Spike Lee's Glasses: A Master at the Lens

Spike Lee's Glasses: A Master at the Lens

Since the early 80s legendary director, Spike Lee has been pumping out films filled with the kind of magic that keeps cinema fresh and relevant.

Dedicated to the black civil rights movements since the start, his string of seminal hits in the 80s and 90s celebrated black culture in a way that was new and exciting and helped bring important conversations to the cultural foreground. Today, aged 61, it doesn’t look like Spike’s planning on retiring any time soon. Fresh off the back of a load of big wins this award season for his cutting and hilarious flick, Blackkklansman, his eye for wit and wisdom is apparently as acute as it ever has been.

'He’s always managed to push that envelope a little bit further with a showreel of seriously well-selected eyewear'

What’s maybe less well known about Lee, though, is that on the other side of the lens he’s a bit of a master at making big statements through his own style too. Taking influence from, and working on music videos with some of the biggest names in 90s hip-hop, his style has historically leaned towards the casual, the baggy and the sportswear orientated over the years. But, he’s always managed to push that envelope a little bit further with a showreel of seriously well-selected eyewear. From the oversized round glasses of his youth to the brightly coloured but more refined frames he’s opting for today, Spike’s got a very, very good eye for eyewear.

As he’s recently been doing alright for himself at this year’s award season, we thought it was high time that we too recognised Spike Lee for his services to eyewear. As well as having a flick through his Insta and picking out some of his sharpest looks, we had a think about what directorial pointers you could take from Mr Lee for selecting your next pair of frames. Ready? Action!!

Pick a palette and roll with it... 

Monochrome might be the better choice for straight-out-of-cinema-college drama/comedies like She’s Gotta Have It, but as far as eyewear goes, we think a bit of colour can work wonders. Whether it’s for sprinkling some subtle hues into your work wardrobe, or as the vibrant cherry on an already statement-strutting cake, frames that go big with colour go big on personality too.

Take Spike’s purple homage to Prince this award season for example. In a sea of black and white and bow ties, it takes guts to go purple, but when the gamble pays off, it sure does pay off. Purple trousers, purple jacket, purple shirt, purple tie and a pair of thick, slick, and purple acetate frames. The Purple One* would have been proud, that’s for sure.

*Hey! And if you’re a bit of a Prince fan, you might like Garrett Leight’s FH 17 collection. It’s the one where Garrett took a bit of inspiration from Prince’s ‘ability to mix masculine and feminine as fluidly as music genres.’ We liked it lots.

Keep Things Indie…

The bright lights and promises of the big names will always be tempting, but do you honestly think they’ll respect your artistic integrity when it comes down to it? For films, we’d guess it depends on the script, but as far as eyewear goes: We like to keep things indie.

A man that truly knows where it’s at, Spike Lee prefers specs that are forward-looking and uncompromisingly independent to boot, so we weren’t that surprised to hear he’s been a long time fan of Belgian eyewear designers, Theo. A brand that throws out more big colours and bold shapes than the Do the Right Thing opening credits, the funky Theo eyewitness frames Spike sported at the premiere of the aforementioned BlacKkKlansman movie really are just the tip of the brand’s off-the-wall iceberg. Reckon they might be your cup of tea? Dig a little deeper into Theo here.

Have a Clear Vision...

In a way, picking a pair of frames is a little bit like directing a multi-million pound blockbuster... bear with us on this. Before you set out, it’s important to have a vision. What is it that you want to say? And what’s the best way to go about saying that?

For this cover shoot for Time magazine, Spike couldn’t have made things clearer. Those chunky, clear frame aviator glasses are the specs of a man with a foot in the past and a finger on the pulse of now. In other words, a visionary. Does that sound a bit like you? We thought it might. You should take a look through our selection of icy modernist clear frame glasses then.

Finish in Style...

Would they be expecting this twist? From tortoiseshell to matte to something completely different, the finish of acetate is often a pretty good place to begin when selecting frames. They give them more depth on the second glance. They help make the frames a better fit with your character.

Would these electric blue rectangle frames of Spike’s be as shocking without those electrifying white speckled detail? We don’t think so.

Find Your Truth...

Spike Lee once said that, to him, ‘the most important thing is to be truthful.’ And that certainly hits some sort of metaphorical nail right on the noggin’ as far as we’re concerned. Whether your shooting films or picking spectacles, be big and confident, by all means, but be yourself first and foremost.

These dramatically oversized acetates couldn’t have been more perfect for Spike’s self-cast, sneaker-loving character, Mars Blackmon in She’s Gotta Have It, but does that mean they’re going to work for you too? Maybe, but also maybe not. If you’re ready to unleash the life-changing power of bold independent eyewear like Spike Lee but you’re not sure where to start, why don’t you book into a free style consultation here at Seen HQ for some tips from one of our very own experts? Contact us here to get one sorted.