Some shades are simply more timeless than others. Persol’s iconic sunglasses have been worn by countless icons over the year, from Jack Nicholson to Anthony Bourdain. But many Americans were introduced to the brand by the King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen, who wore them in the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair.
For much of the film, McQueen wore a pair of Persol 714 folding sunglasses with light Havana frames and crystal blue lenses. The style was a personal favorite of McQueen, and he also donned them in Bullitt, The Getaway and Le Mans.
The 714 sunglasses were the first-ever folding glasses with hinges at the bridge and on the temples. These packable shades were released in the 1960s and were based on Persol’s 649 style, a pilot shape with a keyhole bridge designed in 1957 for Turin tram drivers.
Persol’s new Steve McQueen Special Edition series consists of five colors inspired by McQueen's own interests. There’s a yellow version that pays homage to the Boeing Stearman (the first plane McQueen ever piloted), a classic light Havana frame with blue polarized lenses and a limited-edition Havana frame with platinum-plated lenses, among others.
Each pair is made in Italy and features Persol’s legendary arrow hinges and Meflecto stems. They range in price from $480 to $790, and are available online now. If you want a truly iconic pair of shades, these are worth checking out.