Google Doodle Celebrates Altina Schinasi: The Visionary Designer Behind the Iconic ‘Cat-Eye’ Eyeglass Frame


Fashion is an ever-changing canvas that reflects the spirit of different eras and the creative minds behind them. Among those creative minds, there are hidden gems whose innovations transcend time and continue to influence generations. Today, Google Doodle commemorates one such visionary designer, Altina Schinasi, whose remarkable contribution to eyewear fashion left an indelible mark on the world. The iconic ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame, born from her artistic brilliance, is now celebrated through the search engine’s homepage art, shining a spotlight on a design that has stood the test of time and remains as alluring as ever.

Early Life and Passion for Art

Born on February 4, 1907, in New York City, Altina Schinasi was the daughter of Sephardic Jewish immigrants. Growing up in a multicultural environment, she was exposed to a diverse range of artistic expressions, which would later influence her design philosophy. From an early age, Altina displayed a strong passion for art and creativity. Her parents recognized her talents and encouraged her artistic pursuits, providing her with a solid foundation for her future endeavors.

A Journey of Artistic Exploration

Altina’s journey as an artist was marked by her versatility and curiosity to explore various forms of creative expression. She attended the Art Students League in New York City, where she honed her skills as a painter and sculptor. The combination of her keen artistic sensibilities and her scientific curiosity led her to delve into the world of architecture and design.

The Inspiration Behind the ‘Cat-Eye’ Eyeglass Frame

Altina Schinasi’s breakthrough as a designer came during a trip to Europe, where she became enamored with the captivating architecture of the Spanish Steps in Rome. The charming shape of a cat’s eyes particularly caught her attention, and it was this inspiration that sparked the idea for the iconic ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame. The design was unconventional, yet elegantly balanced the playful and sophisticated aspects of feline grace.

Upon returning to New York City, Altina set to work on transforming her inspiration into a tangible creation. Her sketches and prototypes combined elements of avant-garde style and feminine allure, culminating in a frame that was both aesthetically pleasing and practical for everyday wear. In 1950, Altina Schinasi patented her ‘cat-eye’ eyeglass frame design, and the world of fashion was forever changed.

Cat-Eye Glasses Take the World by Storm

The introduction of the cat-eye glasses revolutionized the eyewear industry, capturing the hearts of fashion-conscious individuals and celebrities alike. The frames’ upwardly sloping angles, often adorned with intricate embellishments, were a stark departure from traditional round or rectangular eyewear. The ‘cat-eye’ style was an instant hit, becoming a symbol of femininity and empowerment.

Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly were frequently seen donning these stylish frames, amplifying their popularity. The cat-eye glasses became a staple accessory for women seeking to make a bold fashion statement. It was not just a mere trend but rather a timeless piece that became synonymous with elegance and sophistication.

Altina’s Artistic Journey Beyond Eyewear

While Altina Schinasi’s cat-eye glasses earned her widespread acclaim, she was more than just an eyewear designer. Her artistic journey extended far beyond the realm of fashion. As a sculptor and painter, she created thought-provoking artworks that often challenged societal norms and depicted the human experience in all its complexity.

Moreover, Altina was an ardent advocate for social justice and civil rights. Her experiences as a woman of Sephardic Jewish heritage fueled her passion for supporting marginalized communities. Through her art and activism, she sought to break down barriers and promote acceptance and equality.

Google Doodle Honors Altina Schinasi’s Legacy

Google Doodle’s tribute to Altina Schinasi serves as a reminder of the importance of acknowledging the unsung heroes of creativity. By featuring her on its homepage, Google not only celebrates her achievements but also introduces her groundbreaking work to a global audience, inspiring future generations of designers, artists, and innovators.


Altina Schinasi’s legacy extends far beyond the frames of the ‘cat-eye’ glasses she designed. She was a visionary artist, a passionate designer, and an advocate for change. Her impact on the fashion world is evident in the continued popularity of her iconic eyewear design, while her advocacy for social justice remains a powerful influence on the pursuit of a more equitable society.

As we celebrate this remarkable woman, let us be reminded that creativity knows no boundaries and can transcend generations. Altina Schinasi’s ‘cat-eye’ glasses continue to adorn faces worldwide, a testament to her artistic brilliance and the enduring power of visionary design. Today, let us not only remember the innovation of a designer but also honor the visionary spirit of a woman who dared to make a difference.

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