Cat Eye Glasses: The Height of Women's Fashion in the 1950s
Known as the “Manhattan”, “Harlequin” and “Upswept glasses”, cat eye glasses made their grand appearance in the 1950’s. Thanks to socialite and inventor Altina Schinasi, her artistic expression took glasses from the lifeless utility they were, to the fashion-centric accessory they are today. French artisan Pierre Marly also made a considerable contribution to the popularity of cat eye glasses. He broke rules of design with the implementation of new materials.
During the 50’s and 60’s, it was normal to see celebrity artists such as Barbara Windsor, Dinah Manoff and Audrey Hepburn sport cat eye glasses. These glasses also became commonly associated with librarians, secretaries and the beehive hairstyle. Recent celebrities like Jessica Alba, Dita Von Teese, and Nicole Richie who are known to rock designer reading eyewear, have resurrected cat eyeglasses.
Cat eye glasses are primarily made for women, although some cat eye eyeglass frames are made for men. These glasses upsweep at the outer edges (referred to as temples) where the arms join the front of the frame. The upswept shape of the glasses was created to beautify and accentuate a woman’s face. This style sought to add femininity to eyeglasses for women on a grand scale, and created a “feline appearance.” Prior to the 1950’s glasses were generally rounded, simply designed and focused on function rather than fashion.
When cat eye glasses were introduced, it added style, color, flair and fashion to this age old utility. Women were motivated to wear glasses and choose colors that complimented their eyes, hair and facial features. Cat eye glasses were popular all the way into the 60’s, until rounded glasses entered the scene and grew in popularity. Yet, its recent comeback in 2013 makes it clear that cat eye glasses show no signs of distinction. These classic and vintage frames will continue to serve as a beauty accessory for fashion forward women.
Shop for Designer Cat Eye Eyeglass Frames without the Designer Price Tag
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