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Can 3-D glasses be sexy? Ask Calvin Klein

John D. Sutter
Calvin Klein is among the designers producing fashion-forward 3-D sunglasses.
Calvin Klein is among the designers producing fashion-forward 3-D sunglasses.
  • One problem with 3-D: The glasses are nerdy
  • Designers like Calvin Klein and Nautica are offering fashionable 3-D glasses
  • The lenses double as sunglasses and cost about $70 to $180

(CNN) -- From the nausea to eye-popping prices, 3-D technology has its share of real problems in transitioning from the big screen to the living room. But there's a naggingly superficial issue, too:

Those boxy 3-D glasses are so nerdy.

Never fear, tech fashionistas. Big-name brands like Calvin Klein and Nautica have recently announced lines of designer 3-D sunglasses.

"They're very style fashion-forward," said Anne Donohoe, spokeswoman for Marchon, an eyewear wholesaler that sells the 3-D-capable sunglasses from those two designers and has a line of its own, Marchon 3D.

The glasses, which range from $70 to $180 and most of which will be available starting next month or in the spring, work in 3-D movie theaters and on TVs and laptops with polarized 3-D screens. Many 3-D TVs use "active-shutter" technology, which creates three-dimensional effects in a way that is not compatible with these polarized glasses.

Donohoe said the lenses function as normal sunglasses, too.

(CNN tried on a pair of the CK lenses at the Consumer Electronics Show, and they looked like normal sunglasses to us).

People who wear them won't notice any bizarre effects -- unless they see other people who are wearing polarized 3-D sunglasses, in which case the other person's lenses would "look funny," she said.

Unlike other 3-D glasses, which have flat lenses, Marchon bought technology so that it could create curved 3-D lenses, Donohoe said. That gives designers more options and allows the lenses to not look so generic and utilitarian.

One big complaint about 3-D glasses is that they're expensive. Some active-shutter lenses require batteries and cost $100 to $200.

The Marchon products don't exactly fix this problem, since they're competing only with "passive" 3-D glasses, which cost at most about $10 to $20.

Polarized 3-D puts most of the technology in the screen instead of the glasses. Active-shutter lenses are more expensive because they communicate wirelessly with the TV to open and close rapidly, showing each eye a different image.

The idea of designer 3-D glasses also has led to jokes on fashion and pop-culture blogs.

"Get ready for the next wave in fancy, useless, overpriced things: designer 3-D glasses," writes the blog The Frisky. "Apparently, Gucci is about to come out with some slick $225 aviators, while Armani is also planning a similar product (which will cost significantly less at $58, but still)."

The Frisky says the price on the glasses would be justified if they "gave you X-Ray vision, or made everything look like a Japanese anime movie." writes: "Who is going to buy these things? Who knows."


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