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30 June 2013


Ilona Royce Smithkin, 93, is the cover star of our latest eye-wear collection. She’s also an artist and cabaret performer and we are just so smitten with her.We were lucky enough to catch up with Ilona when we were in New York recently. Here are four questions I asked her:

 Ilona Royce Smithkin

Karen:  Any  lessons you  can share?

Ilona: I feel never look at what you haven’t got, but look at what you have accomplished in life. Because the moment you have wishful thinking, you waste the same precious energy into a fairytale. When you think what you've done already you can be proud of yourself, and carry on. It took me a long time to find that out. But it’s a very important thing in life.

Karen: Regrets?

Ilona: I must say, I don’t think there’s anything to regret. And youth is not wasted on the young, that’s another thing I found out, because if you don’t make your booboos, if you don’t do the things which are all wrong, you never learn from it, what do you learn if you’re so perfect? But I don’t believe in absolute perfection, you know why, there’s always someone who’s better than you and someone who’s worse than you. We have to learn, I think the world has to learn, a little more contentment, and a little less need, gimme gimme gimme, I need, you know. Since I feel more contented, a whole bunch of my energy is saved for better things.

Karen: How do you sustain relationships?

Ilona: If there are good things, think of the good, we all have to compromise. There is no such thing as a perfect person. If you can concentrate on the nice things which he has, if there is enough of them, sometimes there is only one nice thing and seven bad things, but you have to think about these things. You cannot be too critical. The moment people become critical, they cut their own lifeline I feel.

Karen: Your happiest memory?

Ilona: Right this minute, right this minute, I didn't have to think very much. You bring me joy. I want to tell you a funny story, I don’t know if you’ll find it funny but anyhow. Four men are together in a tavern. One is German, one is Spanish, one is American and one is French, and they say “you know everybody thinks about their language, my language is the best one, and the other says no my language is the best one, and the other says my language is the best one.” And the American says “You know what? Let’s take a word and see what it is and then we can all see which language is the best. Lets take ‘butterfly’, a neutral word, it’s nothing political”. So, the Frenchman says “In my language it is ‘papillon’ it’s lovely” and the Spanish man says “Well, that is very lovely but in mine it’s so romantic, poetic, its ‘mariposa’”. Well of course everybody says it’s very lovely, and they come to the German who says “What is wrong with ‘schmetterling’?”

 Karen Walker Forever Editorial

  Karen Walker Forever Editorial

 Ari Seth Cohen, the Karen Walker Forever photographer and creator of Advanced Style Blog took this shot of Ilona last week. She wears her favourite frames, the fluro yellow Northern Lights, everywhere, even to teach her art class.

At our show during NYFW. Ilona seeing her cover for the first time made our day! 

Last week we were working  in Tokyo.  Always inspiring. 

 Blue skies in Harajuku. I’m obsessed with these Orbit Frames – my go-to at the moment.

Nothing says Tokyo like ladies in white slacks carrying parasols.

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