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Steve McQueen and Persol

Steve McQueen wearing Persol Sunglasses

The influence that some people can have over the rise and fall of fashion and fads is scary. If the likes of David Beckham grows a beard, and has the sides of his head shaved, so does half of the nation. The same notion applies to brands, and style. Modern day trends are set by those in the know, and they often get dropped as quickly as they are picked up, leaving a huge majority of us left behind in the style stakes.

So, what is the answer to this fashion-killing conundrum? Stick with classic style, set in stone by iconic greats. Opt for brands that have stood the test of time, after being sat on a plinth of desirability and left there by some of the world’s most infamous icons. In the world of designer sunglasses, there are only a handful of brands that can command desirability that has only ever increased since they began designing styles that were seen on the faces of the rich and famous. One of these pillars of sustained style is Italian sunglasses brand Persol. Born in Turin in 1917, Persol has been adapted from its original purpose of being created for racing drivers and pilots, to become one of the most stylish and lusted after brands in the world.

Before Persol became a global phenomenon, with a little help from a few select individuals, it started to earn a reputation in its own right. The brand began to create styles with strong innovation that hadn’t been seen before. Momentum gathered, and Persol soon became famous for design touches such as the ‘silver arrow’ on the side of the arm which still exists on each pair, as both a functional and decorative detail. This, along with their ‘Meflecto’ technology, which helped create the world’s first flexible sunglass frame, launched them to the forefront of the science behind sunglasses.

However, we already know that innovation, linked with seriously sleek Italian styling isn’t quite enough to turn a label into a time defying super brand. Step in the king of cool, Mr Steve McQueen. Perhaps known by most through some of the hugely iconic roles he played throughout his acting career, from Captain Virgil Hilts in The Great Escape, to Frank Bullitt in the self titled film Bullitt, Steve McQueen was the anti-hero that America, and then the world, fell in love with. Little know to most, Steve McQueen was a racer at heart. He put his love for all things fast and dangerous above his acting career, turning his hand from piloting planes, to racing cars and bikes- he once famously stated that “I’m not sure whether I’m an actor who races or a racer who acts.”

Persol seemed to fit the bill for Steve McQueen perfectly. A brand developed for a love of all things to do with racing; McQueen loved the Italian aesthetic of Persol frames, as well as the affinity for speed that they both seemed to share. Steve McQueen’s support for the brand came just at the right time for Persol- they had made their first attempts at cracking the American market, by supplying NASA with sets of specially designed lenses for their astronauts. Steve McQueen’s endorsement of the brand, which they had never pushed or asked for, gave them the next step of fame in the states.

At a time where people were finding themselves with more and more free time and spare cash, America, and more specifically Hollywood, was on the rise. Steve McQueen was seen by the masses, on screen, wearing Persol sunglasses during epic car chases, and then photographed off set in his own spare time, driving his own car with a pair of his own personal Persol’s. The men wanted to be him, and the women wanted to date him- and Persol was there every step of the way.

Persol’s reputation spread like wild fire, and soon the small continental sunglasses brand wasn’t just on the face of Steve McQueen, but also the likes of Greta Garbo, who helped Persol plaster themselves across the big screen. Up to more modern times, Persol has graced the faces of some of today’s Hollywood stars too. Daniel Craig, Angelina Jolie, and Nicolas Cage, have all taken a leaf out of the king of cool’s style book and come up with the perfect answer to beat style trends, and opt in for classic, iconic and timeless style with a pair of Persol frames.

We love Persol sunglasses, as advocates of style that has been developed over time, and not grown over night to meet the needs of the latest fad. With handcrafted styling that is distinctly Italian in design, you’ll struggle to find a pair of sunglasses that can rival Persol for their quality, aesthetics, and desirability. With an affiliation to some of the greatest names in styling history, everything from the Persol silver arrow to the inner Persol signature on the arm make owning a pair of Persol sunglasses something that feels very special- owning a pair feels like owning a piece of real style history.

Our favourite style has to be the Persol PO3040s, finished in Havana. They are the perfect balance of simplistic Persol sunglass tradition, and modern shapes and design. The Havana colouring makes them fit seamlessly into the category of classic styling, and means that they will go with any outfit that you are putting together, whether you’re dressing smart, or dressing down over the weekend.

Steve McQueen wearing Persol Sunglasses

The square lens shape means they’ll fit most faces, and remain slender enough to ensure that they are not too distracting when you were them. Classic styling should always be discreet, with the smaller details, like the Persol silver arrow, doing all of the talking. These really fit that bill, thanks to their ergonomic and understated shape. Finished with a crystal green lens, they offer full UV protection too, so, just like the great Steve McQueen did, you’ll be able to trust your Persol’s wherever you choose to take them.


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