10 pairs of glasses that shaped the history of eyewear
The ‘Eskimo’ by Courrèges, white Christian Roth frames made famous by Kurt Cobain, Kanye West’s shutter shades… explore our (somewhat subjective) round-up of the iconic designs to have shaped the history of eyewear.
Inuit snow goggles
Between 100 and 600 A.D., the Inuit resorted to using some strange-looking shades made from caribou antler, whale bone and walrus ivory. However, their primitive design actually recalls those recently designed by Kanye West for his own brand, Yeezy.
First glasses with arms produced by Edward Scarlett
The 18th century gave rise to the first pair of glasses with earhooks, invented by
British optician Edward Scarlett; earlier frames just went without.
Marcel Mariën’s artistic take on glasses
Midway between art and eyewear, ‘l’Introuvable’ by the Belgian surrealist Marcel Mariën, has left an indelible impression. These single lens (cyclopes) glasses from 1937 were developed after the artist broke his glasses.
Eskimo glasses by Courrèges
In the 60s, Eskimo glasses by Courrèges (the most popular label among actresses and singers of the era) caused a stir on account of their unusual shape, masking the eyes almost entirely. Salvador Dali was among those who wore them.
Kurt Cobain’s Christian Roth glasses
In one very famous set of photos from the 90s, singer Kurt Cobain wore some white oval-shaped shades by Christian Roth. Endlessly copied ever since, even the designer re-released the iconic design.
Oakley’s OTT frames
At the Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000, track and field athlete Ato Boldon wore Oakley’s Over The Top (OTT) frames and spectators went wild… some say they are “the coolest sunglasses ever made”.
Kanye West’s custom shutter shades
At the end of the 00s, Kanye West started wearing white shutter shades, largely hiding his eyes from view. The custom design by Alain Mikli has since been much copied. After the rapper embraced them, both Paris Hilton and Barack Obama were spotted wearing similar styles.
Andy Wolf’s Ojala sunglasses
When Rihanna wore Andy Wolf’s Ojala sunglasses to Cannes in 2017, she showed the whole world that smaller styles were every bit as fashion-forward as oversize frames. The ‘Matrix’ look has been popular ever since.
Pharrell Williams x Louis Vuitton sunglasses
Rappers like flashy frames by labels like Gucci and Versace, but another pair that really stands out is the ‘Millionaire’, created by Louis Vuitton in collaboration with Pharrell Williams in 2007. In fact, the shades are so iconic they were revisited for spring 2019 by the famous luxury French fashion house.
Linda Farrow x Jeremy Scott ‘hands’ sunglasses
These sunglasses from 2012 (which you can still pick up second hand, if you’re lucky) were created by Linda Farrow and Jeremy Scott, meaning that you can enjoy the cutting-edge creativity that characterizes both brands.
Écrit par Violaine Schutz