• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Google Doodle celebrates Altina Schinasi, ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame designer

Altina Schinasi

Google, in the tradition of celebrating significant individuals, celebrated Altina Schinasi’s 116th birthday on Friday with a special doodle. The doodle captured her iconic cat-eye glasses and artistic brilliance.

Altina Schinasi was born on August 4, 1907 in Manhattan, New York to immigrant parents, Google said in a post that accompanied the doodle.

She designed the Harlequin eyeglass frame, which is known today as ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame. Schinasi also patented several other inventions throughout her career and produced documentaries, according to the blogpost.

She began her creative career as a window dresser for New York’s Fifth Avenue luxury storefronts. In her role as a window dresser, she helped Salvador Dalí fully realize and execute his window designs at Bonwit Teller & Co. department store.

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At the same time, she took art classes at the Art Students League of New York, where artists Howard Warshaw and George Grosz were her instructors.

After noticing the lack of options for women’s glasses, she invented the harlequin shape, or cat’s-eye, glasses for which she is probably most known.

Schinasi’s invention earned her Lord & Taylor’s American Design Award in 1939 and received recognition from notable magazines such as Life and Vogue.

She then ventured into filmmaking with a 1960 documentary about George Grosz, her teacher; titled Interregnum. The film garnered an Academy Award nomination and was honored at the Venice Film Festival.

In her later years, Schinasi wrote and published her memoir The Road I Have Traveled (1995), volunteered as an art therapist, and invented unique portrait chairs and benches which she called Chairacters.

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Schinasi’s mother was a native of Salonica (then in the Ottoman Empire) and her father was a Sephardic Jewish Turk.

The Google Doodles celebrating Altina Schinasi 116th Birthday is not merely an artistic celebration; it is a tribute to a visionary who shaped the way art, design, and innovation is seen or perceived. Her enduring impact will continue to inspire generations, leaving an imprint that goes beyond eyewear and aesthetics.