Local Love: Olympic gold ice skater Tessa Virtue gives us some serious specs appeal


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With, oh, a couple of Olympic medals, a World Champion win (or three) and countless other victories tucked firmly under her skates, it’s safe to say that ice dancer Tessa Virtue is one of the world’s top athletes. Currently in the midst of a wild comeback with her skating partner Scott Moir, Virtue has set her sights on gold at the upcoming Winter Olympics. Despite a ferocious training schedule, Virtue isn’t only about the ice, having joined forces with Montreal’s BonLook for a capsule collection of — what else? — eyewear. We spoke to the Olympian about the stylish collab.

“I love fashion,” Virtue says, “I think it’s such a fascinating way to express yourself. My personal style is classic and refined, with a bit of an edge.” When off the ice, Virtue is fond of military blazers, faux fur coats and ‘athleisure’ wear. (“Perhaps the latter is simply because I live in workout gear!” she says.)  

It only makes sense that Virtue’s taste in eyewear is reflective of her personal style. “When it comes to eyewear I look for fresh, yet timeless,” Virtue says. A longtime fan of BonLook’s campaigns, the athlete notes that the label’s distinct aesthetic really spoke to her — not to mention their Canadianness. “I love that they’re a Canadian company, and appreciate how accessible they make quality, stylish eyewear!” 

Virtue doesn’t wear prescription eyeglasses herself, which is why for her collection she co-designed frames for both glasses and sunglasses. However this needn’t stop those among us who can see sans frames from donning a pair to finesse a look.

“We are seeing eyeglasses as now a fashion statement that anyone can wear with pride,” Virtue says. When entering the design process, the athlete had a strong viewpoint, which the BonLook team helped realize. “I wanted the collection to feel chic, sophisticated, and a tad whimsical,” she says. “I was very inspired by old Hollywood, so there’s a hint of a vintage vibe brought to life with a sense of modernity.”

The result is two signature frames — the optical frame and sunglasses — available in three signature colours. The sleek-yet-bookish frames come in a pink tortoiseshell, blush or pale grey shades; the oversized sunglasses are offered in black or two varieties of tortoiseshell and all include a pop of colour behind the ear. Virtue has been sure to add personal touches to each design. 

"Engraved inside the temple, it reads ‘Be Fearless,’ ” she says, “a message each and every woman putting on the frames can embrace.” “The girl wearing these frames is confident, strong, and ready to take on the world,” says Virtue. Who better to say this than someone going for Olympic gold? 

The BonLook X Tessa Virtue Collection launches Jan. 15 with prices starting at $145.

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Karolyne Ellacott is senior editor at Post City Magazines. She can oft be spotted at Toronto’s most nostalgic diners wearing glittery heels and pink faux fur. Follow all of her eclectic writing interests on Twitter @kellacott and Instagram @itismekar.

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