The history and future of Altina Schinasi Cat Eye Glasses

The history and future of Altina Schinasi Cat Eye Glasses - MyDollger

In this article, we look at the ingenuity that brought a blend of style and innovation as we delve into the story of Altina Schinasi and her iconic Cat Eye Glasses. We discuss the fascinating history behind these timeless frames that have graced faces with elegance for decades. Decades from their inception, Altina Schinasi's legacy continues to shape fashion. Read on to explore the allure and enduring charm of Cat Eye Glasses through the lens of this visionary designer.

The Story of Altina Schinasi

Altina Schinasi was an exceptional American designer, inventor, and artist, who was born in the vibrant district of Manhattan, New York, on August 4, 1907. Altina had a life littered with so many achievements in different fields, ranging from entrepreneurship and design to film and art. However, the “Harlequin eyeglass frames”, her iconic invention, remain her most profound legacy, earning her a place in the history of fashionable eyeglasses. You may know them by their more popular name, cat-eye glasses. 

Altina was born to immigrant parents, and from a young age, began to display tremendous passion and talent for arts. After schooling in the US in her formative age, she travelled to Paris to study art. That was where her passion became even deeper, and she returned to the US to continue her education in New York.

Altina was exceptional in filmmaking, painting, design, and window dressing, and she earned acclaim for her distinctive artistic vision. She also received several distinguished awards in her lifetime to celebrate her contribution to the art and film industry, and she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

In the fashion and design industry, she received the American Design Award from Lord & Taylor for her significant influence on the industry. Altina lived to the ripe old age of 92 and passed away in Santa Fe, New Mexico on August 19, 1999. Decades after her death, she continues to inspire creatives around the world with her remarkable talent and innovative spirit.

The Invention Of Cat Eye (Harlequin) Frames

After graduation, Altina got a job as a window dresser for Peter Copeland on Fifth Avenue. This was where she got the opportunity to collaborate Salvador Dalí a renowned visionary artist. It was also during this era of her life that she patented her Harlequin glasses. She designed the first set of prototypes for the frames, inspired by a lack of options of stylish frames available in New York. her designs took inspiration from the playfully mischievous harlequin masks ladies wear to balls in that period. Now you know how they first got their name, "Harlequin".

Altina Schinasi glasses met with a lot of skepticism initially, but people soon warmed up to their playful, yet stylish looks and feminine silhouettes, and her business grew massively in the 1930s. Her invention won her the Lord & Taylor Annual American Design Award in 1939, recognizing her innovative transformation of eyeglass frames from prescription eyewear into a trendy fashion accessory. Others who acknowledged her impact on the aesthetics of eyewear and the industry in entirety include Life and Vogue magazines, respectively. 

Although Altina left the eyewear in the early 1940s to pursue her other passions like film making, sculpture, painting and civil rights movements, cat-eye frames continued to surge in popularity, especially in the post-war era. Popular figures like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, politician, Shirley Chisholm and more sported the frames to public events. There was a massive downturn in its popularity in the 90s and early noughties, as they became subtly known as “grandma glasses”. However harlequin frames have experience a comeback in the past couple of decades, led by stars like Rihanna and Paris Hilton who sport the frames regularly. 

Will Cat Eye Frames Still In Trend In 2024?

Cat eye sunglasses will always be that fashion accessory that will help you boost your style, confidence, and elegance. Their ability to switch your style and looks from zero to a hundred is one reason they are timeless and evergreen. Cat eye sunglasses never go out of style; they are always in trend. This is because they fit almost every face shape and also go with different styles of fashion. One important reason cat eye glasses will always remain relevant is because of the vintage aesthetics it possesses. It has a retro aura with modern style elements that makes it indeed evergreen. They are a must-have in your fashion collection because they help to enhance your natural beauty effortlessly. In 2023, the cat eye frame stayed in trend, only that there were trending colors that were in vogue more than other colors. In 2023, we saw more neutral colors staying in vogue all around the year. For 2024, we do not expect less. Only that this time around, neutral colors will stay more on the trend table. Metallic and flashy colors of vat eyeglasses are also finding their way to the trend table. This sounds exciting and we can't wait for you to have this in your accessory collection.

Best Cat Eye Glasses Trends

Oversized Cat-Eye Sunglasses

Oversized cat-eye sunglasses bring a trendy touch to any look, and help you make a fashion statement that's hard to miss. The larger frames also add a dash of glamor and flair, instantly elevating your style. With their bold and confident design, these sunglasses not only shield your eyes from the sun but also frame your face in a chic way. The oversized appeal creates a sense of mystery and allure, making them a favorite choice for those who want to stand out. Oversized cat-eye frames also help you exude confidence and look incredibly cool.

