Of the women I grew up idolizing in the '90s, only a few have had a lasting effect on my personal style, and Lisa Loeb (her eyeglasses, specifically) is very near the top of that list. But, associating this Renaissance Woman with that decade alone is woefully myopic. Since she first hit the scene in black tights and her trademark cat-eye frames in the Ethan Hawke-directed music video for her Grammy nominated 1994 hit, "Stay (I Missed You)," this Dallas native has been a trendsetter who has garnered a reputation as a grounded but prolific artist, unflinchingly accessible to fans and ceaselessly creative.
We caught up with Lisa to talk about her eyeglass line, Lisa Loeb Eyewear, that launched last fall and how she developed her trademark style.
You are known for having a trademark style, and I'm wondering how growing up in Dallas affected that as, I'm sure you know, Dallas has sort of a...style of its own. Yeah. I went to Hockaday -- which, we wore uniforms my whole life when I was growing up and I think that that for me was a good fit because I like fashion; but I also really like things that are practical, and with uniforms you can take something that's very practical and that everyone is wearing and you can personalize it.
I think there was a certain conservativeness and preppiness of the clothes growing up in Dallas that were available to us, and luckily I think some of those are the most flattering on me, so I incorporate a lot of those elements into my wardrobe and when I go for fashion or style, what I like to do, which again I think comes from living in Dallas, is taking one or two things and making it a little bit different. Making the color a little bit interesting or making the texture or an accessory different, but not an entire outfit that's over the top.
Especially since it can be a little difficult here to stand out like that. Yeah, I think your personality and what you have to say is more important than what you're wearing, and I think that's the same with glasses -- your personality should come across more than your glasses do. You know, you shouldn't hide behind what you're wearing, they should sort of enhance your personality.
So when did you first realize that the cat-eye frame was for you? In high school I wore kind of preppy-ish frames. I wore some round, circular frames, and then about halfway through college I started finding some cat-eye frames; and by the end of college I found some great cat-eye tortoise shell frames and they were exactly what I was looking for -- they were sort of alternative, not mainstream, but they were flattering, and because they were tortoise shell, they were very versatile, and that was really important to me. I felt like they didn't stand in the way of my personality, but matched well with it. They weren't grandmotherly, they didn't have rhinestones on them or anything, so it was sort of a gentle nod toward retro fashion.
I have to tell you, I have perused the line [Lisa Loeb Eyewear] and Sandalwood is my absolute favorite frame. It's so sophisticated, but you're right retro in a great way. That's my husband's favorite, too. I wear those a lot. I wear Sandalwood in denim.
Does your husband wear glasses from your line? I know that some of your styles can be worn by men as well. He does wear glasses, but we are working on different sizes that will be a better fit for men. In Dallas, when I did a trunk show there, we sold two or three pairs to men and they looked great in them.
You are a total Renaissance Woman. How hands-on was your process with designing this line? Is this something you just picked up overnight? I started working with a company down in San Diego about two and half years ago, and it was very hands-on. I love working on projects where I can collaborate other people. I'm not an expert on eyewear, as far as the technical side goes, so it was great working with people who knew about all the variables as far as that goes. But, it's been ongoing for, gosh, about three years.
I'm very glad that it has, I know that fans have been asking for this for a long time. Oh yeah! It's something I've always wanted to do, but the right opportunity hadn't presented itself. It wasn't until I was approached by Classique about putting together an ongoing collection inspired by my preferences and my glasses that I wear, that I found really the right company to work with.
So, you mentioned college earlier. I know you have a degree in Comparative Literature from Brown University and that you have often described your style as the "sexy librarian." Is there any truth behind that? Are you a big reader? Oh yeah, I love reading! It's really the only way I am like a "sexy librarian" in that I love reading and writing and thinking. I have very fond memories of hanging out in libraries as a kid.
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Do you have a favorite author? One of my favorite authors is Isabel Allende, but I also like Roald Dahl's short stories. I also love J.D. Salinger; I named my band [Nine Stories] after one of his collections of short stories.
Any news on the music front? I'm working on a record right now. We're mixing it. We're trying to figure out the release date. Before that, I have a kid's book coming out in October 2011, and I'll be back in Dallas promoting that. Also one coming out next April.