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Ten Minutes With Patrick Dempsey on a New York City Balcony

The actor affectionately known as “McDreamy” to Grey’s Anatomy fans has a new collection with Porsche Design Eyewear.




Ten Minutes With Patrick Dempsey on a New York City Balcony
Patrick Dempsey wearing a pair of sunglasses from the new Porsche Design Eyewear by Patrick Dempsey collection. Courtesy: Porsche Design

Patrick Dempsey has done this before.

He rises from the balcony sofa and confidently strides a few steps my way. He seamlessly extends his right hand and makes eye contact. As he encases my hand in a warm embrace, he says with a casual sincerity, “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

His winning smile. His calm demeanor. His presence in the moment is on full display.

And thus begins my allotted 10 minutes with this actor I’ve known of since the ’80s, but knew precious little about just a few days ago. We speak on the cozy Elsie Rooftop balcony on a pleasant, pre-spring, mid-March eve in New York City, just blocks from Times Square. He sits forward on a sofa. I sit on a chair. A small coffee table stands vigil between us.

The Spokesperson

“It is nice to see people out and about,” Dempsey says jovially as we settle into our seats.

He is in New York the weekend of Vision Expo East to attend the Porsche Party hosted by De Rigo REM. The event at the hip Midtown Manhattan lounge is a showcase for Dempsey’s new signature eyewear collection with Porsche Design Eyewear. It doubles as a celebration of the return of German lens-maker Rodenstock to the U.S. market.

Ten Minutes With Patrick Dempsey on a New York City Balcony

The Porsche Party at the swanky Elsie Rooftop hosted by De Rigo Rem celebrated Rodenstock’s return to the US market and showcased Patrick Dempsey’s new Porsche Design Eyewear collection.

The noise of the party fades to a dull din as the balcony doors close. I am his last media interview of the evening.

After exchanging pleasantries, I ask him about his history with eyewear. I note that this isn’t his first dalliance in the eyewear industry.

“This is my third campaign in my career,” Dempsey acknowledges. “Well, now, I’m getting older, so I need glasses to read. So, that is one thing that pulls me in. And, also, there is a style aspect to it. You know it is nice that the right pair of glasses make you look good. So, that’s fun, too.”

Dempsey’s acting career took off in the late 1980s with starring roles in rom-coms such as Can’t Buy Me Love and Loverboy. However, his work on the small screen, on the T.V. show Grey’s Anatomy, playing the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd made him a star.

Now 57, Dempsey is the face of Porsche Design Eyewear. He’s been an ambassador for the brand since 2021. It has proven a wonderful fit.


Not only is it a natural evolution of his years-long relationship with Porsche forged by his passion for racing – first as a professional driver and now as a co-owner of a racing team – but it also builds off his experience in the eyewear industry. (His previous business relationships were with Sillouette and Oliver Peoples.)

Also, it doesn’t hurt that his natural good looks are an ideal canvas on which to display a sleek set of frames. (Seriously, the guy is known as McDreamy to his fans. Pairing him with luxury eyewear is a no-brainer.)

The Designer

But there is something different about Dempsey’s most recent work with Porsche Design. He’s not just playing the starring role of “Pretty Face” to sell eyewear. For the first time, he has played an integral part in the design process, too.

Ten Minutes With Patrick Dempsey on a New York City Balcony

Porsche Design Eyewear by Patrick Dempsey collection.

“I’ve had a long relationship with Porsche, and Porsche Design is all part of the family,” says Dempsey. “It is an extension from the racing and there’s a continuity to it and a nice narrative. And for me, I always like to learn something new. I get to try something that is a great way to be creative.”

The result is the Porsche Design Eyewear by Patrick Dempsey collection, featuring two limited-edition sunglasses and two limited-edition prescription frames. Each frame comes with a choice of color combinations. The carbon fiber glasses are priced between $495 and $565.


(The green flag drops and we are off.)

He reaches into the front right pocket of his sport coat and pulls out a frame from the collection. He goes over the details and describes the design process. He explains that the carbon fiber is an ode to racing and talks of the strength the material provides.

“With the reading glasses, what was really fun was picking the color,” says Dempsey, as he shifts into another gear. “These are my favorite. I like this and I do the yellow lenses, which help make the gold frame pop a little bit more.”

He eases off the gas and the conversation coasts for a moment.

(Lap 1 is complete. One more to go.)

Ten Minutes With Patrick Dempsey on a New York City Balcony

Porsche Design Eyewear by Patrick Dempsey collection.

Then, like an experienced race car driver, he accelerates through the turn. And from his left pocket emerges a pair of sunglasses from the collection.

“With the sunglasses, I really like the darker ones,” Dempsey continues, powering down the final straightaway. “We have two versions, but I wanted it to be all black. There is a lot of detail here. Once again, to keep the pieces in the family of the collection, is the carbon fiber.”

(The checkered flag waves.)

He passes them to me so I can feel just how lightweight these suns are.

“And then, all of this, I think, is just a classic, timeless design,” says Dempsey.

(A well-earned victory lap.)

The Impression

As we converse, I can’t help but notice how much he seems to be enjoying the process, from the initial design work to the media interviews.

I mention as much to him.

“I’m proud of the collection,” Dempsey responds. “This is an industry event, so you want to make sure that people enjoy it, and you get some feedback. It was fun talking to everybody. And my optician is here, so he helped me with the glasses, and it is nice to see him and his family.

“We really haven’t been doing a lot of these events because of Covid. So it is nice to be back in the city and be, you know, interacting with people.”

I ask him what is next.

“I was just really enjoying putting this collection together,” he says thoughtfully.

After a pause…

“I think we’ll see what happens. If it is successful, we might revisit some other things. I have some ideas of things I’d like to try. But we will see. Hopefully, people enjoy it, and they buy it.”

And with that, our time is done. We shake hands once more. He flashes another winning smile. I take my leave of the party a few minutes later.

As I walk to find a late-night slice of authentic New York pizza, I reflect on the evening. The best spokespersons don’t let off that they are selling you something. The best actors don’t show that they are acting. I can’t help but be impressed with the eyewear and with Dempsey.

A winning pair indeed.

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Dempsey will appear in the upcoming movie Ferrari about automotive mogul Enzo Ferrari and the early days of Formula One racing. Adam Driver stars in the title role. Dempsey plays Italian racing legend Piero Taruffi. No release date has been set.)



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