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Shop Cat Eye Sunglasses
Sophisticated. Elegant. Timeless. The cat-eye shaped glasses were a product of one woman’s frustration and the beginning of what would be a strong feminine influence on a predominantly male-centered industry. The style is ubiquitous and is proof that human creativity is as limitless as we set it out to be.
A Woman’s Influence
Back in the day glasses were released in more or less one style: round. It was a safe and easy-to-produce design. Altina Schinasi wasn’t entirely fond of it though, and found it a bit of a bore. She was in search of a style that resonated with women and she found the perfect inspiration.
Schinasi was a whimsical character and her antics were highly publicised. Exploits of her numerous marriages (and subsequent divorces) were the talk of the town. It wasn’t a surprise then that when she wanted to buy a pair of glasses, she found the designs at an optical shop to be very plain. She had said, “Surely, there must be some way to design eyeglasses that could be attractive! What looks good on a face? What adds to a face? What could a woman wear on her face that would be romantic?”
Inspired by the harlequin masks she saw while travelling in Venice, Italy, Schinasi created a style that featured an exaggerated upturned frame that accentuated the eyes. Satisfied with how it looked, she peddled her design to different optical shops in hopes that her design would be picked up. It wasn’t surprising to know that many turned down her design; they found it too unusual or outlandish. One shop in New York City took interest though, and thus the Harlequin glasses was born.
The Harlequin Glasses
The Harlequin glasses was what the cat eye glasses were called. Its initial release made headlines. Schinasi’s efforts and persistence paid off; she was awarded the Lord & Taylor Annual American Design Award for turning a functional pair of glasses into a fashionable accessory. Vogue magazine has also credited her to revolutionizing eyewear as we know it.
During the post-war years, women began buying prescription glasses in cat eye styles. Schinasi’s prediction of needing an alternative style for glasses came true, and companies soon started releasing cat eyes frames that were adorned with crystals and other embellishments to the tips. It was the ultimate fashion accessory.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Beyond
Thanks to Audrey Hepburn’s stylists in her role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the cat eye frames evolved. It sported bigger frames that made the smaller frames of the previous decade to be old-fashioned. It wasn’t just Hepburn who was spotted in the cat-eye frame though. Other Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly were frequently seen using a pair of cat eyes. Due to the exposure cat eyes sunglasses got from Hepburn’s movie, more and more women enjoyed using cat eyes sunglasses.
The style only grew bigger by the 70s. It looked more rounded, but still had its signature upturned tips, but that’s where the trend for cat eye glasses ended. People preferred large frames during the disco era. While the 1980s was a decade of “anything goes” in terms of fashion, the aviators held the top spot for most coveted frames thanks to movies like Top Gun.
The 1990s and 2000s were no different. Both decades had distinctive styles that helped define the fashion choices of people during those days. The cat eye fell in popularity. It was only sought after by people who longed for that retro look.
Recently though, models like Gigi Hadid have been spotted to be wearing cat eyes sunglasses, spurring the revival of this ultra feminine style.
The Future of the Cat Eye
The birth of the cat eye showed us that glasses were basically uniformed, boring, and were treated nothing more than a necessity. The cat eye changed all that, paving the way for creativity to flourish in eyewear. As fashion trends come and go, we see ebbs and flows in the popularity of shades, but this unique, and innately feminine style is here to stay with new evolutions on the style every year.
Cat eye frames look best on those who have oval, square, and heart-shaped faces. Oval face shapes have it lucky, as they have the most versatile shape. Most frames work on an oval face shape, including the cat eye. People with square-shaped faces have strong jawlines and cat eyes can help balance out such features. Those with heart-shaped faces would want to accentuate their eye area, since the topmost part of their face is more prominent than the bottom. The cat eye shaped sunglasses will draw attention to your best features.
Contemporary takes on the cat eye frames only fuels its continuous appeal to eyewear users, where tradition meets modernity and functionality is as equally important as fashionability.