Cat eye sunglasses are a stylish and iconic eyewear design characterized by their upswept outer edges, resembling the shape of a cat's eye. The Cat-eye has made their mark in the world of eyewear, embodying a unique blend of vintage charm and modern allure. In this article, we delve into the intriguing history, celebrity endorsements, cinematic appearances, and their influence on fashion and music.
Who invented cat eye Sunglasses?
The cat-eye was the first distinctively feminine eyewear style in history. Originally invented by Altina Schinasi Miranda in the late 1920s, it revolutionised a masculine-driven eyewear industry, catapulting the accessory into the female fashion market.
Altina Schinasi was born in the Manhattan's Upper Westside in 1907, after receiving schooling in the US she made a trip to Paris in her late teens to study art. She took up work as a window dresser on Fifth Avenue for Peter Copeland, where she would collaborate with the visionary artist Salvador Dali. It is during this period in her late 20's that she registered her patent on the Harlequin frame. Inspired by the lack of interesting frames for women available in opticians in New York, Altina designed the first prototypes of a more glamorous silhouette. Her original shape designs were cut away from the romantic and whimsical harlequin masks worn at ballroom dances at the time and it is from this mask that the cat eye shape got its first name "Harlequin".
After initial scepticism from stores, Altina grew her business substantially over the 1930s as women across America voted with their wallets and purchased these fun, playfully shaped feminine frames. In 1939 Altina was awarded the Lord & Taylor Annual American Design Award for her avant-garde transformation of the eyeglass frame into a proper fashion accessory. Vogue and Life magazines credited Schinasi with revolutionizing the eyewear industry and aesthetic.
The cat eye design had its heyday during the 1950s, a period characterized by bold fashion choices and cultural shifts. These distinctive frames, characterized by upswept outer edges, were an instant hit among fashion-forward women seeking a touch of glamour. Initially crafted from acetate and metal, cat eye frames became a symbol of feminine empowerment and self-expression.
Throughout the decades, cat eye sunglasses have graced the faces of numerous iconic figures. Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly were among the early adopters, solidifying the cat eye's place in Hollywood history. Arguably one of the most famous cat-eye sunglasses ever worn is The Manhattan by Oliver Goldsmith. This frame is an exact replica of the iconic sunglasses worn by Audrey Hepburn who played Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Originally designed by Oliver Goldsmith, this frame has gone on to inspire countless interpretations, but nothing comes close to the beautiful shaping of this classic and celebrated design. The French actress and fashion icon Brigitte Bardot was a fan of the frame as well as the legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor. Italian actress and international sex symbol Sophia Loren, was known for her sophisticated style, which sometimes included cat eye sunglasses – in fact the Sophia by Oliver Goldsmith was designed in tribute to her. Of course, we cannot forget Grace Kelly - The elegant Princess of Monaco, Priscilla Presley and even Debbie Harry - The lead singer of Blondie wore this style. Contemporary stars like Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift continue to embrace this classic style, keeping the legacy alive.
Who made cat eye sunglasses famous?
Cat eye sunglasses have made memorable appearances in cinema, often becoming emblematic of characters and eras. From Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" to the sultry allure of Sharon Stone in "Casino," these frames have played pivotal roles in shaping on-screen personas. Beyond sunglasses, cat eye spectacles offer a refined option for those seeking a touch of vintage in their everyday eyewear. They exude sophistication and intellectual flair, making them a popular choice for professionals and trendsetters alike.
What face shape do cat eye sunglasses suit?
Cat eye frames complement a variety of face shapes, particularly oval and heart-shaped faces as they add balance and accentuate the cheekbones. It is important when purchasing any pair of sunglasses or spectacles that you ensure the frames are proportionate to your face size. Oversized cat eye sunglasses create a dramatic effect, while smaller frames offer a subtler or more stylised look.
The joy of eyewear in today’s market is to vast spectrum of colour, materials and size you can experiment with. There are endless opportunities and playing with different frame colours is a great way to update your look. Ask your local optician or get in touch with the team at Oliver Goldsmith to help you find the perfect match for your style and complexion. Classic black and tortoiseshell patterns are popular always choices but sometimes you can get a similar look with more playful colourways; the Kolus in Kelp is a great example of a modern alternative to tortoiseshell.
Cat eye sunglasses have transcended generations, making appearances in high fashion runways and music videos. Designers across the board have reimagined this classic style, infusing it with contemporary elements. Artists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga have incorporated cat eye sunglasses into their signature looks, further cementing their status as a fashion staple. In fact, Lady Gaga was regularly spotted wearing her Oliver Goldsmith YNot sunglasses.
Finding the right pair of sunglasses or spectacles can have a monumental effect on your self-confidence as well as your overall image. For millions of people around the world, glasses are not just a necessity, they are an essential tool for life. Finding the perfect pair, that fit well and are adjusted to your face is crucial. Wearing glasses that fit correctly is not a matter of mere comfort; it is a crucial aspect of maintaining optimal eye health and vision correction. Regular visits to an optometrist or an optician can ensure that your glasses are the right fit for your unique facial structure. Remember, your glasses should not just be a tool for better vision, but a reflection of your style and an investment in your eye health, be it a cat-eye, aviator, wayfarer, something bold, or something classic.
In conclusion, cat eye sunglasses and spectacles have proven themselves as enduring symbols of elegance and individuality. From their intriguing history to their influence on fashion and pop culture, these frames continue to captivate and inspire. Embrace the allure of cat eye eyewear and step into a world where timeless style meets modern flair.