Half a Century of Vintage Frames
Although history of glasses comes centuries and even millennia back in time, we could say that the fashion concept of glasses was born in the 50’s. Was at this time, in the golden age, when most of those designs were created and more than half century later they still rocks. We are talking about the most famous spectacle of history: the Ray Ban Wayfarer model that fifty years after it was conceived, along with the also legendary Aviator by Bausch & Lomb, both represented the 25% share of all global sales.
In the fifties brands like American Optical, Shuron, Styl-Rite, Murray Sachs, Bausch & Lomb and specially the recently recovered Tart Optical marked a path in terms of design, quality and aesthetic concerns that still setting trends. As an example two of the most iconic models of Tart Optical: FDR and Arnel, which today remain plagiarized and copied by countless brands. Like Moscot Lemtosh, one of the glasses more successful of the last five years that is a clone of the Arnel, a mount that James Dean, made famous, among others.
In the sixties was the boom of the big brands like Pierre Cardin, Emilio Pucci, Dior… They begun to enter the ophthalmic world in the wake of Oliver Goldsmith, Persol and Ray Ban, the big three as far as prestige is concerned. The designs and colours begun to become true artistic pieces due to the invention of revolutionary material, the Optyl, that allowed the creation of forms and colours unthinkable with the old acetate. The sunglasses start to become a fashion accessory: Courreges, Vidal Sasoon, Silhouette and dozens of brands begun to create unique designs for the catwalk. Glasses as Courreges Skimo and Oliver Goldsmith Pyramid, created in collaboration with Vidal Sassoon are, today, true collectors items.
Celebrities like Grace Kelly, Steve McQueen, Elton John and many others started to popularize among the late sixties and early seventiesthe use of graduated and sun glasses. In the seventies most the great designers such as Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Nina Ricci, Givenchy, Enmanuel Ungaro had their sunglasses collection. The mounts were oversized to unthinkable levels, the retro-futurism and the Pop Art world spread the sunglasses collections, influencing some models as the Silhouette Futura and Christian Dior collection. This iconic designs still amaze us nowadays due to the archaeological work of celebrities like Lady Gaga rescuing old designs.
Despite these trends, classics manufacturers like Persol, Ray Ban, Polaroid, Dunhill continued to create models destined to live forever, the Clubmaster, Ray Ban Gatsbys, 649, 806 and 714 folding Persol Polaroid and 8680 are designs like Dorian Grays remain immune as the time goes
We enter into the eighties, when the three big brands were born: the german one; Cazal, the French; Alain Mikli and the American; l.a Eyeworks, who on their way reinvent and give a ophthalmic twist to the prevailing style in the previous decade. We should also highlight in the same period; Carrera, Playboy, Lacoste, Enmanuelle Khanh, Alpina, Giorgio Armani, Jean Paul Gaultier … brands which contributed their grain of sand to the tremendous diversity prevailing. The same era was witness Oakley’s growth, one of the great empires of the past quarter century. They invented and diversified the concept of creating sporting spectacle since the mid-eighties to the present, models destined to become cult objects like: Frogskins, Sub Zeros, Juliets, Romeos, Blades … year after year.
In the nineties and even despite the prevailing depressive trend that comes with the rise of grunge, highlights a return to a more classic style, just what is happening right in 2012 (we could say that ophthalmic trends, like all others, also are cyclical and usually every two decades back to the starting point). Brands like Gianfranco Ferre, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Cazal were able to give a touch of freshness to a period dominated by the main brand, Ray Ban, who regained fame and splendour that had plummeted over the past decade. Due the countless films characterized with any of the Bausch & Lomb glasses, that we can see in movies like the Blues Brothers, or Risky Business with Tom Hanks, Cobra with Stallone, JFK with Kevin Costner and overall Reservoir Dogs, but we could go on forever.
Today we are engaged in a trend which could set point in the mid first decade of the 2000s, with the creation of new brands that dominate much of the current market examples as Dita eyewear, Tom Ford, Retrosuperfuture, Contego, Moscto, ANN- KARIN KARLSSON, Thierry Lasry, Barton Perreira, Linda Farrow, Fuct, Ksubi, Isson, Mosley Tribes, Tom Davies, RVS. We could go on almost infinitely, but each and every one of the existing brands, new, modern …. All of them without exception base their collections in the past, in Retro, in Vintage… in the unsurpassable designs yesteryear.
The future and the present are in the past, and this is not a trend, is a matter of simple and tasteful aesthetic coherence.