14 February 2023

Red wine, lipstick kisses, and inner demons: Polly Nor is telling a modern love story about women with Ace & Tate

Launching today on Valentine’s Day, London-based artist Polly Nor has joined forces with design pioneers Ace & Tate for a new pair of cherry-red sunnies.

This Valentine’s Day, Polly Nor is exploring the darker side of love. Best known for her satirical drawings of women and their demons, Nor’s new pair of Ace & Tate cherry red frames are no rose-tinted lenses.

The pair of sunglasses feature an engraved design of Nor’s signature demon eyes and repetitive scaly patterns. Explaining why her inner demons come out on paper, she tells us: “I’ve been drawing them for pretty much my whole life! I started out drawing them in my school diaries and on bedroom walls years many before posting them on Instagram.”

The deep red frame is the perfect ode to Valentine’s, and Nor reveals why the colour was an obvious option. “Red is my favourite colour but it also made the most sense with the theme,” she explains. “Of course, it’s also a nod to the red demons in my work. When they are worn, the colour is a very dark cherry but held up to the light the colour is a much brighter red, evoking images of roses, red wine, and lipstick kisses.”

On their initial creative collaboration, Nor felt like it was “ meant-to-be” when Ace & Tate approached her. Wearing glasses herself, she states how they are “interesting without being too gimmicky or fashion fad and I like that they are B-corp certified. They were super open-minded creatively and were on the same page about keeping it as a limited edition run so that each pair would feel like a special, wearable piece of art.”

“My bad vision aside, a good pair of shades can add effortless cool or glamour to literally any outfit,” she adds. “On my most disheveled days, they make me feel more put-together. When I pop to the local shops with unbrushed hair and pyjamas, I feel like i’m invisible as long as I’m wearing a pair of sunglasses.”

Her own artwork, of course, was at the forefront of this creative relationship, and she personally chose the ‘Jacques’ frames from Ace & Tate as her canvas. “We predicted that the collaboration would probably be ready around Valentine’s Day so I thought it would be fun to go with ‘desire’ as a loose theme. I decided to create something sexy and playful, without compromising on the darker themes and characters of my work. I already have some experience in designing illustrated T-shirts, hoodies, and accessories for my online store, but I had never designed a pair of glasses before, so it was really fun working on something completely new for me.”

Alongside the sunnies, the artist has designed a trio of cleaning cloths and a special signature gift card in her signature hand-drawn style. Using these unconventional design canvases, like sunglasses, she explains how she was “often inspired by the thoughts and feelings that we conceal within ourselves. So I wanted to try adding the illustration element to the inside of the glasses, in the hope that the semi-transparent frame would allow the design to only be subtly seen from the outside.”

  • Writer Ella Chadwick

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