5 Iconic Sunglasses That Rose to Fame Thanks to These Legendary Films

  • Paul 

There’s a lot that goes into making a film unforgettable. While acting talent is crucial, the imagery also sticks in moviegoers’ minds. Some films need a specific setting to bring out the best of their stories—for example, we’ve previously outlined five movies whose directors had determined they must be set in New York City, regardless of whether they were filmed elsewhere. Other movies are set apart by their vibrant costumes. If a designer is particularly ingenious, they can make or break a film with the perfect piece of eyewear—and turn those shades into in-demand accessories.

Here are five iconic sunglasses that rose to fame thanks to these legendary films.

Versace rounded cat-eye sunglasses

How do you accessorize a devilish character living at the height of fashion? You give her Versace sunglasses. The Italian brand has long been known for its high-end materials and bold, recognizable design aesthetic. In The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly—played by the celebrated film actress Meryl Streep–wears Versace’s gold-rimmed, rounded cat’s eye design that oozes with sleek elegance. Its ombre effect darkens Streep’s eyes and characterizes her as the cold, critical antagonist of the film. The Devil Wears Prada remains a cult classic thanks to the stellar pairing of Streep’s skills and those sleek sunglasses.

Blinde rimless sunglasses

Picture The Matrix, and in your mind’s eye you’ll see black leather trench coats, red and blue pills, and the protagonist’s dark, impenetrable sunglasses. These design choices were made for a reason. Eyewear is a vital aspect of the film, revealing each character’s unique personality and allowing the audience to experience a rearview mirror effect with their reflections. The eyewear design was so important that the film’s production team reportedly crafted a unique pair of shades for every cast member. For the main character Neo—played by Keanu Reeves—they gave a set of what is now known as Matrix sunglasses, rimless lenses with an extremely bent wire frame specially made by the company Blinde Design Project. The sunglasses characterized Neo as a quiet man with hidden depths.

Goldsmith Manhattan-style sunglasses

On the other end of the film genre spectrum, the brand Oliver Goldsmith presented Audrey Hepburn with Manhattan-style oversized sunglasses to wear for her part in the rom-com, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Holly Golightly, Hepburn’s character, is a wily and self-sufficient protagonist with hints of a hidden past. Her sophisticated shades give the character a glamorous persona while concealing her true feelings. After the film wrapped, Hepburn worked with Oliver Goldsmith to create more designs for these stylish shades!

Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses

As the Top Gun franchise directors Tony Scott and Joseph Kosinski know, star power can do a lot for your film. Despite Cruise’s difficult demands, his performance helped the film rake in almost half a billion dollars. Similarly, the Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses Cruise wore as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the film’s devil-may-care pilot, did wonders with the sunnies’ sales, increasing them by 40% virtually overnight. The same trend repeated in 2022, with the aviators flying off the shelves with the release of the sequel Top Gun: Maverick. People love wearing sunnies that evoke Cruise’s daring!

Carlina round glasses

The summery psychosocial thriller La Piscine has its own pair of memorable eyewear: Carlina round glasses, worn by Jane Birkin in her role as Penelope, the antagonist’s 18-year-old daughter. The sunnies’ large size and tint call to mind the seductive quality of Lolita sunglasses, while their round, bug-eye shape creates an air of innocence. Jane Birkin’s performance straddles the line that her sunglasses draw.

The sunglasses can make a movie, and a movie can make the sunglasses. These five sunglasses show just what a piece of outstanding eyewear can do.


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