Film has a huge impact on fashion, and eyewear is no exception. In the Sixties, the films of Italian director Federico Fellini seemed to encapsulate the romance of the post-war mid-century. His films La Dolce Vita and 8 ½. proved highly influential on eyewear designers. The iconic frames worn by Marcello Mastroianni and Anouk Aimée in these films became ‘the look’ for anyone wishing to affect a European air of ease and sophistication. In 2009, the film 9 was intended as a loose homage to Fellini’s 8 ½. I was called upon to style the eyewear for the cast and provided Daniel Day Lewis with a suave pair of Dita Statesmen.
Anouk Aimee wearing Fellini frames in La Dolce Vita
Daniel Day Lewis in the film 9 – an homage to Fellini’s 8 ½
Ferrari’s original range of eyewear belongs to a time when sunglasses were presented as kit to accompany traditional masculine pursuits like motor-racing, aviation and mountaineering. Since the 1980s, when the big fashion brands entered the scene, sunglasses have become more of a chic accessory associated with a glamorous lifestyle.
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Foster Grant were the first commercial producers of sunglasses. In the nineteenth century, Sam Foster was a manufacturer of hair accessories for women, combs and slides, et cetera. His business started to decline when women’s hair styles started to change in the early twentieth century. Inspired by the revolution in plastics, he invested in one of the first injection moulding machines and went into the eyewear business, selling his first pair of spectacles in 1929 out of Woolworths in Atlantic City. Thus, the mass manufacture of sunglasses began. I vividly remember a TV advert from the mid-Seventies – ‘Who’s behind those Foster Grants?’ – that inspired me to walk miles from my village to the nearest town because I so wanted a pair of those blue-tint sunglasses with graduated lenses. Afterwards, I would not be seen without them. In many ways, Foster Grant paved the way for the vast and many-splendoured industry we have today.
FUTURA BY SILHOUETTE