Space age sunglasses… Not to be confused with Elvis Presley sunglasses.

A group of 5 metal plated, Space Age design vintage sunglasses, circa 1970.

A group of 5 metal plated, Space Age design vintage sunglasses, circa 1970.

I never looked into it but I think there must have been a technical advance in surfacing styrenes with metal finishes around 1968 or so. An avalanche of plastic sunglasses with metal plating came tumbling down on consumers over a five year period beginning around then. There were lots of variations on the theme of metal plating, arms with portholes.

These designs had a Space Age look which mainstream fashion had actually moved on from a couple years earlier. Still, they were awesome. They speak of a future that people still had enthusiasm for; a future that would be better than the past. And in that future we’d all wear sunglasses something like these.

The weirdest thing was Elvis Presley adopted a variation of these as his trademark during his Las Vegas era. Strangely they went perfectly with the TCOB jewelry and jumpsuits with giant lapels which were never futuristic at all.

It’s through Elvis that metal plated styrene sunglasses still have relevance; copies of the style he made famous are still churned out cheaply in large numbers – a testament to his cultural immortality. Consequently we no longer associate this type of frame with the future. We associate it with the past.

More about Elvis’s sunglasses, the TCOB logo and Dennis Roberts coming soon…

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