PERSOL WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN PERSOL WHITHOUT ITS ‘BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION’.

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The obsession for its in the van accessories’ quality and personality, that led the label to sign one of the chapters of the better Made in Italy history up to standing out overseas. It’s an iter Persol starts in 1917 in Turin, together with Giuseppe Ratti (a photographer at the time busy in the Berry optician store), who was about to produce the very first sunglasses for aviators and sport drivers: the ‘Protector’, soon adopted by the Italian Armed Forces and Military Aviation (and afterwards by the American one), as well as by drivers and bikers. An anecdote briefly explaining how much Persol is tied to historical events is the fact that ‘the Prophet’ D’Annunzio was wearing a pair of ‘Protector’ already in ’18 during the famous Flight over Vienna… ‘donec ad metam’!


Later on, Ratti chooses a good omen symbol for his small factory, a stork, and ‘luck’ is not late in coming. Infact, in ’20 another of the brand’s icons was born: the ‘Cinesino’ designed by artist Eugenio ‘Golia’ Colmo, that for half a century would go along Persol adv. But not only, in the ’20s the label introduces its popular yellow brown lenses, well performing thanks to a special ‘en masse’ manufacturing  for the top protection against sun rays. Meanwhile, the ‘Protector’ don’t stop achieving success, so in ’24 they get the first of fourteen international patents and in ’27 they ‘conquer’ the Swiss Military Department. But they had to wait until 1938 for Persol brand to come to life officially, together with the technique and design gimmicks which got its emblem, such as the ‘Meflecto’ system the world first flexible stem (extreme comfort)  or the ‘Victor Flex’ application a technologies mix in order to ad hoc fit each face and the unmistakable stem ‘Arrow’ inspired by the ancient warriors’ weapons (in all its versions, more than thirty, up to the current ‘Supreme’)  a functional detail and style element all the while that will make Persol recognizable worldwide. If when Ratti thought the arrow he said it would have become one of his strong suits, time proved him right.
Thereafter, in ’57 the brand dedicates Turin tram drivers the ‘649’ model, that is a big hit for its design originality and becomes an icon when M.Mastroianni wears it in the ‘Divorce Italian style’ movie, in ’61 (as female testimonials, Persol chose O.Muti and C.Alt, gifting them with the ‘830’ and ‘Carol 853’). And from the ’60s on the cinema history ties with the brand’s one, in an endless ‘filmography’. Not by chance the label bewitched even an undisputed USA filmmaking star, Steve McQueen, who used to wear his ‘PO 714’ on and off stage; that’s why recently Persol celebrated the model with an exclusive special edition (three styles of the ‘PO 714 SM’) sticking to the original features: blue lens, folding stem, ‘Supreme’ arrow and sign of the SmcQ antihero, and adding ten steps to its classic production iter. Always in the ’60s the label ‘turns itself on a dime’ producing work goggles, the ‘Labor’, and in ’62 it enters the American market as well (though it had already been supplying NASA). The brand doesn’t stop its work upon reasearch and newness, so in ’80s ’90s Persol eyewear get ‘put through the wringer’  as to try out their performance under extreme conditions (thanks to characters like R.Messner)  and take part into expeditions such as that to the Svalbard Isles or Himalaya, or in some edition of the Paris-Dakar and Pharaohs Rally. In the same period, fruit of those trials, it comes to light ‘Persol Sport’; a line thought for sport personalities (with testimonials like A.Tomba and J.Alesi, or A.Del Piero and F.Inzaghi), moreover the brand is chosen by Russian Aeroflot and Italian Frecce Tricolori. Finally, in ’91 Persol crowns an ulterior dream opening a boutique in Beverly Hills, and if in ’92 it was already present in almost fourty nations, in ’95 it got acquired by Luxottica, that is powering its international success  bringing on the production in its historic Lauriano based factory.
Still nowadays, so, Persol’s ‘beautiful obsession’ doesn’t leave its Made in Italy technique and aesthetics mood; because appearance also counts, whether it’s about the look, comfort, safety or better yet  all that together.