Persol celebrates cinema's Golden Age

The eyewear brand looks to its past for SS16 and draws on the Eastwood acting dynasty to mark its fruitful relationship with film

(Image credit: ©2015 Daniel Goldwasser)

From Tom Cruise's aviators in Top Gun to the Blues Brothers' trademark Wayfarers, sunglasses have long been a staple for film stars both on and off screen. And while Persol's shades may have come from a rather more utilitarian background – its founder, Giuseppe Ratti, set out in 1917 to meet the demands of pilots and sports-car drivers and supplied glasses to the armed forces – the brand's connection with the silver screen has been well established for decades.

Steve McQueen, Greta Garbo and, more recently, Daniel Craig (as James Bond) are just a few of the famous faces who have sported Persol on film. But the brand's pivotal moment came in 1961, when Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni starred in Divorce Italian Style. The glasses he wore? The iconic 649.

Along with the Cellor, these specs, created in 1957 for tram drivers in Turin to protect against the wind and dust, have become an enduring part of Persol's offering.

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This year, the brand is paying tribute to these cult designs and their association with the Golden Age of cinema by drawing on the talents of actor Scott Eastwood – who has followed in the career footsteps of his father Clint – to showcase its collection.

Both models have undergone a subtle update. A slimmer profile and lightweight mix of acetate and metal lends a contemporary feel and each style is available in a choice of colours. There are stylistic tweaks too, such as the Victor Flex bridge of the 649 being reimagined in metal.

The cinematic connection comes full circle with a campaign that sees Eastwood feature in a photographic series shot by Mathieu Cesar, as well as a short black-and-white film directed by Andrew Dominik entitled Screentest.

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