Persol is one of the world's oldest brands of sunglasses, and most famous for the Steve McQueen series - the first foldable pair of sunglasses and still handmade in Italy today.
Founded in Turin, Italy in 1917 by Giuseppe Ratti, Persol started life as sunglasses for athletes and pilots. Persol deleveloped a flexible stem, known as the patented Meflecto system which was one of the first spring hinges for eyewear.
Persol's most famous wearer is the King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen who wore a pair of 714 Persol sunglasses in the 1968 film, The Thomas Crown Affair. Due to this, Persol has become synonymous with Steve McQueen and the limited edition Steve McQueen series celebrates this.
Originally Persol Sunglasses weren't part of Steve McQueen's character's costume, but when he arrived on set for filming wearing his own pair of 714 foldable Persol Sunglasses (in Light Havana and with blue crystal lens!) the producers of the film decided to incorporate the sunglasses into the film - with the sunglasses becoming an icon of the film's sharp style - 3 piece suits and Persol Sunglasses.
However, Steve McQueen's association with Persol didn't start and end with The Thomas Crown Affair. He'd been wearing them for several years, after Persol was introduced to the USA in 1962 and his continued championing of the brand ensured it became a style icon. Steve McQueen favoured the 714 model, a foldable version of the Persol 649 sunglasses which had been originally developed to keep the sun's glare out of the eyes of Turin's tram drivers. He can later be spotted wearing the Persol 714 also in the film, The Getaway and during the filming of Le Mans. A pair of Persol 714 sunglasses which had once belonged to Steve McQueen sold at auction for over $70,000 in 2006.