Bob Dylan may have said it best with "times, they are a changing." In the world of designer glasses, Dylan's words ring true. Glasses have progressed from once being a burden to now showcasing your unique and individual style, where all can see it best, right on the bridge of your nose. Groundbreaking design, function and style encapsulate the high-fashion eyewear industry, and this is good news for you. But before we can appreciate the lengths that fashionable eyewear has gone through, we need a little eyeglass history.
Historians believe that monks in Italy made the first form of glasses as early as in the 1200's. Lenses were set into bone, metal or leather like two small magnifying glasses with inverted V shaped handles that could be balanced on the bridge of the nose. Eyeglasses however first hit the fashion scene in 1352 when Italian artist Tommasa da Modena painted a series of frescoes with monks wearing glasses. That same year, Crivelli painted Hugh of St. Cher, which featured its subject in glasses. In their early years, eyeglasses looked very primitive - some looked like little masks while others were goggles. In that time, paintings were our form of Vogue magazine. So one could say right from the start that glasses were an ever-coming fashion trend.
In 1784 Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals to avoid having to regularly switch between two pairs of glasses, one for reading and one for distance. He is frequently seen as the first fashion model for classic round frames while John Lennon became a more modern model for that style of eyewear. As for this century, in 1958 we saw the first progressive multifocal lens. In this new century however, glasses have taken on an industry of its own, using design to guide function, making less-than-perfect vision an opportunity to accessorize. Glasses can allow you to express yourself in a far more unique way then any other fashion accessory and, when push comes to shove, fashion is about expression.
Try on a pair of cat-eyes and instantly you feel like you could keep up with the best of the pin-ups, and maybe even a little sex kitten comes out. Put on a pair of smaller, more serious shades – maybe it’s just me – but I couldn't feel more intelligent if I was clutching the New York Times on the way to a presidential rally. There are retro shades that bring you back to times past, there are futuristic models that foreshadow a time to come. Whatever you feel, whoever you want to be, there is no easier way to dress the part than with eyewear. And what if you have different moods on different days? Don't make my mistake of getting an edgy haircut which you have to wear day in and day out; had I known I could have achieved a different look with eyewear and be able to change at the end of the day then I can promise you I would never have gotten bangs.
With the evolution of eyewear in mind, glasses are no longer heavy and unwanted spectacle, no pun intended. A watch, they make hundreds of. Plastic Surgery? Passe. You see the same handbag 50 times walking down Newbury Street or Times Square. In glasses, no two people wear them the same. There is a frame that is specific to you, and no one else. So what you don't see is two people in the same lenses.
Sometimes in life, it is not only about how the world sees you, it is how you see the world; and literally and figuratively, the view doesn't get better than from a really great pair of glasses.