Few artists are as linked to their couture and accessories as Elton John, one of the world’s best-selling artists and the subject of this past summer’s feature film Rocketman. Flip through most any magazine featuring Sir Elton and you’re bound to see a pic of him staring back from behind a pair of uber-eclectic and striking specs — preferably heart-shaped — which are always perfectly paired with a flamboyant ensemble.
Accessorizing the Rocket Man
So important are sunglasses to Elton’s — and, thus, the film’s — overall look that you’d be hard pressed to find a film still without Taron Egerton, the actor who portrays him in the film, sporting a pair of shades, whether it’s the devil costume with heart-shaped, crystal-rimmed sunglasses or the bedazzled outfits for the Dodgers Stadium performance and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” In total, Egerton, wears 53 different pairs of glasses throughout the film.
Julian Day, costume designer for Rocketman, found inspiration for his designs after visiting Elton’s archive of clothes in London, as well as perusing the fashion of drag queens and the carnivals in Rio and Venice. But instead of recreating the outfits and sunglasses exactly as they were originally worn, as he did for the equally resplendent Freddie Mercury flick Bohemian Rhapsody, Day re-envisaged them for the film, which he describes as more of a fantasy musical than a straight-out biopic.
“I love all the shoes and the sunglasses,” Day said in an interview with Vice. “I love it all, to be honest with you.”
Bennie and the Specs
Elton’s eyewear was more than just for spectacle, however, in an interview with V Magazine, the Rocket Man said, “I’m proud of the part I played in moving eyewear from function to fashion… What could be done with frames and lenses gave me an exciting new way of expressing myself. They also allowed me to cover up the extreme shyness I needed to hide as a performer.”
The Los Angeles-based Optique Boutique, where Elton purchased numerous pairs of specs, including the $3,200 glasses he wore on a 1975 Cher television special, is long since shuttered. But you can still grab fab retro shades from our copious collections of deadstock and vintage sunglasses.
Need a little Elton-backed inspiration? You don't need to go far. See the Sunglass Museum's guide to Rocketman's sunglasses.