Monday, July 13, 2015

Aviator Chic


When this KultureKat is on the prowl for pop culture morsels he has a few regular spots he likes to visit. I'll turn you on to one of them right now: BBC.com. Yeah, that's right. I can find plenty to satisfy my American pop kulture kravings on the website of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Like this little appetizer about the creation of Ray-Ban sunglasses and the subsequent fashion statement we'll call aviator chic.

The original Ray-Ban Aviator glasses were developed by a real pilot in 1920. John Macready was motivated to find better eye protection after an incident involving fellow test pilot Shorty Schroeder. It seems that Shorty was on a test flight that broke the 33,000 foot barrier. Somewhere near the apex, Shorty pulled off his goggles which had fogged over. His eyes immediately began to freeze. Fortunate to land his plane safely, Shorty was helped from the plane by Macready. Distressed by his friend's experience, Macready contacted Bausch & Lomb with some ideas for a green-tinted, tear-drop shaped lens specfically designed to protect a pilot's eyes from the sun and freezing tempertures.

General Douglas MacArthur rockin' the Ray-Bans circa 1940.
The sunglasses took off for civilian use in 1937 as the Ray-Ban Aviators and, while remaining a favorite of real pilots, also became a fashion statement for General Douglas MacArthur, as well as Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

Clickography


For more about the histroy of Ray-Ban sunglasses and aviator chic, please follow this link to the full article on BBC.com.

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