Shipping to
United States
Photography by Mr Frank Hülsbömer
Words by Mr Tom M Ford

If we lower our Wayfarers and look back to the conception of protective eyewear, we've come a long way in the style stakes. Prehistoric Inuits made do with slitted ivory eye panels, while 12th century Chinese judges donned panes of smoky quartz. Mr James Ayscough, an English optician, experimented with tinted lenses in glasses in the mid-18th century, but this was with a view for correcting our eyesight rather than protecting it.

Not until the early 20th century, however, did the true allure of sunglasses take off, helped along the way by images of silent movie stars shielding their eyes from bright stage lights between scenes, and from paparazzi flashbulbs between parties. Mr Sam Foster, the founder of Foster Grant, picked up on this and saw a market for eye-shielding on a wider scale when, in 1929, he flooded the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with cheap, mass-produced sunglasses from a Woolworth shop on the Boardwalk. A true man with vision. That, and the fact that a US company called Bausch & Lomb created the Ray-Ban in 1937, which soon became standard issue for US military pilots during WWII, sealing the sunglass as both accessory and sunblocker. Once again, that happy combination of form and function has collided to give us a valid excuse to channel a little bit of Mr Jack Nicholson each summer.

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