Google Doodle Celebrates Altina Schinasi: Iconic Cat-Eye Glasses Creator’s 116th Birth Anniversary
On August 4th, Google paid a colorful and captivating tribute to Altina Schinasi, an influential artist and inventor, on her 116th birth anniversary. Renowned for creating the iconic ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame, Schinasi’s life journey from immigrant roots to artistic brilliance was marked by determination and innovation. This article delves into her remarkable achievements, the inspiration behind her revolutionary eyewear design, and her enduring impact on the world of fashion and art.
A Creative Journey Begins: Born in Manhattan, New York, on August 4, 1907, Altina Schinasi’s artistic journey commenced at The Art Students League. Her keen eye for design and aesthetics led her to revolutionize the world of eyewear.
The Birth of the ‘Cat-Eye’ Eyeglass Frame: Working as a window dresser, Schinasi recognized the lack of appealing eyewear options for women. Inspired by the allure of Harlequin masks at the Carnevale festival in Venice, she conceived the innovative ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame, featuring pointed edges that accentuated the wearer’s features.
Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Success: Despite facing skepticism and initial rejection from major manufacturers, Schinasi’s persistence and the support of a local shopkeeper propelled the success of her Harlequin eyeglasses. These distinctive frames gained popularity, becoming a fashion statement of the late 1930s and 1940s, worn by iconic figures like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
Widespread Recognition and Accomplishments: Schinasi’s originality earned her the prestigious Lord & Taylor American Design Award in 1939. Renowned publications such as Vogue and Life celebrated her transformative influence on the fashion industry.
Diverse Ventures: Beyond eyewear design, Schinasi explored filmmaking, producing the acclaimed documentary ‘George Grosz’ Interregnum,’ which garnered an Academy Award nomination and triumphed at the Venice Film Festival in 1960. Her creative pursuits extended to art therapy, using her talent to uplift others.
A Remarkable Life Journey: Schinasi’s memoir, ‘The Road I Have Travelled,’ provided a glimpse into her extraordinary life, reflecting her indomitable spirit and dedication to artistic exploration.
Legacy and Later Years: Continuing her passion for painting and sculpting, Schinasi settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, alongside her husband, painter Celestino Miranda. Her life story was later immortalized in the documentary ‘Altina,’ released in 2014, further preserving her enduring impact on the art world.
Altina Schinasi’s indelible legacy as a visionary artist and inventor of the iconic ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame continues to inspire generations. Her creative journey serves as a testament to the power of determination, originality, and unwavering dedication to artistic expression. As we commemorate her 116th birth anniversary, we celebrate her contributions to fashion, film, and art, and honor her enduring influence on the world of creativity.