Altina Schinasi: The Visionary Behind Cat Eye Glasses

Altina Schinasi: The Visionary Behind Cat Eye Glasses

Cat eye eyeglasses are a classic style that still offer a fashion-forward, chic vibe. But how did they get their start? Well, an artist named Altina Schinasi felt women’s eyewear looked dowdy and unflattering. That thought was the birth of a style called Harlequin glasses.

Altina Schinasi studied art in Paris, where she became deeply immersed in the vibrant artistic and cultural scene of the 1920s and 1930s. She experimented with different mediums, including sculpture, painting, and filmmaking, leaving an indelible mark in various artistic circles. However, it was her venture into the world of eyewear design that would eventually define her legacy.

As mentioned previously, Altina was not satisfied with the conventional eyewear designs of her time. Seeking a unique and stylish alternative, she began sketching and developing her ideas for a distinctive pair of glasses that would become her signature creation – Harlequin eyeglasses.

Inspired by the harlequin character of the Commedia dell’arte, with its diamond-shaped pattern and whimsical flair, Altina designed glasses with exaggerated, upswept corners adorned with vibrant, contrasting colors and patterns. The result was a stunning and eccentric pair of glasses that stood out in a sea of mundane eyewear.

In 1939, Altina obtained a design patent for her innovative harlequin glasses, solidifying her place as a trailblazing designer in the world of fashion. The glasses became an instant hit among artists, intellectuals, and fashion-forward individuals who appreciated the boldness and originality of Altina’s creation.

A Symbol of Individuality and Empowerment

The harlequin glasses quickly gained popularity, not just for their unconventional aesthetics, but also for the sense of empowerment they bestowed upon those who wore them. Altina Schinasi’s creation encouraged people to embrace their individuality and challenge societal norms, as the glasses themselves defied conventional eyewear standards.

Celebrities and prominent figures of the time, including the iconic actress Greta Garbo, were seen sporting Altina’s glasses, solidifying their status as a symbol of sophistication and unconventionality. The harlequin glasses became synonymous with breaking free from the mundane and expressing one’s unique personality through fashion.

Legacy and Lasting Impact

Altina Schinasi’s contributions to the world of eyewear did not end with the harlequin glasses. Throughout her life, she continued to explore various artistic pursuits, leaving behind a diverse body of work that encompassed paintings, sculptures, and even screenwriting. Her multidimensional artistic talent and dedication to creativity earned her recognition and respect within artistic circles.

Though Altina passed away in 1999, her legacy lives on through her artistic creations and, particularly, her groundbreaking harlequin glasses. The design has inspired numerous eyewear designers, and modern iterations of the harlequin style can still be found today.

The glasses serve as a reminder of the importance of pushing boundaries and embracing one’s artistic vision. Altina Schinasi’s remarkable journey from an artist to an eyewear trailblazer serves as an inspiration for future generations of creatives, reminding us all that true innovation lies in daring to be different and defying conventional norms.

In conclusion, Altina Schinasi’s harlequin (aka: cat eye) glasses will forever be celebrated as an iconic piece of art that transcended the world of eyewear design. They continue to symbolize the power of individuality and artistic expression, leaving a lasting impact on the fashion world and inspiring countless designers to think outside the box and create their own artistic legacies.

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