From the moment aviators touched down in the 1920s, the magic of sunglasses has fascinated our inner celebrity. What began as a military need spawned a fashion trend that started in Hollywood and, by the 1960s, hooked the masses. Sunglasses were here to stay.
The armed forces got them first, but Marcello Mastroianni made aviators legendary. His Persol Style No. 649s in “La Dolce Vita” (1960) recast military classics into Euro chic. Steve McQueen followed suit, but added collapsible frames and blue-tinted lenses. He gave playboys and wannabes something to aspire to in “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Fast forward to the 1980s: Tom Cruise resurrected aviator appeal in “Top Gun.” Today, it’s not just “Iron Man” Robert Downey, Jr., but Hollywood golden women Jennifer Aniston and Penelope Cruz who make the style sizzle.
Audrey Hepburn was simply having “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in a little black dress, when, suddenly, Wayfarers shot to stardom. She wasn’t the first to wear them – think Marilyn Monroe, James Dean – but the fashion icon made them famous. Admirers were smitten. Two decades later, on a mission from God and into some “Risky Business,” “The Blues Brothers” and Tom Cruise sparked a new Wayfarer craze. More recently, the style has helped “Men In Black,” Jack Nicholson, and Kirsten Dunst flash their cool.
Thank Jackie O for the oversized sunglasses that lend mysterious elegance. Also called Onassis glasses, they transform ordinary women into glam-slam celebutantes. Nearly half a century later, so many celluloid sweethearts – Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway, Katie Holmes included – still mimic the look.
John Lennon didn’t get his name branded on teashades, but he did serve them up to a peace-loving populace. The megatalent inspired legions of fans to don round-rimmed specs for a glimpse of counter-culture cool. These hippie glasses have since shown up on the likes of Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan, and Tim Roth.
For four decades, Sir Elton John has paraded huge, often bizarre, eye-catchers on stage. Though the dramatic frames rarely make it off stage, Mr. Crocodile Rock has driven many to dare see the world through purple-, yellow-, and pink-colored lenses. Jennifer Lopez and Cyndi Lauper are equally enamored of hue.
Current trendsetters include Kanye West, whose shutter shades lend a certain futuristic cred to the club crowd, and Bono in his omnipresent wrap style. With Emporio Armani, the U2 frontman has elevated the accessory to philanthropy via his (PRODUCT) RED organization.
Through it all, what the paparazzi snapped, we’ve craved.0