Olivia Newton John, New York 1970's
When it comes to vintage eyewear the 70s can sometimes be a decade that is overlooked. People often think of the 50s & 60s cat eyes or 80s huge oversized specs, but let me assure you the eyewear in the 70s was just as hot as the mini skirts, bell sleeves and flares that graced the decade.
The seventies had one of our favourite colour pallets of all time, with earthy tones including harvest gold, burnt sienna, teak and avocado all taking centre stage. All of these colours can be seen throughout the glasses and sunglasses of the era.
Throughout the 70s technological advances made eyewear more mainstream and plastic lenses were starting to become more common than glass. This brought big advantages, not only from a safety/breakage point of view, but glass lenses are at least twice the weight of plastic due to the density of the material. This often made eyewear heavy and uncomfortable.
The way sunglasses were tinted changed across the decade too. In 1974 RayBan introduced Ambermatic lenses. These light adaptive lenses changed colour depending on the light conditions from amber to dark grey. The lenses highlighted contours and shapes making them great for winter sports.
Graduated or Gradutint lenses also became popular. The lenses would be dip-dyed in tanks and with time the density of tint would change across the surface of the lens. Most commonly the lenses would be darker at the top, and fade towards the bottom of the frame.
We also saw a surge in yellow and amber tints, giving a real hippy vibe with famous faces sporting the look such as John Lennon and David Bowie.
With lens innovations came frame enhancements and in 1964 Wilhelm Anger who at the time worked with ViennaLine and later Carrera created the plastic material Optyl. Optyl is a lightweight, hypoallergenic and durable material that is still used to this day. It is partly down to this material that many of our new old stock frames are in mint condition, as the glasses were designed to last. The material was used by many manufacturers and is quite prolific across several high end brands such as Christian Dior and Dunhill.
We have picked our three favourite shapes from the decade and some of our hot picks from our 70s Collection.
Aviator glasses and sunglasses were popular across the decade as was military fashion in general. Designers were influenced by many factors such as the Vietnam War and the emergence of global TV coverage displaying the fashion trends of both activists and demonstrators.
Featured below are some of our favourite 70s style icons which we hope you enjoy.
Butterfly shaped frames were popular in the seventies, and can be seen in the image at the top of this blog post which features Olivia Newton John at Bleecker Street Station in New York. Butterfly frames are feminine, often oversized and they have the same bilateral symmetry as that of the butterfly.
Oversized Square frames were huge in the 70s and most definitely our favourite pick of the lot, be it glasses or sunglasses, we're just crazy for this style at Retro HQ.
Pierre Cardin BKBR
I have definitely learnt a thing or two about the 70's that I didn't know before starting this blog post. In regards to fashion it could currently be my favourite. I hope you have found interesting and insightful and in perfect timing I finish typing to the Sultans of Swing by the Dire Straights, a classic hit from 1978.
Peace Out x