mens : 1960s : k5446
product code : k5446 : £ 495

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  • If you are a Persol by Ratti collector, the 1960s are where it's at for

    style and for rarity. And this design is rare. In Turin, Italy in 1938,

    Giuseppe Ratti launched 'Persol' after establishing his name with

    protective goggles for aviators and drivers - for which he then started

    using brown crystal glass sun lenses that he and a German scientist

    had perfected in the 20's. For fit, Ratti and team came up with with

    Meflecto in the late 30's, a system of inserting cylinders and a metal

    strap into acetate arms for flexibility and hug, and at the end of WW2,

    their feature patented Silver Arrow - a brass interior hinge with a silver

    exterior, for strengthening the frame, and for decoration. Persol sun-

    glasses were introduced to the American market in 1962 and this was

    probably the start of their stellar journey: from NASA to stars like

    McQueen and his friend Bruce Lee, and Gregory Peck. But they must

    credit Mastroianni, who wore them first in the movie La Dolce Vita (1960).

    Fellini used Persol eyewear for many of his characters. This international

    breakthrough movie made sunglasses the ultimate fashion accessory

    shared by men AND women, and it was also a world showcase for master

    designer Ratti, who died suddenly just five years later. Mastroianni's sun-

    glasses are an aviator style but have the same slimmer arms as this pair.

    The 649/714 made famous by Steve McQueen in 1968 also has these

    arms with Meflecto. The front is somewhat similar to the well-known 6602

    upswept shape, but with a flatter brow, that curves and extends out,

    thickening to chunky sides underneath those Arrows. The heft of the

    acetate at the sides is the joy of this Sixties design, and other exceptional

    elements are its angularity and deeper bridge with a small, flared lower

    section. It's also in black. We have never seen this design and cannot pin

    it down. It was probably sold through DSM Optico as that is stamped on

    the frame with Persol and Ratti, But we have found that it is quite close to

    to the Persol sunglasses worn by Gregory Peck in two movies released in

    1969. 'Marooned' set in the US and 'The Chairman' set in China. Peck had

    made Roman Holiday in Rome, so perhaps Persols were his personal choice

    - we can't say. For a look in colour, here's a still from Marooned and a screen

    grab from The Chairman
    as the B&W one may be a publicity shot, and it

    is the agent character returning to London in black frame Persols..also home

    to Huntsman where Peck had his suits made. We did have to change the

    lenses as they were too worn, and this loved 50 plus year old Persol is also

    showing wear to the silvered arrow and sword hinges, where the brass shows

    through. However, this is a very special and possibly unique Persol that is

    just the ultimate in Sixties sunglasses from one of the great European

    makers. And the choice of some of the most stylish male movie stars

    of all time.                                                                   — klasik