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Michael Kors

Paula Alaszkiewicz

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Designer Biography

Introduction—why write a book about sunglasses?

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

As a lecturer in visual culture in a fashion department, I had observed that sunglasses have also been remarkably resilient to changes in fashion and indeed in the sartorial languages of cool. Since sunglasses became fashionable in the early twentieth century, they have remained a powerful component of the fashionable or cool image; in fact, it seems sunglasses are almost synonymous with fashion, underscored by the iconic images of fashion elite like Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld, both recogniz

Modernity—an onslaught on the eyes

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

emotiondandyBefore the twentieth century, sunglasses as we think of them today were not in any kind of widespread use. Tinted glass (green or blue) had been recommended since the eighteenth century—but for correctivespectaclesspectacles (Ayscough in Drewry 1994) intended to be worn indoors. Mid-eighteenth century Venice saw green tinted glasses used against glare from the water (the “Goldoni” type, worn by and named after the leader of the commedia dell’ arte). At the turn of the nineteenth centu

Seeing the blur—perception, cool, and mechanized speed (1910–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

speedindustrialised consciousness; panoramic perception; Virilio, PaulAlthough the now-ubiquitous image of bikini, shades, and sun-lounger might suggest that the ideal wearer of sunglasses enjoys the luxury of being blissfully inert, the dynamic power, excess, and seductive glamor of men and women speeding along in shades is undeniable—from the tough sheen of Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones to twenty-first century pop acts like Britney SpearsBritney Spears in “Toxic,” where impenetrable diamond-st

Seeing the cyborg—eye-shading, cool, and the hi-tech body (1910–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Exploring speed in the last chapter has already enabled us to consider some aspects of the relationship between sunglasses and modern technologytechnology. But this relationship goes further. Sunglasses became a more general sign of encounters with the wonders and perils of modern technology; in the early days of TV advertising, sunglasses were worn by immaculate, 1950s housewives shading their eyes from the terrifying brilliance of whites achieved with innovative washing powders.

Seeing in the light—“sun”glasses, modern glamor, cool, and celebrity (1920s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Today, a more general sense that sunglasses protect our eyes from sunlight dominates. After all, the name finally settled on for all kinds of motor goggles, protective spectacles, autoglasses, and so on was (and is) sunglasses, conjuring up countless images of those bikini-clad women and casual, white linen-clad men basking in the glow of their own attractiveness, their sunglasses bouncing back that gold-colored light of happiness and success. Smiling or not, these men and women are embodiments o

Seeing in the dark—sunglasses and “outsider” cool (1940s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Many of the most evocative images show sunglasses worn in the dark, indoors, possibly because in these images we are forced to acknowledge their more oblique functions. Layers of darkness and blackness are compounded by dark frames with dark lenses in many of these images; think of Miles Davis in a murky club, in a dark suit, what light there is just highlighting the sheen of his skin against the intense glossy blackness of his shades.

Heading for the shade—the spread of outsider cool (1950s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

outsiderSunglasses were tactically used by people who were “outside” the goals and means of dominant society, as part of an articulation of a dissonant style which held an attraction just as great as that of those sunny images of “straight” success and leisure. This chapter will show how the more complex connotations of “outsider cool” became desirable and were appropriated by the “mainstream” in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. Sunglasses could act as a sign of a “bettered self”—but they also sta

Seeing in the “eclipse”—sunglasses, cool, and the absence of meaning (late 1950s–present)

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Warhol, Andyglamorempty (or hollow) glamorThe light is artificial and mirrors are provided, but not windows, because the characters must be protected from bleak, bruising reality.

Sunglasses and cool—conclusions

Vanessa Brown

Source: Cool Shades. The History and Meaning of Sunglasses 2015

Book chapter

Before sunglasses, certain modernitychangechanges were taking place which created an environment in which they could become functionally and symbolically useful. The city, as an exemplar of modern life, was a place of new opportunities for display, self-fashioning, and casual voyeurism, as well as new levels of sensory and psychological stimulation which threatened to swamp the individual, and from which some kind of protection was required. This initially came in the form of a “blasé attitude,”

Sunglasses

Vanessa Brown

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

By the late 1960s, sunglasses were a well-established fashion accessory, having accumulated numerous valuable meanings within Western visual culture: speed, technology, military power, celebrity, travel, glamour, and the outsider cool of black American jazzmen, beatniks, rap artists, cinematic gangsters, and femmes fatales. Subsequently, sunglasses became increasingly significant to fashion, providing lucrative licensing opportunities as well as creative potential to nuance clothes with desirable

Accessories of Dress

Celia Stall-Meadows

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The accessories industries in Canada and the United States are multibillion dollar industries that include many diverse product categories. Fashion accessories may be defined as fashion items that are carried or worn, and support or accent apparel fashions. Common accessories used by consumers in North America include hats and headwear, eyewear, scarves, shawls, neckties, handkerchiefs, pocket squares, gloves, belts, handbags, small personal leather goods, luggage, umbrellas, fans, and watches. M

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