Sophie Warburton, Style Editor for The Daily Telegraph, shares all on Iconic Eyewear in Film.
Whether you were Team Maverick, or fancied yourself as a bit of an Ice Man, there’s one thing you could agree on about ‘Top Gun’: the sunglasses were cool. Ray-Ban’s classic Aviator 3025 – designed for aviation pilots back in the 30’s – saw a 40% rise in sales following the release of the film in the mid ‘80s. The aviator’s popularity hasn’t waned since. The same 3025 model was donned by Matthew McConaughey in his Oscar-winning role as Ron Woodruff in ‘Dallas Buyer’s Club’, and by Jessica Chastain in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, while the yellow-lens ‘shooter’ variation made their mark in cult-classic ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.
Never one to be outdone, Tarantino took the idea of aviators-in-Hollywood one step further in the star-studded ‘True Romance’; Elvis-idolising Clarence (Christian Slater) is immortalised by his dodgy Hawaiian shirts and his Presley TCS sunnies. His partner in crime, Alabama, was rarely seen without her blue reflective Wayfarers. Giving a, er, twist to the age-old adage of matching your handbag to your shoes, Alabama instead matched her sunglasses to – innovatively – her bra. Do not try this at home.
Ray-Ban’s iconic frames continue to enjoy their moment in the spotlight; whether it’s the Ray-Ban Clubmaster in ‘Reservoir Dogs’, the Ray-Ban Wayfarer in ‘The Blues Brothers’ or Susan Sarandon’s timeless cat-eye sunglasses in ‘Thelma and Louise’, Hollywood sure knows a good pair of sunglasses when it sees one.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Let’s not forget about glasses on the silver screen. Atticus Finch’s frames in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ have been widely emulated over the years and today the tortoiseshell styles grace the faces of many an edgy-intellect. Potter’s perfectly round specs – once the butt of wizard wisecracks – now offer up serious cool-points for the snappier dressers out there, while Marilyn’s archetypal-1950’s cat-eye glasses from ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ add sartorial pizzaz by the bucket-load.
Looking for something a little more classic? Matt Damon’s frames in ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ are often cited as the perfect spec, while Miranda Priestly’s barely-there frames in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ get the fashion vote.
The Thomas Crown Affair
Bond’s penchant for spectacular sunglasses hasn’t gone unnoticed either. In recent iterations, 007 has been a fan of Persol – the 2244 metal frames, and 2720 in acetate tortoiseshell in ‘Casino Royale’, to be precise – while Pierce Brosnan preferred the Persol 2672 for ‘Die Another Day’. Perhaps the most iconic Persol sunglasses, however, are the folding Persol 0714 style, made notorious by Steve McQueen. Some of the most sought after and collected styles in history, the shades were worn by McQueen both on- and off-screen in ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ and ‘The Getaway’. So desired are these sunglasses, that a pair from McQueen’s personal collection sold for more than $60,000 in 2006.
Not to be easily trumped in the fashion stakes, Audrey Hepburn’s oversized, yet eternally-elegant subtle cat-eye frames in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany‘ are some of the most emulated in Hollywood history.
Whether it’s glasses or sunglasses, round or rectangular, classic aviators or kooky cats-eyes you can be sure that Hollywood will continue to provide some serious specs appeal.