The Protector

Persol updates a bona fide classic

Whether it’s safeguarding WWI fighter pilots from high altitude glare, or the tram drivers of Turin from kicked up dust, Persol has been looking after our optics for over a century. Its first pair of frames – the technologically advanced Protector glasses made from silica – were originally created by photographer and optometrist Giuseppe Ratti for Italian aviators in 1917, but were soon embraced by poets and champion F1 racers alike for their comfort and style.

Defence from the elements has long been their focus (their name takes its cue from per il sole or ‘for the sun’), and this year a new Protector frame has been launched: the PO2496SZ. Its adventurous and idiosyncratic design features a silver metal frame with flex hinge temples and personalised tips for a made to measure fit, finished with lustrous silver mirror lenses. And, for those who are speedy or conquering treacherous terrain, black leather sweatband and blinders come as a charmingly practical (and removable) option.

Honouring its high-performance origins, the Protector will have been recently glimpsed at the just completed 2022 edition of the Dakar Classic, the infamous off-road desert race, courtesy of Agostino Rizzardi and Alberto Vassallo in a Porsche 911 (964) Safari.

Next month, the eyewear will also support the upcoming car circuit ICE, or International Concourse of Elegance. Initially a site for polo matches and horse-racing, the frozen lake of Saint Moritz will soon be host to drivers and collectors admiring the world’s finest and rarest automobiles in a very cold, and very high, unique setting. They will almost certainly need some protection from the icy wind and piercing Winter sun.

Call Me by Your Name

Paapa Essiedu and Weruche Opia recreate iconic films with Port and Persol

“We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”
― André Aciman, Call Me by Your Name

Michaela Coel’s recent BBC and HBO series, I May Destroy You, was a rare beast – a TV show that breaks hearts, makes sides ache and changes the way a generation thinks about race, consent, justice and sexuality. In addition to the fierce central performance by Coel, much of the show’s strength is drawn from the chemistry, intimacy and brilliance of the supporting characters presented by Paapa Essiedu and Weruche Opia (Kwame and Terry respectively). Their fully realised turns leave indelible marks, images like a mournful Essiedu in a bob wig and angel wings, or Opia catching her threesome partner’s falsehood from the window, burnt into retinas.


Essiedu and Opia now take another star turn in two short films created by Port and Persol, recreating iconic scenes from Call Me by Your Name and The Irishman. The former picks Luca Guadagnino’s sunshine-soaked adaptation of André Aciman’s novel, playing both Armie Hammer – who originally wears Persol 649 in the film – and Timothee Chalamet – donning titanium pilot shades – in a sharply cut play of mirrors and angles. Simultaneously suave, coy, vulnerable, he aptly captures the tragic romance of the scene. Opia, meanwhile, chooses Scorsese’s Netflix epic and the swaggering monologue delivered by Robert De Niro on how to best ice someone (with two guns and a bathroom visit pre-shooting). Slinking, leaning back into the chair, she looks calm and collected in a pair of square tortoise-shell sunglasses from the 2020 woman’s range, echoing De Niro, who wears Persol throughout.


The shorts are the latest in Persol’s long love affair with cinema. Established in Turin, 1917, the luxury eyewear brand which takes its name from the Italian per il sole, meaning “for the sun”, first supplied optics to pilots, sports drivers and athletes. However in 1961, Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni wore the Model 649 (originally designed to protect the eyes of local tram drivers) in the hit film Divorzio all’italiana, formally beginning Persol’s relationship with moving pictures. Regularly gracing the big screen since – from Steve McQueen’s folding 714 in the Thomas Crown Affair to Daniel Craig’s wrap around in his first outing as Bond – frames have come to help define frames, specs and shades styling seminal characters. Beyond starring in films, they have enlisted directors to make their own – Wim Wenders paid homage to Rome, La Dolce Vita and Neorealism via two short films back in 2015 – launched a Film Noir capsule collection inspired by the genre, and even celebrated their 100th Anniversary at the 2017 Festival de Cannes. From Cinecittà to Hollywood, long may they continue their reign eyes wide shut.

Produced by: Map Studio 

Film Production Company – Untold Studios

Director/Photographer – The Reids
Executive Producers – Dan Keefe & Tessa Wood 
Producer – Tia Varnnard 
Production Runner – Edward Lloyd 

Director/Camera Assistant – Jacob 
Gaffer – Vincenzo Marranghino
Sound Recordist – Anthony Lam

Art Director – Liza Radlov 

Stylist – Adam Winder
Stylist Assistant – Helen Oke

Hair Stylist – Sheila Safo
MUA – Claudia Cavalli