RETRO READING GLASSES, RETRO SUNGLASSES AND VINTAGE-STYLED SPECTACLE FRAMES

Let's focus for a moment on International Women's Day, this year taking place on the 8th of March. This amazing day is a focal point in the movement for women's rights and is a day to celebrate the amazing contribution that women have made to the world and to gender equality.

The day has been celebrated since 1910, after German revolutionary Clara Zetkin proposed at the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference, that 8 March should be honoured as a day annually in memory of working women. However, the day was only predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries, until it was adopted by the feminist movement in about 1967. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1975.

Here at Retropeepers, we wanted to celebrate International Women’s Day by profiling some incredible women and looking at their awesome glasses, so that you can get their look. There were so many amazing, inspirational women for us to choose from, but we have narrowed it down to four women icons…

Frida Kahlo

Of course, we couldn't discuss inspirational women without the iconic Frida. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter known for her many paintings, self-portraits, and other artistic works inspired by the nature and artefacts of her beautiful Mexico. Not only her country inspired her, but also many political issues such as identity, postcolonialism, gender, class and race, which she used a folk art style to explore.  

Kahlo was an amazingly resilient person; she was disabled by polio as a child and was involved in a traffic accident at age eighteen, which caused her lifelong pain and medical problems. During her recovery time from this accident, she returned to her childhood hobby of art, with the idea of becoming an artist.

She joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1927, where she met fellow Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The couple married in 1928, and spent the late 1920s and early 1930s travelling in Mexico and the United States together.

Her amazingly unique style made her a huge success in both the USA and Europe and she was the first Mexican artist to ever be exhibited in The Louvre. However, Kahlo's work as an artist remained relatively unknown until the late 1970s, when her work was rediscovered by art historians and political activists. By the early 1990s, she had become not only a recognized figure in art history, but also regarded as an icon the feminist movement and the LGBTQ+ movement.

Kahlo's always fragile health began to decline in the same decade. She had her first solo exhibition in Mexico in 1953, shortly before her death in 1954 at the age of 47.

We couldn’t write about this legendary woman without mentioning our Frida Kahlo Cat Eye Sunglasses, which we lovingly re-created from a truly exceptional original pair of vintage sunglasses, once owned by Frida Kahlo herself and on view at her museum in Mexico City. This limited edition frame comes in the original gold colour as well as a very flattering tortoise, complete with a matching case and cloth and numbered card of authenticity. 

 

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was an American-born French entertainer, French Resistance agent, and civil rights activist. She broke boundaries and was the first African-American to star in a major motion picture, in the infamous 1927 silent film ‘Siren of the Tropics.’

She was renowned for her incredible dancing, even headlining the iconic revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. Her performance in the revue Un vent de folie in 1927 caused a sensation in Paris because of her sexy and scintillating dance moves. Her costume, consisting of only a short skirt of artificial bananas and a beaded necklace, became an iconic image and a symbol of the Jazz Age and the 1920s. Baker became a muse for many artists and intellectuals of the era, who dubbed her the “Black Venus.”

She was an amazingly brave woman, who was also known for aiding the French Resistance during World War II. In addition, she refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States and is noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

Josephine wore glasses with a rectangular shape very similar to our Mambo frames which come in three colours.

Baroness Trumpington

Trumpington was born into an upperclass family – her father was Major Arthur Campbell-Harris and her American mother, Doris was an heiress to a Chicago paint manufacturer. As a child, she mixed in exclusive circles, as her father was the aide-de-camp to the Viceroy of India and knew David Lloyd George.

However, her mother had lost most of her inheritance in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, including their home in London. On the family's return from India, they lived in their house Rowling, Goodnestone, near Sandwich, Kent, where Doris specialised in interior decorating. When war broke out, the house was needed for Army billets.

Despite having left school at only age 15 and never having taken an exam, she was fluent in French, German and Italian. After leaving school, she went to a finishing school in Paris to study art and literature. But it was during World War II, that she really achieved great things. She started out by being attached to Lloyd George's Sussex arable farm, where she worked on the land with his daughter. She then went on to work in naval intelligence at Bletchley Park from October 1940, making use of her knowledge of the German language to crack naval codes. Her work was the centre of Z codes supervised by German-Jewish refugee, Walter Ettinghausen.

Her foray into the world of politics didn’t end with the war. Eventually, she returned to London to work for Conservative, Victor Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbroke. Later she ended up serving as a local councillor, as the Mayor of Cambridge and eventually an MP, paving the way for other outspoken female politicians.

Baroness Trumpington’s style was very 1980s and she favoured large, round spectacles to match her pussybow blouse style and set hair. Our Anglo American Optical '406' Panto Glasses will give you that classic look.

Rosa Parks

Rosa was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott. On December 1, 1955, in the southern state of Alabama, Parks rejected a bus driver's order to give up her seat in the "coloured section" of the bus to a white passenger, after the whites-only section was filled; she was arrested for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws. Although Parks was not the first person to resist this type of segregation, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People believed that she was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest. Parks' bravery saw her being willing to stand up and become a controversial figure, inspiring the black community to boycott the buses for well over a year. This became the first major direct action campaign of the post-war civil rights movement. Her campaign and eventual victory in court became important symbols of the civil rights movement. Parks’ name is now synonymous with the civil rights quest for equality.

After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and continued to insist that the struggle for justice was not over and there was more work to be done. When she died in 2005, she was the first woman to lie in honour in the Capitol Rotunda - the third of only four Americans to ever receive this great honour. The United States Congress has called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement.”

Rosa’s glasses were frameless and simple, as she let her inspirational politics do the talking, for a glam twist why not try our Dior Crystal Moon Half Rim Glasses – with a frameless top and a stylish frame on the bottom, these will help you recreate Rosa’s style.

 

 

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