Friday, March 25, 2011

Ray-Ban Revisits A 1950s Style Classic

Ray-Ban Rare PrintAs hard as it is to believe, Ray-Ban was introduced as high-end sunglasses in 1937 for the United States Army Air Corps by Bausch & Lomb, after Lieutenant John MacCready returned from a balloon flying adventure that had damaged his eyes. The original prototype was one of the first anti-glare patents filed. The sunglasses were known for their extremely light frames weighing 150 grams.

Nowadays, Ray-Ban is owned by the Luxottica Group, which is the largest eye company in the world. But the eye for Ray-Ban design is no less thrilling, especially with the revival of the retro Ray-Ban Vagabond sunglasses.

The colors are especially striking, ranging from classic black to a colorful tortoise shell. Some of the modernized styles also have a solid color (like white) highlighted with the tortoise shell across the top and on the inside (a very smart design).

Ray-Ban gives the classic 1950s vintage cat-eye shape a modern spin.

For Ray-Ban, the art of making sunglasses has always been about science as much as style. The lens colors actually mean something.

Ray-BanNeutral Gray (G-15), which sometimes looks green, is designed to reduce eyes train and squinting because it transmits all colors equally, helping them retain their true color despite polarization. Brown (B-15) are special ops glasses, which add contrast to everything you see. So, the lens color you choose is more important than what looks good.

These glasses, which are sold exclusively online, are modeled after the original Wayfarer produced in 1952. Ray-Ban did launch a limited Original Wayfarer edition set, engraved in 18k gold at the temple tip, but many of the basic and most striking elements of the modernized exclusive shown are still there (and within easier reach, priced around $145 to $195).

Ray-Ban has launched a series of videos that coincide with the launch of the modernized Wayfarer revival. They capture the cool of the 1950s, but don't take themselves too seriously (like some people did in the 1980s).

Depending on the eight variants of style, each offers unique benefits. Some are polarized while others are gradient, which makes it easier for reading outdoors with a tilt of the head. But all of the frames still contain carbon fibre sheets set within the plastic, making them stronger than your average sunglasses.

What works better with the modernized take on the 1950s classic is that not everybody looked good in the original cat-eye style. These help temper the shape slightly, making the pronounced square less obtrusive. It's a nice new spin on the classic that everybody else copied.

Expect to see other revivals, but stick with Ray-Ban or maybe Oliver Goldsmith.

Fred by GoldsmithOf course, sometimes similarities are welcome. For example, we also noticed Oliver Goldsmith recently came out with a spectacle frame based on their early 1960s models too. If you're not familiar with Goldsmith, they have ten years on Ray-Ban and are based in the U.K. Only slightly more than the featured Ray-Ban (about $330 U.S.), you'll find a little more exclusivity with frames that are still made by hand.

The Modernized Wayfarer By Ray–Ban Polarizes For A 9.5 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

It took me a long time before I ever owned Ray-Ban sunglasses. When they were revived in the 1980s, they were just too popular to appreciate. Someone bought me a pair about five years ago as a gift and they've become the the pair I wear most often (after exchanging them for a better fit). These new models are striking enough to purchase a second pair and the Oliver Goldsmiths are tempting too.

You can also pick up the Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers direct from Ray-Ban. As an online exclusive, there is no set date for how long these shades will be on sale. If you are looking for something even more unique, then consider the sensationally handcrafted glasses from Oliver Goldsmith. You can find the Fred design at Quintessentially Gifts for a limited time.
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