By and  on March 28, 2005

NEW YORK — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is credited with making famous the big plastic sunglass styles that became so popular last year, although she never saw them in colors like these.

At the recent Vision Expo East show held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center here, it was clear that oversized plastic frames will still be in for summer, but they will come in a range of colors outside of the traditional black and tortoise. Some came in white, others paired metallics with neutrals in two-tone styles and many had temples treated to pop-color stripes and detailing.

With some early spring styles already in stores, vendors said they are optimistic about business this year. Women are beginning to wardrobe their sunglasses, meaning that they’re buying more than one pair to coordinate with different looks.

“The luxury end of the business is excellent,” said Mark Ugenti, vice president of sales at Safilo Group, which licenses Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs, among others. “We expect to have a very good year based on all the new product.”

Designer Robert Marc said, “People want things that are special and exclusive.”

Marc introduced his Kalahari collection that was inspired by the African desert of the same name. The square, plastic white, red and tortoise-shell frames featured a giraffe pattern on the inside in colors such as sage green and garnet.

“It’s like a fabulous lining in an opera coat,” Marc said. “It’s that quiet sense of luxury.”

Kate Spade’s tortoiseshell sunglasses were striped inside, mimicking the linings of her bags. Blocks of color appeared on the outside of some frames.

Prada showed a modified plastic aviator style, as did many others, with bold frontal stripes resembling Neapolitan ice cream. Missoni offered a solid black frame with signature striped temples and two-tone frames in cherry red and milky white. At Oscar de la Renta, the colorblocking wasn’t so stark, but shades of red bled into yellow on its oversize plastic frame.

Clear plastic also showed up as an accent, appearing in lines from Jones New York, Alain Mikli and Face a Face.

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