By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

Christopher Kane could arguably be credited with bringing neon back to the high fashion crowd in late 2010 when he showed his Spring 2011 collection full of fluoro fashion. Since then, neon has made an appearance in all manner of designers’ showings including the Spring 2012 collections from Nanette Lepore, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Lela Rose (whose collection was actually inspired by Vegas’ Neon Museum). Classicist Oscar de la Renta even added neon streaks to his model’s hair for his Resort 2012 collection. Though acid color has long held a place in the signature palettes of Juan Carlos Obando and Matthew Williamson, the colors are still making a strong showing for Fall, thanks to brands like Thakoon, jeweler Tom Binns and shoe maker Christian Louboutin. No doubt inspired by stars like Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez during this last season of American Idol and Twilight’s Julia Jones on the red carpet at the recent MTV Movie Awards, more accessible brands like J. Crew and Betsey Johnson also routinely add vibrant color to their wares.

WHAT: No longer just the provenance of coastal towns more familiar with spring breakers than spring runway shows, neon apparel has stepped off the beach and onto the catwalk. From full neon palettes to pops of electric color, eyewear designers are also turning on the brights with collections that veer wildly from staid black and tort to fuchsia, chartreuse and tangerine.

(Clockwise from top left) Perhaps the most wearable of the lot, from straight on the 7142 from Ogi Eyewear appears to be a classic cat-eye whose visual interest comes solely from the marbled black and silver acetate, but tip the frame slightly in any direction and the hot pink interior vividly glows. Demonstrating an alternative to the pairing of neutral and neon, the Lucky Brand Porter from REM pairs a Havana tort with a pop of fuchsia that starts at the endpieces and wraps mid-way down the wide temples. Proving that neon can be luxe, the Judith Leiber JL1650 has all the signature elements of a Leiber piece—feminine shape, elegant stone work, titanium core wires—amped up with an iridescent highlighter yellow interior. If anyone can make hazmat orange glamorous, it’s the folks over at l.a. Eyeworks; their Pigeon optical frame pairs the hue with surprisingly complimentary teal temples. The DSquared2 boys know how to make a statement and that is exactly what they are looking to do with their Neon Eyewear Collection from Marcolin this spring thanks to an initial release of green (shown DQ0093), orange and blue sunglasses with corresponding mirror lenses. Kirk Originals prides itself on providing something out of the ordinary and their Beam (ophthalmic) and Sunbeam collections do exactly that. Thanks to the highly polished acrylic construction, the frames shine like glass in an array of fluorescent colors; here the Blaze from the Beam collection in aquamarine.

Some fashion followers argue that neon is overdone at this point, but these people live and breathe fashion and have become insatiable for the next new thing. For us mere mortals, adding a pop of neon to our otherwise largely neutral wardrobes provides a fun and unexpected bit of excitement to our lives. Offering your customers a selection of color from across the spectrum, be it ophthalmic or sun, allows them to choose eyewear that is full of life… despite its synthetic origins.