Where did Altina Schinasi, the designer of those unforgettable cat-eye sunglasses, come from?


Google Doodle honors 'cat-eye' eyewear creator Altina 'Tina' Schinasi's 116th birthday.Altina Schinas This Manhattan-born sculptor was born on August 4, 1907, to immigrant parents.

Altina studied painting in Paris after graduating high school. She returned to New York and studied at The Art Students League. Window dresser for Fifth Avenue retailers was her first job.

She learned from her idols Salvador Dalí and George Grosz. "At the window display of a nearby optician's office, she noticed that the only option for women’s glasses tended to be round frames with mundane designs," Google stated.

Schinasi created a unique design for women based on the Harlequin masks she saw during Carnevale in Venice, Italy.She started cutting paper samples of her novel frame design since she thought sharp corners flatter the face. 

All major manufacturers rejected her design as edgy. She persisted with a local shopkeeper. The owner trusted her, and the Harlequin glasses were a hit, bringing Schansi fame. 

Harlequin spectacles dominated US women's fashion in the 1930s and 1940s.  Life and Vogue praised Altina's idea, which won the 1939 Lord & Taylor American Design Award.

Schinasi's Many Works She also acted. She produced George Grosz's Interregnum in 1960. This Oscar-nominated documentary won the Venice Film Festival. 

Her 1995 memoir The Road I Have Traveled. She volunteered as an art therapist. And Chairacters, picture benches and chairs. Altina's cat-eye design is still popular in fashion accessory trends almost a century later.

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