Iconic sunglasses from movies and popular culture
In the world of movies, a character is defined as much by their distinctive style as their words and actions. Many of these characters have left a lasting impact on fashion trends, including the world of sunglasses.
Tom Cruise, Top Gun, Ray-Ban. 1986
Much has changed in the 34 years since the iconic 1986 cult hit, Top Gun was released, but one thing remains the same. Tom Cruise is still wearing the same Ray-Ban Aviator Classic sunglasses he had in the 1986 original. In true pilot fashion, Maverick's sunglasses feature a classic gold metal frame with dark green lenses. The sales of the Ray-Ban Aviator took off by over 40% as a result of the first movie. From being featured in that first Top Gun film in 1986, Ray-Ban Aviator are still the most recognizable and popular styles of sunglasses in the world.
Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961
Audrey Hepburn’s exquisite style in the 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s continues to influence the fashion world decades later. Perhaps the most stand-out of the movie star’s style was her trademark oversized sunglasses. They were made exclusively for Audrey Hepburn for this role, by the British optical firm Oliver Goldsmith, who created deliberately stylish and occasionally outlandish frames for the likes of Princess Grace of Monaco and Diana Princess of Wales. Recognised for their contribution to fashion, the British Victoria & Albert Museum in London features a collection of over 70 pairs of Oliver Goldsmith glasses and sunglasses. Such is the popularity and timelessness of the Audrey Hepburn style, that her original Breakfast at Tiffany sunglasses are still in production today.
Thelma and Louise, 1991
Ray-Ban Cat Eye sunglasses paired with flying 60’s style scarves were worn by Susan Sarandon (Louise) in the 1991 classic movie, Thelma & Louise. Ray-Ban tortoise sunglasses with dark green lens were the feature sunglasses worn by Genna Davis in her role as Thelma. The 1991 film Thelma & Louise took Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis on an iconic road trip on the run from the law. As an aside, Brad Pitt made his famous film debut as an extra in this movie.
Steve McQueen, Thomas Crown Affair, 1968
The tortoiseshell Persol 714 sunglasses, complete with blue-tinted lenses, that Steve McQueen were in The Thomas Crown Affair are just as famous as his three-piece suit, the most revered three-piece suit in film history. The actor was crazy about the Italian glasses label, wearing them as much in real life as on screen. An avid fan of cars, he shared a passion with Persol which was originally created to protect the eyes of racing drivers. The Hollywood star had an impressive collection and managed to get them into The Thomas Crowne Affair at a time when sponsors didn’t write the rules on which accessories could be in a film. The Italian sunglasses brand was already well known before this famous pairing, but Persol’s legendary status was sealed once McQueen became its biggest fan. Persol renamed the original 714s to the 714 Steve McQueen and continue producing this model today. In 2010, to pay tribute to the actor’s life, Persol launched a limited edition 714, using his initials in its name, PO 174 SM. The folding system was reworked to make it easier to handle and the actor’s name was etched into the inside of the arms.
Grace Kelly, To Catch A Thief, 1955
Probably the oldest style to remain relevant today - Oliver Goldsmith’s white rimmed cat-eye sunglasses were a scene stealer in the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock classic, To Catch A Thief. In one of the most stylish movies in the history of cinema, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant are unimaginably elegant in every scene. Grace Kelly plays a wealthy American tourist who floats through scenes in chiffon evening gowns, neck ties, polka dot head scarves, 1950s bathing suits, adorable wide-brimmed sunhats, pleated skirts, white gloves, and the now famous, white-framed cat-eye sunglasses.
Anouk Aimée, La Dolce Vita, 1960
As wealthy playgirl Maddalena in La Dolce Vita, Anouk Aimée is Mastroianni’s equal in terms of both elegance and moral depravity. Her sophisticated elegant wardrobe embodies the best of 1950s and 1960s fashion, glamourous and modern at the same time. Her fabulous cat-eye shades, which she, just like Mastroianni’s Rubini, wears even at night. Anouk Aimée shimmers through La Dolce Vita with the hauteur of a feline which inspired Tom Ford to create his now iconic cat’s eye sunglasses which he called “Anouk”.
Marcello Mastroianni, 8 1/2, 1963
8 1/2 is a witty self-reference to Fellini's own career; the film being technically his eighth-and-a-half after seven features and two short segments for compilation films. The director is still arguably Italian cinema's most celebrated figure with a wealth of noteworthy films, such classics as La Strada (1954), Nights of Cabiria (1957) and La Dolce Vita (1960). Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Fellini with the embodiment of calm cosmopolitanism in made-to-measure Brioni suit, occasional cigarette and an iconic pair of Prada SPR 07F. Failing to make a film never seemed so cool.