I remember looking at some old photographs of my Dad and suddenly realizing that the sunglasses he was wearing were really cool. When I asked him about those amazing glasses he told me they were Persol sunglasses and then I understood why it was they had stood out in those vintage photographs
Since the early part of the 20th century Persol has symbolized the quality and style of Italian sunglasses. Founded in 1917 by Giuseppe Ratti, a photographer and owner of a small optician’s shop in Turin, the original name of the now internationally recognized Italian brand was not Persol, but Protector. Initially Ratti made glasses for airplane pilots. Quality, innovation and originality quickly made Protector glasses the choice of air forces around the world. Even the great Italian author Gabriele D’Annunzio wore Protector glasses during WWI and his memorable flight over Vienna.
The Persol brand was born from the Protector name in the 1930s as the company began moving away from the military market towards high quality sunglasses for the everyday customer. The name Persol (“per il sole” meaning “for the sun”) highlights the ability of the glasses to protect against the sun’s rays.
Persol sunglasses have served many different purposes for different people in different places. In 1957 the city of Turin asked Persol to make the city’s tram drivers sunglasses that would be effective against both dust and the sun. In 1961 Marcello Mastroianni used a pair of Persol sunglasses to transform into the memorable protagonist of Divorce Italian Style (Divorzio all’italiana). In 1989 the Italian adventurer Enrico Rosso and his crew wore Persol sunglasses to protect against the glare of the snow as they climbed the Himalaya and it was later reported that none of the expedition’s members experienced any eye problems.
Persol sunglasses have not only been worn by the adventurers and personalities who have made history and defined the culture of cool (Steve McQueen wore Persols), they also continue to be the accessory of choice for today’s stars including George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
Today the incredible story of Persol and its success across the world is written into the sunglass brand’s standout shades, from the Steve Mc Queen tribute sunglasses to the Carol Art sunglasses and the Bruce Lee-style aviators. All you need to do to add your name to this vintage legend of Italian attitude is put on a pair and show that you’re too cool to be bothered by those pesky rays.