A-Z of Eyewear E

A–Z

— OF EYEWEAR —

BY STEENIE

CLINT EASTWOOD

Just in case they were not there already, Ray Ban cemented their place in the pantheon of iconic eyewear when Clint Eastwood played hardboiled, maverick cop Harry Callahan in 1971’s Dirty Harry, concealing the whites of his no-doubt unblinking eyes behind Ray Ban Baloramas.

Clint Eastwood Ray Ban in Dirty Harry

Clint Eastwood wearing Ray Ban Baloramas on the set of the film Dirty Harry

EASY RIDER

The most iconic eyewear film of all time, mainly for featuring Peter Fonda in a pair of Ray Ban Olympians. His lighter lenses were customised especially for the film. Olympians usually have a darker tint. The originals are very hard to find and punishingly expensive to buy. They’ve recently been re-released, so now everyone can enjoy them. As the film says, ‘What the hell is wrong with freedom? That’s what it’s all about.’

Easy Rider Icon Eyewear
Easy Rider Sun Glasses

Peter Fonda wearing Ray Ban Olympians alongside co-star Dennis Hopper in the film Easy Rider

ELVIS
Elvis Presley Sunglasses

Elvis Presley wearing his iconic bespoke frames

Throughout his career, Elvis Presley was not just the King of rock ‘n’ roll; he was also a gift to eyewear designers. Along with James Dean, Elvis is another key character in the history of eyewear becoming a fashion item, not just a functional apparatus for the correction of sight. Elvis’ ever-developing style meant that he made the name of several eyewear classics, including Renauld wraparound aviators in the 1950s and the Neostyle Nautic in the early 1970s. Later in his career, he was pretty much inventing his own, bespoke sunglasses to fit his increasingly flamboyant stage costumes. Hans Fiebig, of Optical Boutique of Los Angeles, who in his time supplied Elvis with over 400 pairs of sunglasses, recalled that Elvis once pitched up at his shop at the head of an entourage and asked Fiebig to add the signature Elvis TCB (‘Taking Care of Business’) logo to the temples of a pair of fairly standard budget-version aviators. He also wanted his initials mounted on the bridge. Fiebig said that ‘you couldn’t “sell” Elvis anything – he had very specific ideas about what he liked and what he wanted – either you could do it, or you couldn’t.’

EPOXY RESIN

Epoxy resins are a type of plastic used in eyewear as an alternative to acetate. One of the most advanced epoxies is Optyl. It can reduce the weight of plastic frames by a third and has a brilliant finish and allows for stylish colour effects. Developed by Carrera of Austria in the early 1970’s, Optyl’s patent was bought by Safilo of Italy who later used it in their Gucci collection.

DAME EDNA EVERAGE

Next to Harry Potter, the most common name to come up in my shop is Dame Edna Everage. She’s an anti-fashion icon like no other. Any design with a wing and an upsweep will be written off with, ‘way too Dame Edna.’ No one wants to look like Dame Edna. The only thing that I can say in her defence is that my frame-maker David makes all her frames and a lot of hard work and craft goes into them.

ESSILOR

The biggest manufacturer of lenses in the world, Essilor of France gave me an early break when I rather brazenly bowled up to their MD and suggested we go into business together. This we did, and I took over their frame-glazing operation in 1997. Since then, Essilor have grown even bigger by merging with Luxottica, the biggest manufacturer of frames in the world, creating an industry giant with tens of thousands of retail outlets worldwide. I, however, don’t stock any of their ranges in my shop as I much prefer my independence.