Meet the Visionary Woman Behind the Iconic Cat-Eye Frames: Altina Schinasi’s Fashion Revolution

Altina Schinasi was a trailblazing woman who left an indelible mark on the world of fashion and eyewear. Born in 1907 in New York City to Sephardic Jewish parents, Schinasi was an accomplished artist, inventor, and philanthropist. However, she is best remembered for her revolutionary contribution to eyewear design—the iconic cat-eye frames.

In the 1930s, Schinasi noticed that regular eyeglasses were not flattering to women’s faces. Inspired by the elongated almond shape of a cat’s eyes, she designed frames that would accentuate and flatter the wearer’s eyes and face. The cat-eye frames quickly became a fashion sensation, adorning the faces of Hollywood stars and stylish women across the globe.

Beyond her design talent, Altina Schinasi was also a talented sculptor and filmmaker, exploring various art forms with passion and innovation. Her dedication to the arts extended to philanthropy, where she supported numerous causes and artists throughout her life.

Despite facing gender and societal barriers during her time, Schinasi’s determination and creativity allowed her to break through the limitations imposed on women in the early 20th century. Her legacy continues to inspire and influence the fashion world to this day, and her contributions to eyewear design remain iconic and timeless.

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