Eyewear of the week, May 29th 2014

Although the first Optyl sunglasses made for Christian Dior was a combination frame of sorts (for the record it was huge and amazing with a stamped metal paisley frontpiece) the first decade or so of the Optyl license mostly showcased the sculptural design possibilities of Wilhelm Anger’s moldable wonder plastic.

In my opinion the model 2056 was their first truly notable design rendered mostly in metal:

Even 30 years after release the design remains striking.

Even 30 years after release the design remains striking.

Although elements of the design had been around for a while – the top and bottom hinges can be found on various wrap sunglasses from the 1960s and X type bridges have been around more than 200 years – the combination of elements was fresh and exciting upon the design’s release and remains fresh and exciting today.

Optyl's  Christian Dior model 2056 often called "The Butterfly". The X bridge of these vintage sunglasses sweeps elegantly into the eyewires forming the top and bottom of the frame before flowing back into the temples.

Optyl’s Christian Dior model 2056 often called “The Butterfly”. The X bridge of these vintage sunglasses sweeps elegantly into the eyewires forming the top and bottom of the frame before flowing back into the temples.

This design was always a favorite of mine. I’m apparently not the only one who found it inspiring. In recent years numerous companies have channeled parts of this frame, especially the nicely executed bridge. My guess is if the frame was cheaper to render properly there’d be enough straight knock-offs of the design to give it the ubiquity some feel necessary to earn classification as iconic.

Either way, it’s lovely to look at.

Christian Dior model 2056 Sunglasses look good from almost every angle.

Christian Dior model 2056 Sunglasses look good from almost every angle.

I may feature the first Optyl Dior frames next week. They’re more picturesque, but hardly as influential.

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