Today Google Doodle Honors Altina Schinasi, Cat-Eye Glasses Creator

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Today Google Doodle honours the life of Altina Schinasi, a designer located in the United States. She is most recognised for popularising the ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame style. Google Doodle honours the American designer’s 116th birthday with a doodle featuring Altina within a cat-eye rimmed eyeglass.

Altina was born on August 4, 1907, in Manhattan, New York, to immigrant parents, according to the Google Doodle blog article. Her creative path carried her from Manhattan’s streets to Paris’ lively art galleries, where she continued her passion for painting.

Altina Schinasi: Making of a Designer

Altina Schinasi was born to Jewish parents in America in 1907. She received her early education at home before attending Horace Mann School before leaving at twelve to board at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts – years that fostered a strong sense of independence and an urge to explore artistic pursuits.

After graduation, Altina’s mother took her to Paris where she studied painting with Rene Bensussan – her cousin. This experience introduced Altina to a vibrant art scene and deepened her appreciation of various forms of art. Once back in New York she continued her artistic education under Samuel Halpert at Roerich Museum.

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From Designing Windows to Creating Iconic ‘Cat-Eye’ Frames

Altina began her design journey by joining forces with Peter Copeland on an initiative to design windows for Fifth Avenue stores. Here she had the privilege of working alongside legendary artist Salvador Dali – further inspiring her passion for creating something exceptional.

Later in her life, Altina filed numerous patents for her inventive designs; however, her breakthrough came early when she conceptualized and sold the Harlequin eyeglass frame, more commonly known as ‘cat-eye’ frames – an innovative concept which defined glamour and sophistication during the late 1930s – making it an iconic fashion accessory.

The Birth of the ‘Cat-Eye’ Frame

Altina first had the idea for cat-eye frames when she encountered uninspired and mundane eyeglass frames at an optician’s window. Disappointed at their lack of creativity and style, Altina asked herself “What could a woman wear on her face that would make it romantic?”

Inspired by the allure of Harlequin masks, she began cutting them to make frames she imagined. This innovative design instantly captured fashion-conscious individuals’ attention; instantly adding elegance and playfulness to eyewear.

The Success of the ‘Cat-Eye’ Frames

Altina’s iconic cat-eye frames quickly gained fame, becoming an icon of timeless elegance and femininity. Fashion icons and movie stars embraced her designs, further propelling their popularity. Her eyeglass frames graced influential women around the globe – further solidifying Altina’s position within fashion design.

The Lord & Taylor Annual American Design Award went to Altina, who was recognised for her ground-breaking innovation in eyeglass frames. This honour solidified Altina’s reputation as a trailblazing fashion innovator and elevated cat-eye frames to a necessary accessory.

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Altina Schinasi’s Legacy

Altina Schinasi remains an influential force in fashion to this day, her innovative designs such as cat-eye frames remaining relevant today and being worn by generations of designers alike. Her ability to combine art with functionality in her designs continues to influence eyewear industry today.

Altina broke barriers and led the way for female fashion designers in her field, helping female eyewear designers make a name for themselves in fashion. Her commitment to crafting beautiful yet functional eyewear transformed how people see glasses – taking them from simply necessity into fashion statements.

Google Doodle Honors Altina Schinasi

Altina Schinasi made an impactful mark on fashion through her visionary designs in Paris and New York, marking her life journey with creativity, passion, and perseverance. We honor Altina with this Google Doodle tribute on her 116th birthday celebration!

Altina Schinasi’s iconic cat-eye frames continue to be revered and appreciated, showing that great design transcends time. Her legacy as an artist, designer, and entrepreneur serves as an inspiration to aspiring fashion designers while attesting to creativity and innovation in fashion design.


What is Altina Schinasi best known for?

Altina Schinasi is best known for her revolutionary design of the ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frames. This iconic design became a fashion sensation in the late 1930s and continues to be a popular choice for those seeking a touch of vintage glamour.

Where was Altina Schinasi born?

Altina Schinasi was born on August 4, 1907, in Manhattan, New York, to immigrant parents.

How did Altina Schinasi become a designer?

After studying painting in Paris and working alongside prominent artists, Altina embarked on a career in design. Her breakthrough came when she created and marketed the ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame, propelling her to become a renowned designer.

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What inspired Altina Schinasi to create the ‘cat-eye’ frames?

Altina was inspired by the Harlequin mask, which she saw as a romantic and whimsical symbol. She incorporated the mask’s allure into her eyeglass frame designs, resulting in the iconic upward swoop that defines the ‘cat-eye’ frames.

What impact did Altina Schinasi have on the fashion industry?

Altina Schinasi’s ‘cat-eye’ frames became a symbol of elegance and femininity, adorning the faces of influential women and fashion icons. Her innovative designs continue to inspire contemporary designers, leaving a lasting impact on the eyewear industry.

What recognition did Altina Schinasi receive for her designs?

In 1939, Altina Schinasi won the Lord & Taylor Annual American Design Award for her avant-garde transformation of eyeglass frames, solidifying her reputation as a groundbreaking designer.

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