Google Doodle honors Altina Schinasi, the creator of the iconic 'cat-eye' eyeglass frame

Explore the life of Altina Schinasi, the mastermind behind the 'cat-eye' eyeglass frame, on her 116th birthday. Learn about her artistic journey from Manhattan to Paris and how she revolutionized eyewear design. Celebrate her legacy of elegance and creativity that continues to inspire designers today.

Aug 4, 2023 - 17:04
Aug 4, 2023 - 17:06
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Google Doodle honors Altina Schinasi, the creator of the iconic 'cat-eye' eyeglass frame

Altina Schinasi: Celebrating the Designer of the Iconic 'Cat-Eye' Eyeglass Frame

Today, Google Doodle pays tribute to Altina Schinasi, a renowned American designer, on her 116th birthday. She is best remembered for her pioneering creation of the trendy 'cat-eye' eyeglass frame. The doodle depicts Altina within the distinct cat-eye-shaped frame, celebrating her artistic legacy.

Born in Manhattan, New York, in 1907 to immigrant parents, Altina's artistic journey began in the streets of Manhattan and eventually led her to the vibrant art scene in Paris, where she explored her passion for painting.

Altina's education started with home tutoring, but she later attended Horace Mann School and then boarded at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

A pivotal moment in her life occurred when she traveled to Paris with her mother and studied painting under her cousin, Rene Bensussan. This experience deepened her appreciation for art, and upon returning to New York, she continued her artistic studies under Samuel Halpert at the Roerich Museum.

Altina's first job in the design field was with Peter Copeland, where she collaborated on window design projects for Fifth Avenue stores. It was during this job that she had the opportunity to work alongside the legendary Salvador Dali.

In her later life, Altina's design prowess led her to register several patents for her innovative creations. However, her breakthrough moment came early on when she introduced the Harlequin eyeglass frame, popularly known as the 'cat-eye' frame, which became the epitome of glamour in the late 1930s.

The idea for these distinctive eyeglass frames sparked when Altina was unimpressed by the uninspiring frames she saw in an optician's window. Determined to create something romantic and whimsical, she found inspiration in the Harlequin mask and began cutting masks into the envisioned frames. After setting up production and securing deals with department stores, Altina managed marketing and distribution from her own office.

In 1939, Altina's innovation was recognized with the Lord & Taylor Annual American Design Award, which celebrated her avant-garde transformation of eyeglass frames into a fashionable accessory.

Altina's vision and creativity have left a lasting impact on the world of design, and her iconic 'cat-eye' frames continue to be revered as a timeless fashion statement. As we celebrate her life and accomplishments on this special day, Altina Schinasi's legacy remains an inspiration for aspiring designers and creators worldwide.

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