While shades have existed in some form since the 1300s, it wasn't until the 1930s that the sunglasses craze took hold, as more and more Americans and Europeans went on beach vacations. In fact, Sam Foster sold the first modern-day shades, a pair of Foster Grants, on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1929. This trend exploded in the following decades as Hollywood stars and fashion icons such as Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis hid behind glamorous sunglasses, made by the likes of Persol and Emilio Pucci.
Men, meanwhile, took to wire-framed Ray-Ban "aviator" sunglasses favored by World War II heroes such as George S. Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur—this straight-laced military look was later popularized by counter-culture rockers such as Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. In the 1930s, the U.S. military commissioned Bausch & Lomb to make UV-blocking shades, and the company's Ray-Ban aviator glasses debuted in 1936, with anti-glare polarized-lens technology, invented by Edwin H. Land, of the Polaroid Corporation. In 1948, the first mirror-faced aviator sunglasses hit the scene, offering even greater protection from the sun, as well as the ability to watch people in secret.
Thanks to their air of mystery, dark shades became a symbol of cool detachment for beatniks and '50s jazz musicians. Perhaps the most iconic sunglass design is Ray-Ban's Wayfarer, launched in 1952, with its signature chunky frame. Mod and hippie fashions of the '60s demanded more whimsy, and John Lennon favored tiny tinted wire-framed spectacles called "teashades." Depending on the style, sunglasses came to signal urban sophistication, nefarious intent, or inscrutable intellect. Later fashionable looks like those by Alpina, Vuarnet, and Oakley originated as protective gear for athletes. Coveted vintage sunglasses include designs by Neostyle, Paloma Picasso, Oliver Peoples, Revo, Cazal, Matsuda, and Carrera Porsche.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Sunglasses
Source: Google News
'To Life' ('A la vie'): Locarno ReviewHollywood Reporter, August 20th
(Benjamin Wangermee, with an appropriate puppy-dog look) who's eager to have sex with her (something her husband can't do since he was castrated in Auschwitz), while the shopping-addicted Clement, with huge (now vintage) sunglasses and ditto hair, ...Read more
A Change of PacePalm Beach Daily News, August 9th
Mino Netta, a Palm Beach designer and dealer of vintage sunglasses, hopped on her new bicycle and rode through 150 Worth Avenue to visit friends and find some “freshness” after sitting in front of her computer all day. Palm Beachers can expect more ...Read more
Folk Fest: Highlights from the HillEdmonton Journal, August 9th
“I'm sure not all the crews get the same privileges as this one,” McNally joked, channelling inner Johnny Depp with dishelleved dark hair and vintage sunglasses. “It's been the best Folk Fest ever. I'm doing what I'm meant to do.” The 27-year-old has...Read more
Five of our favourite vintage sunglasses!My Fashion Life, August 4th
What would you say if we told you that you could get your hands and eyes on a pair of vintage sunglasses from the good old days? We don't think you'd know what to say as you'd be too excited, so take a look at five pairs of vintage sunglasses currently...Read more
EXCLUSIVE: Clare V. Launches Eyewear With Steven AlanStyle.com, August 1st
Our graphic designer, Lizzie, had this great pair of big, round vintage sunglasses we wanted to re-create,” she explained. “As vintage collectors, we all drew inspiration from our own pieces.” The sunglasses could certainly pass for vintage finds. They...Read more
Olivia Palermo Shares Her Style DiaryMarie Claire.co.uk, July 29th
Oh what we'd give to play dress-up in Olivia Palermo's wardrobe (an epic walk-in affair, no doubt). Well we no longer need to just imagine the spoils, as the stylish socialite has been keeping an exclusive fashion diary, documenting everything she...Read more
Summer Looks Inspired by Pitchfork Music FestivalUloop News, July 25th
The sound of electronic bass drops mixed with acoustic guitar chords is audible from blocks away. As you approach the park, a cloud of smoke sits atop the mass of people inside the grounds. Welcome to Pitchfork, the neo-hippie, Midwestern music...Read more
Greased lightning! Ferne McCann and Charlie Sims rock a retro vibe as they ...Daily Mail, July 24th
She polished off the look with a pair of white plastic-framed vintage sunglasses and a cute little lilac handbag. Meanwhile, Charlie was also dressed the part wearing a tight white T-shirt, skinny jeans and monochrome loafers. Nifty fifties: The stars...Read more