The 23-year-old model Gigi Hadid stands nearly six feet tall donning a vibrant orange pantsuit, makeup to match and a cool confidence. Hadid’s impressive resumé boasts features in the iconic Pirelli Calendar; campaigns for Tom Ford, Fendi and Stuart Weitzman; runways shows for Marc Jacobs, Max Mara and Chanel; appearances in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and dozens of magazine covers. But, to my surprise, it’s not these accolades that inspire Hadid’s undeniable confidence. “You can look at this as kind of sad or kind of not, but when the world around me starts to get really crazy and I wake up and there are 50 cameras outside my house, my glasses are like my shield. They make me feel more confident and make me feel like I can go out and face the world,” Hadid says of her must-have accessory: sunglasses.
Though a California girl at heart, Hadid moved to New York City after high school and since then, the style icon has been collecting sunglasses to shield herself from paparazzi or to simply amp up her fashion statements. With more than 500 pairs in her arsenal, Hadid admits that her very first shades were plastic Barbie brand sunglasses. “Even as a kid I always wore little glasses with different colored lenses,” she adds, referencing her trademark small-frame sunnies. With a passion for style and creativity running thick in her genes (Hadid’s father, Mohamed Hadid, is an architect and her mother, Yolanda Hadid, is a former model and interior designer), Hadid was destined to design.
Hadid brought her style expertise to Vogue Eyewear in 2017 and began collaborating on new frames. For their third collection, launching this season, Hadid aimed to capture the essence of Manhattan. “Walking around [Manhattan] and seeing everyone’s personal style and how everyone is so brave to be themselves inspires me,” Hadid says of the Gigi Hadid x Vogue Eyewear Special Collection.
Hadid is no stranger to creative collaborations. From designing the new FAO Schwarz toy soldier uniforms to her latest collection with Messika Jewelry, Hadid has proved she is more than just a former Baby Guess model. On her third collection with Vogue Eyewear, Hadid says, “I think it’s about going with your gut and trusting yourself. Not only with eyewear, but with every collaboration, each season I get more and more confident in my intuition and going with that because that’s usually what leads to what I’m excited about.”
The 10-piece assemblage reveals funky shapes, eclectic color ways and a bit of New York City glam. With a pair named after Hadid’s sister Bella; a pair dubbed Yola after Hadid’s mom; Taura after Hadid’s astrological sign, Taurus; and Highline, SoHo, 23rd Street and Lafayette all after Manhattan locales, the collection is a snapshot of Hadid’s life in her favorite fashion capital.
The styles range from larger-than-life shield frames to petite cat eye silhouettes, allowing Hadid to explore new trends and redefine some older ones. “If you chose it yourself and you’re happy about it, you shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks,” Hadid says of wearing something outside of your typical style box. “I don’t have to stay in the same look every single day. I can wake up girly one day, sporty the next or artsy or weird. My glasses help me portray that,” she decides.
As Hadid animatedly tries on each of the shades from her collection, she checks herself in a mirror approvingly, leveling up in confidence after every pair. She struggles to choose a favorite and eventually decides it’s a 10-way tie. “I love seeing what other people feel in them and what other people have as their favorites. Every day when I see them on someone else I get more excited about them which is my favorite part about designing,” the Vogue Eyewear collaborator admits.
Hadid’s final style tip? “Wear whatever makes you feel badass.” Coming from the stunner in the orange pantsuit, that’s advice I’d take.