Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

A Harlequin Romance

Vintage mid-century ladies eyeglasses remind me of my grandmother Rose, who sported a very classy pair with swirls and rhinestones in the corners.  It never occurred to me that these frames had an actual inventor, but they do: we can thank Altina Schinasi for creating them.  In the 1930’s, Schinasi was dismayed by the dull options in eyeglass frames for women, so she designed, manufactured and sold her own fashionable take on them.  Harlequin glasses-also known as cat eyes- took off and became the chic frame choice for stylish ladies.  There is a documentary on Schinasi (of course). You can see a clip in this Vanity Fair piece. 

Here are some ads for these wonderful winged frames, with a quote from Andy Warhol:

vintage cat eye glasses

“ I think about all the people before eyeglasses were invented.

vintage ad for ladies glasses

It must have been weird because everyone was seeing in different ways according to how bad their eyes were.

vintage eyeglass ads

Now, eyeglasses standardize everyone’s vision to 20-20.

cat eye glasses

That’s an example of everyone becoming more alike.

harlequin glasses

Everyone could be seeing at different levels if it weren’t for glasses.”

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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