been replaying this scene over the past three weeks with all my old friends. "What colour are my eyes, honey?" I say smiling penetratingly. "They're gr-" they say, and then look startled. "My God, they're blue."

One can change practically anything these days. The only thing one can't do is make oneself is shorter. Some things - noses, body shape, self-esteem - cost an arm and a leg. Make-up can perform miracles on even the weariest career girl. Elegance contact lenses carry this alteration to its furthest extreme: they change the very essence of your being.

Coloured lenses have been on the market for some time, but the thing about Elegance is their claim to have taken the product one step further. The secret, they say, is in the "unique defining ring", a sliver of black around the edge of the iris, which adds a three-dimensional look to something that has hitherto had the drawback of looking bizarrely flat. They come in "opaque": dark and light blue, dark and light green, grey and hazel, and "Natural Touch enhancers": no colour, but the black line in place. Beautiful eyes, apparently, have this ring - think of Kirstie Alley.

So why would anyone want to change their eye colour? Well, there are two reasons: vanity and curiosity. Some people do, after all, have sludge- coloured eyes, and beautiful people are always spoken of as having some strongly defined aural colour. And one's perceptions of personalities can be surprisingly strongly affected by their eye colour. I've always found blue eyes rather inscrutable, brown eyes gentle, green eyes cat- like. I once knew a chap with gold eyes and they were absolutely mesmerising: the most seductive thing I've ever seen.

What I've always coveted is a pair of phosphorescent lenses like they wear in vampire movies, but Elegance doesn't do that, so I opted for bright blue. A nice man called David Raz, who has premises on the Old Brompton Road in London, fitted me with them and talked me through their care. The first sight of my new image was quite upsetting: like a new haircut, it took some getting used to. I didn't like it, actually. I had no idea before how much of my personality was wrapped up in my eyes.

Still, I persevered. Did anyone notice? Well, yes and no. Oddly, the most noticeable change was that people started calling me blonde. I have been wearing the lenses on and off for a while, and have been accused of everything from dyeing my hair to wearing more makeup. A couple of people have remarked on how "calm" I'm looking. No one, until it's pointed out, has spotted what the actual change has been, though many have noticed that there has been one.

The second evening after I got the lenses, I went down the road to meet my buddies, and spent the evening gazing at people and batting my lashes. The trouble is, I'm not used to contacts and after a couple of hours in a smoky bar I was beginning to be aware of them. Mark came in. I sashayed over. "Mark. What colour are my eyes?" He flicked his gaze toward me, then back to the rest of the room. "They're red," he said.

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