On my recent quest to find a replacement to a pair of sunglasses that I had for years and saw better days, I came across the new aviators range by Alexander McQueen and was immediately drawn to them. Aviator sunglasses were originally developed in 1936 for pilots to protect their eyes while flying and started being publicly sold by brand Ray-Ban in 1937. They became popular in the 1960s when singers such as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were seen in public wearing them. The popularity and sales of aviators, particularly the ones produced by Ray-Ban, peaked in the 1980s and have remained highly coveted ever since. Sales of Ray-Ban aviators are even said to have risen 40% in the 7 months following the release of the 1986 film Top Gun, where actors Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards could be seen wearing this particular kind of shades.
The current popularity of 1960s styles as evident in series such as Mad Men or in the numerous retro trends on the runways and magazine editorials, has confirmed that the popularity of aviator sunglasses is showing no signs of abating. Over the years, most sunglasses brands have reworked aviator styles to different but overall great deals of success.
The current Alexander McQueen styles that I particularly enjoyed when perusing online retailer Red Hot Sunglasses (which conveniently lists ‘aviator’ as a style on its own when looking for different sunglasses options) are excellent examples of how the aviator design has remained a true classic. Despite revealing the timeless design shape, the Alexander McQueen current range of aviators incorporates innovative touches, such as the brand’s signature skull on both temple arms, as well as stylish details such as gunmetal wire frames, brow details and temple tips, and gradient coloured lenses.
Images courtesy of Red Hot Sunglasses