Designer Kerin Rose is the creator of a-morir, a hot eyewear collection worn by the likes of Lady GaGa, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Will.I.Am, Snoop Dogg, Fergie, Ke$ha and Courtney Love… to name a few.
But Kerin Rose is also xoJane editor Emily McCombs’ former college dormmate. And since they’re used to borrowing each other’s shit, Kerin lent Emily several of her most expensive and elaborate sunglasses -- the kind you’d typically see in a music video, fashion editorial or on stage at a Lady Gaga concert -- so that we could use them in our “I’ll Try Anything Once” section.
Location 1: POST OFFICE
The next morning I put on a pair of silver sunglasses with large spikes jutting out of my eyes and headed to the Post Office near my apartment. I thought for sure this would warrant some attention. While a few people noticed me, no one, not even the bored middle-aged postal worker, seemed to be remotely alarmed.
“Any liquids, gels or hazardous materials?” she asked.
“Define hazardous materials?” I said, leaning in with my spikes.
“Explosives, flammable gases, anthrax.”
“Oh, no, nothing like that.” She stamped my package and gestured for me to hurry up and move along.
Walking out into the street I noticed a beautiful Asian woman in a bright yellow school-girl outfit. On top of her head she’d fashioned a hat made out of a real bicycle wheel. I live in the East Village, it occurred to me, nothing is too weird here.
LOCATION 2: CATHOLIC CHURCH
I needed to amp it up and because I was raised with a tremendous amount of religious propriety, I decided there’d be no place more inappropriate than a church.
I cautiously entered a Catholic cathedral wearing the most blinged-out glasses in the bag. It felt wrong. As I approached the massive crucifix, I thought of the bible story where Jesus threw people off the temple grounds for selling merchandise and being too gaudy. Certain this would happen to me, I practically jumped when the groundskeeper asked if I needed help.
I told him I wanted to light a candle. Not only did he show me how to do it. He helped me pose for these two pictures: I know it’s not really a popular time to do this, but I’m kind of considering converting to Catholicism as a result.
LOCATION 3: MEDICAL SCHOOL GRADUATION AT CARNEGIE HALL
From the church, I got on the subway and headed up to my friend Hamid’s Med School Graduation at Carnegie Hall. I say friend, but actually I used to be totally in love with him, like “he’s the one who got away” style.
At the graduation I’d be sitting with his entire (Iranian) family, what better way to make an impression than a-morir’s voodoo-inspired glasses?
Carnegie Hall was filled with people in their most graduation appropriate attire. The pomp and circumstance began. I stood for the national anthem waiting for their disapproval. But, to my surprise, Hamid’s mother loved my sunglasses so much that she wanted to know where she could get a pair. (Here.)
When I showed them the other pairs I’d worn that day, they were completely on board. As Hamid walked down the isle to collect his diploma he passed four of us in Gaga glasses and paused just long enough to say, in a monotone voice, “Really?”
LOCATION 4: PENSKE RENT-A-TRUCK
Of all the glasses, the SEXY pair were the hardest to see through. So the next morning I decided to try and rent a large truck, either box-truck or semi, while wearing them.
I thought for sure they’d stop me, seeing as my vision was obscured. But no, not only did they rent me a box-truck (which I have no experience driving) at one point the guy behind the counter said (somewhat flirtatiously might I add) “Can you actually see out of those?” to which I replied, “Not really, but what I do see, I like.” I winked at him for full impact.
Ten minutes later, still wearing the glasses, I drove off the lot in my very own giant Penske truck (which I returned a quick 30 minutes later).
LOCATION 5: PILATES
I decided to make the last stop personal: I hate working out in public -- I’m the idiot who’d rather run in the park after midnight than let people watch me jog.
It’s not because I have crippling body issues, someone made fun of the way I worked out ONCE -- and I’ve carried it with me ever since. It happened in sixth grade. I was doing a push-up in gym glass and Anna Kaufman, one of the popular girls, said that I looked like I was humping the floor. Everyone laughed. I’ve never done a public push-up since.
Wearing my final pair of a-morir glasses, I headed to The Fitness Guru, a Pilates studio in Dumbo, for a one on one session. When I arrived there was a group Pilates class in the main room, directly across from all the equipment. I took a deep breath, put my sunglasses on and started my session.
I’d chosen to wear the "gypsy" glasses because I thought they’d be the most ridiculous to try to work out in (they were, on more than one occasion the fringe got caught). But as I was working out it occurred to me the real reason I’d picked them: They perfectly described my relationship to working out in public -- If I have to do it, I’d prefer that my face be covered. And yet standing up on the reformer (Pilates term for the thing that looks like a doctor’s examination table) with a room full of people staring at me, I felt oddly liberated.
Who cares? I thought, Go ahead, look at me.
I was reminded of something my best friend Kevin once told me: He used to be the maitre d at Nobu, where the guests were constantly giving him grief. One day he had Lasik eye surgery and for two weeks he had to wear dark sunglasses to work. He went from being treated like shit to being the shit. People were too intimidated to complain, and no matter what table he gave them, they appreciated it. Why? Because anyone bold enough to wear sunglasses at night, had to be someone important.
Perhaps this is why people break through barricades just to get close to Lady Gaga. They want her confidence -- and with it the freedom to do whatever they want in life. Either that, or they want to steal her sunglasses.