“Now, racing is all about weight and the quality of the material. And that’s where we begin,” Patrick Dempsey declared on a small stage at an event promoting the release of his limited edition eyewear line with Porsche Design on Friday night. “The structural engineering in a race car is the same for the glasses,” said the star before giving an enthusiastic in-depth explanation about the balance of flexibility and rigidity offered by the carbon fiber and steel that make up the frames. The collaboration includes a pair of eyeglasses and a pair of sunglasses, each offered in two colors with a run of only 1,500 copies each.
Most iconically known for his role as Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd for 11 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Dempsey is a longtime fan of Porsche, auto racing, and cars in general. The actor started racing competitively in 2004 and owns his own racing team, Dempsey-Proton Racing. “My father was a traveling salesman. And on Friday nights, he’d bring me back Matchboxes. That’s where my love of cars came from,” he explained. “Now…the Matchboxes are a bit bigger.”
The actor, who has roles in the upcoming Michael Mann–helmed Ferrari and an Eli Roth horror movie called Thanksgiving, bought his first Porsche—a 356 cabriolet—when he was fresh from his breakout role in Can’t Buy Me Love in 1987. “I think I made $10,000 on the movie,” he says from the stage. “And it was a lot of money for me at that time. I thought I was going to retire on that,” he laughs. When he called the car’s owner, she said it would run him $9,000. “I’m like, ‘I’ll be right over,’” the Enchanted star recalls. To this day, the car is one of his most prized possessions.
Dempsey makes it clear that he appreciates good design, whether it takes the form of a car, a pair of glasses, or a house. At his Porsche Design eyewear event, AD sat down with him to discuss all of the above.
AD: What city do you live in primarily?
Patrick Dempsey: Malibu. And I have a place in Maine and a place in the mountains, in [Utah’s] Deer Valley.
How would you describe the style of your home in one sentence?
Well, we’re remodeling right now [in Malibu], so I would say that’s in chaos, but I’ve always loved architecture since I was a little kid. I think it started with Legos. I got Legos and I would always build houses. And my mother and father restored [the house where] I grew up in Maine. I think my love for construction and the smell of construction and design started there.
[My home in] Maine is much more traditional. I’ve done a number of homes. I started with a very small one-bedroom, fixed it up, and moved on. I love design. It’s hard—I have different styles depending on where [I am]. I think a midcentury modern in California really works. Maine is a stone home, which is very practical because of the environment. And then in the mountains, it’s like a ski chalet, and it was fun to redo the interior on that.