Glass teams up with Diane von Furstenberg and debuts in UK

Will high fashion branding and aviator-style shades transform Google Glass from geek to geek chic? That is the aim with Diane von Furstenberg-designed frames, as the device is released for sale in the UK.

Designer Diane von Furstenberg wears her Google Glass.

Google previously turned a blind eye to fashion when developing the technology for its Google Glass project. Before designers were included in the process, Google Glass lead designer Isabelle Olsson eloquently described the look of Glass:

“A scuba mask with a phone attached to it, with cables running down to a backpack.”

Now Google is going all high fashion with its first collaborative line, “DVF | Made for Glass” by designer Diane von Furstenburg. The aim is to make a geeky device cool through sleek frames, aviator style sunglasses, and a recognized designer’s stamp of approval. Will the ploy appeal to the high fashion crowds who have the funds to spend more than $1,500 on Glass, in hopes that trickle-down trends will bring the device into mainstream?

The frames are larger and thick-rimmed, in colors such as translucent blue, plum, and brown. Each frame also comes with complementary shades that transform the glasses into metallic, aviator-style sunglasses.

In a conversation with Ms. Olsson, Ms. Von Furstenberg says she loved the aviator style and shades. Olsson mentioned that this is the first time Glass has been designed with women in mind.

Though Diane Von Furstenberg is best known for rocketing the wrap dress into fashion staple fame in the late 1970s, in Fall 2012 she looked to the future by outfitting her runway models with Google Glass. She also produced a four-minute documentary on that show using footage captured on Glass by herself, makeup artists, models, and stylists. The collaboration clearly worked, as she later announced she would be designing several frames for Glass.

The designs are being sold on Google and popular online fashion outlet Net-a-Porter, which offers styling ideas for Glass, such as a weekend look with a chambray shirt and denim shorts, and a sport look with leggings and a hoodie. The price for the von Furstenberg-designed frames is an extra $300 on top of Glass’ base price of $1,500.

This isn’t the first time that Glass has played dress up with the world of fashion. Google first debuted fashion frames several months ago, announced a partnership with Oakley and Ray-Ban parent Luxxotica, and hired Ivy Ross, an alum of Calvin Klein and Coach, to head its Glass division.

In addition to releasing the von Furstenberg frames, Google also released Glass in the UK for the first time on Monday. The company is mostly targeting developers with the launch, and held talks with the Department of Transport ahead of the launch to answer policy makers’ questions about distracted driving with the device. The BBC surveyed several major businesses about how they would deal with customers using Glass, and found that many had restrictions in place, like a cinema that would ask customers to remove Glass as lights dim for a showing and a gym that would bar customers from taking photos (Glass lights up when it is taking photos). These hesitations likely stem from several incidents in the US as the technology has been slowly rolled out in the past year, in which people got in ticket tangles while driving with Glass and kicked out of a movie theater on suspicion of filming. Glass will be sold in the UK for £1,000 ($1,700).

Glass is openly available in the US, but it hasn’t yet been widely targeted to consumers. The release on Net-a-Porter is the first time it has been sold by a third party retailer, indicating Google is likely moving Glass to a more widespread rollout.

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