Small Cat-Eye Sunglasses

Eye Glasses help you achieve more class with your look, but with these small Cat-Eye Sunglasses, you will achieve more. You look more elegant and sophisticated and you can switch between formal, semi-formal, and informal looks without doing too much. One spectacular feature of this frame is that it is designed with a curved brow line. Hence, making it suitable for most face shapes. Another unique feature of these Small Cat-Eye Sunglasses is that they usually have dark gray polarized lenses. This is an element that gives it a sophisticated, stylish, and feminine look. With these modern winged sunglasses, you can never go wrong. 

Bold Cat-Eye Sunglasses

Bold Cat-Eye Sunglasses are a good way to announce your presence with your lens without doing too much. With eyeglasses, little is more, and the bold cat eyeglasses will help you achieve this. The oversized frames add a cool factor that's totally in vogue. One of the major highlights of these sunglasses is its winged-out rounded frame. Also, these sunglasses not only shield your eyes from the sun but also give your face a bold and confident appearance. And the large size makes them a fashion-forward choice, creating a statement look that's both chic and sassy. So if you are a lover of retro fashion but in a more modern way, this pair of winged sunglasses would be your best bet. 

Retro Cat-Eye Sunglasses

With sunglasses, retro cat-eye eyeglasses are the new gold. Retro Cat-Eye Sunglasses bring back a cool, classic vibe that's all about style. The oversized frames make these sunglasses super trendy and attractive. Also, the vintage feel and aura associated with retro lenses help you achieve more confidence with your skin and personality. This is a great option for you if you are boho chic or a lover of bohemian fashion. Retro Cat-Eye Sunglasses are more than just sun blockers—they're a fashion statement. 

Upswept Cat-Eye Eyeglasses

If you are a lover of oversized sunglasses, then up-swept cat-eye eyeglasses would serve well as your best friend. These beautiful eyeglasses are durable, so you can be sure that they would serve you for a long time. You can get them in different fits ranging from the medium to the large sizes. The idea is to own a sunglass that is not tightly fitted to your skin and this is highly fashionable. It doesn’t matter how many accessories you are wearing, these sunglasses would always stand out and level up your face game. 

Vintage Cat-Eye Eyeglasses

Vintage eyeglasses are great and cat eye glasses are superb. But having both the vintage and a cat-eye feature in a single frame is a double win. Vintage Cat-Eye Sunglasses bring a timeless elegance to your look, blending classic charm with modern fashion. These sunglasses create a bold and confident appearance, framing your face in a way that's both chic and sophisticated. The large frames also contribute to the fashionable appeal, giving you a standout look that's both trendy and comfortable. 

Where You Can Buy Cat Eye Frames Glasses or Sunglasses?

At Dollger, we offer you the best collection of cat-eye frames. Step into timeless style with our glasses, which are not just fashionable but also protect your eyes from the sun with our UV protection lenses. Whether you like your frames classic or modern, our collection offers you the best to suit your taste. Feel the charm of old-fashioned coolness that everyone loves. Dollger glasses make you look good and help you see clearly. Check out some of our Dollger cat-eye glasses.

Dollger Retro Cat Eye Eyeglasses

Discover timeless glamour with Dollger Retro Cat Eye Eyeglasses. Embrace old Hollywood charm in three flattering colors. These durable frames are the perfect vintage statement. Elevate your style with comfort and elegance. A must-have for lovers of retro fashion. 

Dollger Vintage Cat Eye Eyeglasses

Reimagine classic elegance with Dollger Vintage Cat Eye Eyeglasses. Our stylish butterfly-shaped frames offer all-day comfort and undeniable flair. Elevate your look with contrasting colors that catch the eye instantly. Make a statement with these vintage-inspired glasses—your perfect blend of style and comfort. 

Dollger Cat Eye Ivory Turquoise Eyeglasses

Elevate your style with Dollger Cat Eye Ivory Turquoise Eyeglasses. The sophisticated ivory tortoise frame adds glamour to the classic horn shape, featuring a subtle cat-eye flair. Designed with spring hinges for comfort and chic allure. Opt for blue light blocking lenses for everyday digital screen protection. Make a statement with Dollger's fashionable eyewear.


Altina Schinasi and her Cat Eye Glasses have left an indelible mark on fashion history forever, blending timeless elegance with a unique design. As we delve into their past, we also glimpse a promising future, where these iconic frames continue to captivate. Each time you sport a harlequin frame, you embrace the legacy of Altina Schinasi's vision, and the past meets the present in every stylish pair of eyeglasses. That’s the enduring allure of cat eye glasses—a fashion statement that transcends eras with grace and charm.

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