One big reason Gabrielle Carteris plays Andrea on Beverly Hills, 90210? Her glasses. ”I wore them to my audition,” says the 31-year-old, astigmatic actress. ”Now kids are buying glasses because I’m wearing them. They think it’s hip — they like it that Andrea wears glasses and is comfortable with them.”
Hollywood has always looked at the world through rose-colored glasses, but these days it’s also looking through round ones, square ones, vintage ones, and even ones with moving parts. Glasses are becoming ”the most important costume accessory,” says Cheryl Shuman, a Los Angeles optician and consultant who admittedly has a special slant on the matter: She has provided frames for more than 2,000 movies, TV shows, and music videos, and, she claims, directors now see that specs are an ”important part of describing a character’s personality.”
Before you accuse Shuman of having tunnel vision, consider some of her current designs:
*Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Gary Oldman’s blue-tinted Victorian pince-nez frames.
*Malcolm X: Denzel Washington’s severe early-’60s specs.
*A Few Good Men: Demi Moore’s vintage frames, re-created from a pair she found in a thrift shop.
*Chaplin: Robert Downey Jr.’s turn-of-the-century spectacles.
*90210: Carteris’ contemporary cat-eye frames with an interchangeable plastic top that she can switch to match her outfits.
It looks like the retro look will soon spread beyond the big and small screens, too. Starting Dec. 15, Shuman will be appearing on the cable shopping channel QVC, hawking the 90210 frames — as well as styles from the upcoming movies Calendar Girl (Jason Priestley) and Nowhere to Run (Jean-Claude Van Damme). She’ll also be selling Candice Bergen’s new Murphy Brown horn-rims (along with her shades) and Nick Nolte’s rimless specs from Cape Fear, expected to be hugely popular. On a QVC test show last year, Shuman sold 5,000 Nolte frames in 2.5 minutes. So if you can’t look like the stars, you will at least be able to see like them.