FOR a trend to emerge, it usually runs the gamut of catwalk collections. There are some, however, that don't work like that. Take glasses. Unlike a few seasons ago, when they appeared as part of a geek-chic vogue everywhere from Givenchy to Marni, they were far less visible at the recent spring-summer shows. Instead, this latest evolution for glasses is in real life - or a version of it.
They have been seen on the front row, worn by celebrities on the red carpet and have an unlikely champion in Victoria Beckham. She is launching a range of eye wear with Cutler and Gross next year, and has, coincidentally, come out as a closet specs-wearer. ''I haven't found glasses that suit me,'' she says. ''That's why I've decided to do them myself. It will be nice to see where I'm going for once.''
The style-conscious but short-sighted - myself included - are experiencing a strange sensation: kinship with Beckham, a woman more usually known for a flawless look that spurns practical considerations, such as being able to see.
Glasses are no longer associated with ironic geeks and girls in high-school movies pre-makeover.
There's other evidence for this theory. Prada consistently promotes girls in specs and Givenchy ads make Stella Tennant the face of the brand's eyewear. Tom Ford wears glasses to add an erudite edge to his gentlemanly look. Ahead of the game, he launched a range of opticals in 2006.
Celebrities including Zooey Deschanel, Tinie Tempah and (keeping it in the family) David Beckham have made glasses part of their retro-smart look, while Christina Hendricks and Anne Hathaway, who might - like me - have gone all Dusty Springfield about glasses and glamour not mixing, have often been snapped in theirs.
Along with Beckham and Ford, there are companies filling the gap between Dame Edna specs and boring ones from Specsavers.
Beckham was right to partner with Cutler and Gross. A trip to its tiny central London shop is a rite of passage for those after style and sight - it's where I found my square, bone-coloured shape. Oliver Peoples, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is another classic name. Name-checked in American Psycho as the glasses Patrick Bateman wears, the brand encourages this character-based approach - and last year brought out a pair based on the ones Gregory Peck wears in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. Co-founder Larry Leight sums up the label's appeal. ''If you were casting an artist or a writer in a movie, they might wear our glasses,'' he says.
Younger brands are now walking this balance, too - aiming for classic, wearable design. Prism, set up by fashion journalist Anna Laub, is an example.
''I realised you put so much care into everything else you wear but for glasses you're happy to wear anything,'' she says. ''Why can't something be beautiful and functional at the same time?''
Grace Woodward, the former stylist on Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model who became known for her black frames, believes so. ''When I first got glasses in the '90s,'' she says, ''it was either banal or crazy. Now there's Tom Ford, Persol, Prism. The fact that Victoria Beckham is doing them shows there's a customer.''
A word of warning, however, comes from the managing director of the Erdem clothing label, Jennifer Baca, who wears a chic pair of Chanel glasses, but strictly for viewing purposes only. ''I'm sceptical about them as a fashion accessory,'' she says.
''What happens when they're not a trend any more? I'll still have to wear them.''