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Cat eye sunglasses with imitation mother-of-pearl frames

Date: 1950s
Overall: 40 x 135 x 132 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Plastic, metal (steel wire)
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sunglasses
Object No: 00001740

User Terms

    Cat eye sunglasses with imitation mother-of-pearl frames.
    SignificanceAs swimwear developed more daring and exotic styles during the mid-20th century, beach accessories such as sunglasses, pyjamas and kimonos became essential components of beach couture. These accessories provided protection from the sun, but also provided extra modesty for the wearer during the transition for swimwear from covering all to exposing all.
    HistoryBeachwear during the 1950s can be defined by the high level of glamour, driven in part by emerging Parisian designer Coco Chanel whose beachwear was gracing the bodies of the European holiday set and Hollywood imagery of screen sirens such as Brigitte Bardot. Swimwear at this time is glamorous and not just relegated to bathing suits – with high heels, beautiful beach pyjamas and fabulous kimonos appearing alongside a wide variety of accessories. This accessorising highlights the transition from covering all to exposing all. While swimsuits were getting smaller, there was still a need to coverup in the public sphere, and the fashionable robes and pyjamas fulfilled that role.

    The style of sunglasses known as 'catseye', with their peaked edges and thick rims were made popular by Hollywood screen siren Marilyn Monroe both professionally (in movies such as 'How to Marry a Millionaire) in the 1950s. The popularity of the 'catseye' style throughout the following two decades was cemented when Audrey Hepburn wore them in her iconic role in the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Catseye Sunglasses

    Web title: Cat eye sunglasses with imitation mother-of-pearl frames

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