What do Marilyn Monroe and Barbara Windsor have in common, besides the bleach blonde hair? Dame Edna Everage and Elizabeth Taylor, besides the love of outré jewellery? Audrey Hepburn and Barbara Millicent Roberts - a.k.a. Barbie - besides the elfin waists and doe-like eyes? The cat-eye, of course.
A shared love of a flattering feline frame bonds all these women, and many more less famous but equally sophisticated spectacle wearers too.
So to you, refined frame-lovers, we give Lavina: an entirely unashamed cat-eye whose smooth curves and sweeping lines seek to elongate and accentuate every cheekbone they come into contact with.
Invented in the 1930s by New York heiress, socialite and artist Altina Schinasi, the cat-eye soon swept the spectacle world by storm. After World War II, cat-eye styles, and their squarer sibling the browline spectacle, made up 50% of eyewear sales.
Across the pond in 1950s Britain, it was Michael Birch who famously gave birth to what were known as ‘fashion spectacles’. Designing his silhouettes based on the wearer, rather than as a purely medical device, he had a particular penchant for upswept shapes - the iconic Candi-Doll frame undoubtedly being his most famous.
A trained airman, artist and dancer, Birch had a late-night cabaret act, sold sculpture to Henry Moore, and latterly became a hugely successful professional carver of Japanese netsuke (miniature carvings), and a maker of handmade books.
Known for his fiery temper, Birch once trampled an entire batch of cat-eye frames underfoot, in outrage at their sub-par quality.
Lavina’s apple doesn’t fall far from the tree of true cat-eyes, retaining the dramatically sweeping sides for which they’re known. Generous proportions of the finest Italian acetate give it a bolder, more modern appearance, available in all eleven of our wonderful shades.
Shop Lavina here.