Sunglasses provide a glamorous and mysterious effect in addition to UV protection. Before social media took over the world, movies and TV were the world’s leading fashion trendsetter. At the time, if the latest heartthrob actor was wearing a new style of sunglasses, you could bet it would become iconic sunglasses for decades to come. Glasses were a true fashion statement. Let’s have a look at the most well-known sunglasses on the big screen.
Carrie-Anne Moss – Matrix (1999)
In the Matrix trilogy, Carrie-Anne Moss plays the sexy cyberpunk Trinity whose mysterious charm lies behind the dark, narrow lenses of her sunglasses. Having become a cult, Carrie-Anne Moss said she could no longer wear these glasses after the film because people used to recognized her Instatently.
Model: The Matrix Trinity by Blinde
Audrey Hepburn – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Audrey Hepburn played the Iconic Character Holly Golightly in the on-screen adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and with it set the trend for now famous Manhattan’ Style Sunglasses designed by Oliver Goldsmith. Audrey chose the sunglasses herself and later worked directly with OG to design more models. Later, other big stars were wearing them such as Marylin Monroe, James Dean, Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles.
Model: Manhattan by Oliver Goldsmith
Brad Pitt – Fight Club (1999)
One of the most difficult pair of glasses to buy after a movie. Sadly, it’s hard to copy the badass Brad Pitt aka Tyler Durden looks in Fight Club these days, as the model is no longer made.
Model: OP-523 by Oliver Peoples
Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
First launched nearly a decade ago, Oliver Peoples’ Gregory Peck frame has become a true icon for the brand. The overwhelming success of the optical frame led Oliver Peoples to add a sun frame just a short time later, and in the years since, the Gregory Peck line has become a staple of the brand. Modeled directly after the iconic frames worn by Gregory Peck in the landmark 1962 film To Kill A Mockingbird, Oliver Peoples’ delivered a pair of glasses that are equally institutional as they are contemporary.
Model: OLIVER PEOPLES Tortoiseshell Gregory Peck Edition OV5186 Glasses
Cary Grant – North by Northwest (1959)
In the famous Alfred Hitchcock thriller, North by Northwest Cary Grant wears a pair of thick tortoiseshell type sunglasses alongside his immaculate wardrobe of finely tailored suits. The style is now commonly referred to as Arnell Sunglasses, and it’s easy to see why this remains a favorite style of many today.
Model: Gary Grand Sun Grand Tortoise – Oliver Peoples
Susan Sarandon – Thelma et Louise (1991)
Susan Sarandon only needs to wear her butterfly glasses and Louise’s character turns from a rather stuck waitress to a bad girl on the run in her convertible Ford Thunderbird.
Model: Vagabond par Ray-Ban
Grace Kelly – To catch a Thief (1955)
Probably the oldest style to remain relevant today – The White Rimmed Cat-Eye Sunglasses made an iconic appearance in yet another Hitchcock classic To Catch a thief where Kelly plays a wealthy American tourist Frances Stevens, dressed in classic bathing suits, adorable wide-brimmed sunhats, and the now famous white-framed cat-eye sunglasses.
Model: The White Rimmed Cat-Eye Sunglasses
Jean Reno – The professional (1994)
Round Sunglasses were famous from the get-go with icons like John Lennon and Diana Ross setting the trend. But, it’s the excellent role Jean Reno played in Luc Besson’s The Professional that makes it to the top of the list. Who can forget that classic scene where Jean Reno heads out to make a “hit”, turns around to look back at Mathilda (played by a young Natalie Portman), and puts on those classic round glasses? The round shape remains one of the most popular sunglasses for both men and women today. The pair Reno wore in the film was handmade by Jean Paul Gaultier.
Model: Jean-Paul GAULTIER JUNIOR Vintage Round Sunglass 58 0072
Matthew Broderick – Ferris Bueller’s day off (1986)
Ray-Ban introduced their Clubmaster Sunglasses in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until Broderick hit the screens when the style took off. Broderick is seen wearing a pair of classic black and titanium color options.
Model: Clubmaster Sunglasses
Tom Cruise – Top Gun (1986)
No iconic sunglass list would be complete without Tom Cruise on it. There’s no real introduction required here; Top Gun paved the way for Aviator Sunglasses forever. Apparently, Contrary to popular belief the sunglasses worn in the film wasn’t produced by Ray-Ban, but rather by Randolph Handcrafted American Eyewear. The originals are still produced Stateside today, and diligently worn by pilots young and old.
Model: Ray-Ban RB3025 classic aviator sunglasses
John Lennon (1940 – 1980)
How can not mention John Lennon when it comes to talking about icons and glasses? Indeed, this is impossible. He left an enormous cultural imprint, whether in the musical field or pop culture in general. One eyewear brand even took his name back to create collections like the ones he wore: simple, refined, and round. Janis Joplin and Gandhi chose them before him, Elton John and Harry Potter will wear them after.
Adlens’ John Lennon Collection was created in partnership with Lennon’s estate.
Steve McQueen – Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
How to not talk about the fashion icon Steve McQueen nicknamed “The King of Cool.” Actor, stuntman, Steve McQueen, it’s also a pair of glasses, that he particularly liked to wear, namely the Persol 714 model. This model has become timeless today.
Model: 714 by Persol
Kurt Cobain’s glasses (1967 – 1994)
Like his knitted cardigan, ripped jeans, and chipped nail polish, Kurt Cobain’s sunglasses belong to history. Immortalized during the last photoshoot of the grunge icon of the 90s, they left their mark on generations of nonconformists and delighted fashion lovers with recent reissues. Their secret? An oversized white acetate frame with a retro oval shape, created by Christina Roth and worn before by Audrey Hepburn.
Model: Christian Roth’s 6558 series
Robert De Niro – Taxi Driver (1976)
Robert de Niro’s Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver is unforgettable with its cult quote You talkin ‘to me? The iconic New York yellow cab and of course its ultra-black sunglasses for an imperceptible gaze.
Model: Original Pilot by American Optical, made for the US military.
Paul Newman – The color of money (1986)
Even if he doesn’t need any artifice, let’s face it, Paul Newman gains in charm and mystery after putting on his big sunglasses in The Color of Money.
Model: Louis Vendome Santos by Cartier
Johnny Deep – Blow (2001)
Blow is set in the 1970s, chronicling the real-life story of infamous drug smuggler George Jung. In Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the figure, the 1970s is evoked mainly through Jung’s wardrobe, thick lapelled jackets, and shirts, and a somewhat modern-looking pair of sunglasses that get their inspiration from the classic aviators, featuring a Triple Nose Bar and a Large Squared-off Style Frame.
Model: Fast Back