Eyelgasses have gone from nerd necessity to fashion accessory. Shown, from left are pairs from Fiction, l.a. Eyeworks,  and Prada. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles
Eyelgasses have gone from nerd necessity to fashion accessory. Shown, from left are pairs from Fiction, l.a. Eyeworks, and Prada. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times/MCT) (Kirk McKoy)

'BESPOKETACLES' It's been a long time since wearing sunglasses was just about shading the eyes from the glare of the sun.

Just as often, that pair of Wayfarers, cat-eyes or aviators is used to create an air of inaccessibility and mystery. That's especially true among the celebrity set seeking a disguise and rock musicians trying to cultivate an anti-establishment vibe behind impenetrably inky or mirrored lenses.

But, thanks to the latest celebri-trend -- custom-made, lightly tinted lenses in light neutrals or pale pops of color -- sunglasses are no longer an accessory that looks cool at the beach or behind the wheel but affected indoors and elsewhere.

It's a subtle look, hard to notice at first. That is, unless the wearer is looking into the camera as Robert Downey Jr. did at the Oscars this year -- showing off his gray-tinted glasses en route to the stage.

But once it's brought to your attention, tinting can be seen everywhere.

The king of the custom-colored sunnies seems to be Downey. His eye-catching eyewear, each pair lightly custom-washed to a different tint, includes the Oliver Peoples Sheldrake frames with custom light-wash purple lenses he wore recently to "The Avengers" premiere.

Larry Leight, co-founder and creative director of Oliver Peoples, traces the demand for medium-- to lighter-tinted lenses to Jack Nicholson. The actor has made disappearing behind sunglasses -- the darker the better -- part of his signature look for decades. But occasionally, when the TV cameras cut to Nicholson court-side at Lakers games, he's wearing lenses so lightly colored his eyes can be seen following the action.

Although custom-tinted lenses have been an option for both prescription and non-prescription eyewear for years, an Oliver Peoples representative said the brand has noticed more of the famous faces they outfit requesting lighter versions to wear to high-profile events.

In addition to choosing the density of the dye job, Lissak says clients also specify the color from an extensive lens palette, often to match a particular outfit or accessory.

Vintage-inspired blue, green and rose washes are among the most popular.

Although bespoke spectacles ("bespoketacles"?) may sound like an extravagance, one needn't be paparazzi-dodgingly wealthy to afford the option, which at Oliver Peoples starts at about $100.

--Los Angeles Times