Robert Verdi believes that when it comes to sunglasses, “you need a bowl of them like you need a bowl of jellybeans on Easter.” It’s fitting that the celebrity stylist/television personality has designed a namesake line of shades since he's never seen without his trademark pair perched on top of his head. Sold exclusively on HSN, the collection launches today and every piece is priced at under $30. Given that Verdi is known for his designer taste, we spoke to him about how his pieces compare to higher-end labels, how to shop for sunglasses, his take on wearing shades indoors, and more.
The Fashion Spot: How did sunglasses come to be one of your signatures?
Robert Verdi: I was insecure about being bald, so I started wearing sunglasses on my head to disguise my baldness. Obviously nobody ever figured out I was bald, and everyone thought the sunglasses looked great.
tFS: How did the partnership with HSN come about?
RV: I love the way HSN develops brands and celebrates really cool designers, whether they are established or emerging. HSN gives a good idea a great stage and is the shopping wave of the future, so I approached them to be the exclusive retailer for my sunglasses.
tFS: You are known for your discerning taste in fashion and home. How do these sunglasses compare to the designer ones you are usually wearing?
RV: The glasses are inspired by lifestyle and personalities of the fabulous women in my life. My sunglasses are really affordable, but they have many of the elements or details that the more expensive designer frames have including coordinating temple tips, adjustable nose pads, very rich colors, UV protective lenses, a molded nose bridge and walking nose pads.
tFS: Tips for finding the right sunglass shape for your face shape?
RV: The simplest explanation is this: go against whatever your face shape is. So whatever your face shape is, you should wear a complementary frame that has the opposite qualities. So if your face is very angular, you wear a soft shaped frame. If you have a soft round face, wear a very angular frame. If you have a square face, an oval or cat eye shape is great. If you have an oblong face, you can wear a round or square looks great. If you have a round face, wear wider with angular shapes. For an oval face like mine, any frame works. If you have a diamond shaped face with a wider cheekbone, narrow forehead and narrow chin, an oval is great or even a rimless frame looks good.
tFS: What's your take on wearing shades indoors? Is it ever acceptable?
RV: One of the reasons women need a wardrobe of sunglasses is to address this issue. There are some days where they are not in full makeup but they want to be as fabulous and stylish as they can be and glasses are the secret to style success. So, you can wear frames indoors as long as people can see your eyes – unless you are a superstar and don't want to make eye contact with anyone, in which case you can wear a really opaque lens.
tFS: Is there such a thing as too much to spend on sunglasses?
RV: How much you should spend should be based on how you personally value sunglasses. I've been collecting sunglasses, so there are some vintage ones that are not made anymore that are just so fantastic both in terms of design and material that there is no such thing as too much to spend on them. I love and value them as objects of design, but if you are using sunglasses as pieces of fashion, you need a bowl of them like you need a bowl of jellybeans on Easter and they should be more affordable, which is why I made all my sunglasses on HSN under $30.
tFS: How many pairs of shades do you own? Can you tell us about some of your favorites?
RV: At the height I had 1,500. I probably have 300 now. Some of my favorites include the Louis Vuitton Millionaire frame, some Vintage Porsche Shields that I have, and a pair designed by Jeremy Scott for Linda Farrow that are the shape of TV screens.
tFS: Have you been wearing shades from your HSN line? What pair is your favorite?
RV: Yes! My two favorite styles for me are the June that I've been wearing in clear, the Eva that I've been wearing in every color and the McKenzie, which is a great sunglass for every guy!
Watch Verdi launch his first ever collection on HSN, February 22 at 10 PM and February 23 at 7 AM and 5 PM (all times EST).