My first encounter with glasses was through my mom. She tried all shapes and sizes out there: from her huge 90s frames perfectly coordinated to her equally huge perm to her current ones, that are round and modern (and a little hipster, ‘cause my mom is that cool).
It’s kind of crazy when you think about it. There are no other handicaps that are more glamorous than myopia and presbyopia. Every now and then, we spend hundreds of dollars to make them even more obvious. And pretty.
On my end, I started wearing glasses at the beginning of high school. When the optometrist told me I had bad vision, I pretended to be sad, but deep down, I was soooo happy. I felt special. (You don’t need a whole lot at that age.)
My first pair was incredibly uninteresting: rectangular and burgundy. It looked like it belonged to an old person, but it was mine; a 15-year-old Joëlle with braces. Don’t ask me why, but out of the zillion frames out there, I picked those ones, boring like a badly cut beige polyester jacket.
At the end of high school, I was ready for new glasses. I wanted something funkier. The lucky ones? White ones by Dolce & Gabanna (also thin and rectangular… why Joëlle, why?!) that came in a case that looked like a futuristic spaceship. Oh boy, I thought I was the coolest girl in town. (Town = Longueuil).
The moment I started studying fashion design at Lasalle College is roughly when I started having good tastes glasses wise. (I know, it took me a long time.) I have to thank my boyfriend from back then who pressured me into buying Persol frames, the Italian version of Rayban. They also triggered my delayed teenage crisis.
That’s when I cut my hair super short, shaved both sides, bought rainbow leggings and stuck my new glasses to my face which, eventually, became my trademark. The “wayfarer” shape was not yet an overused design, so I felt pretty special. You got it, I like feeling special.
It’s when I came back from a three-month stay in London that I bought my last pair: big square tortoise frames by Tom Ford. I have no idea with what money I bought those ones (I was pretty broke after living three months in Notting Hill), but I loved them too much to leave them behind.
Even if I haven’t bought optical glasses since then — I almost fully converted to lenses for the wellbeing of my bangs — I remain a fan of the optic world. I have too many sunglasses for my face and I dream about owning tons of beautiful glasses just to brag.
If you too are a fan of glasses of all kinds, your heart might skip a beat or two when you walk into Voskins boutique. The two addresses, one in Griffintown and another brand new one in the Mile End, carry obscure brands, sourced from Austria all the way to Japan. Each frame features an interesting detail, without ever being too much. In other words, if you’re looking for multicolored glasses with butterfly-shaped sides, you’re not at the right place. Good taste is clearly a priority here. Moreover, as the kind and extremely knowledgeable optic connaisseur Naomie Hadida told me, every brand has a unique story. Ask around when you go — it’s always nice to connect with your frames beyond aesthetics.
Voskins.com | 1338 Notre-Dame W St., Montreal, QC H3C 1K7 | 5431 St-Laurent Blvd., Montreal, QC H2T 1S5
All photos by Melika Dez