Cool Shades provides the first in-depth exploration of the enduring appeal of sunglasses in visual culture, both historically and today.
Ubiquitous in fashion, advertising, film and graphic design, sunglasses are the ultimate signifier of 'cool' in mass culture; a powerful attribute pervading much fashion and pop cultural imagery which has received little scholarly attention until now.
Accessible and highly engaging, this book offers an original history of how sunglasses became a fashion accessory in the early twentieth century, and addresses the complex variety of meanings they have the power to articulate, through associations with vision, light, glamour, darkness, fashion, speed and technology in the context of modernity.
Cool Shades will be of great interest to students of fashion, design, visual and material culture, cultural studies and sociology, as well as general readers fascinated by this iconic fashion staple.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 272 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 9 mm
Brown delivers a fascinating explication of an iconic fashion accoutrement: sunglasses. She discusses how they have served as a popular cultural signifier, particularly since the 1920s, and explains their purportedly 'cool' quality ... This short but insightful volume explores the influence of urban developments, the early turn to goggles and then eventually to Ray-Ban aviators, and the ultimate evolution of 'modern cool.' ... According to Brown, sunglasses also were linked with African Americans, the femme fatale, white hipsters, the Beats, and late modernity ... Likening shades to Breton's top hat and Robinson's bowler, Brown offers that they stand as 'the ultimate symbol of the age.' A thoroughly intriguing account. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. -- R. C. Cottrell, California State University, Chico * CHOICE *
An original contribution to the field ... The book gives an effective discussion of the various meanings of sunglasses as signifiers and draws some interesting examples from film and photography. * Journal of Design History *