The Drive, Within

Persol explores creativity in its personal, myriad forms

“My creative drive comes from living a very full life… I would like to leave lots of art, lots of kindness, lots of compassion,” notes Stéphanie Alexandra Mina Sokolinski, known professionally as Soko. The French musician and actress, resplendent in three different Persol frames – PO3274S (a homage to the first-ever folding model), PO3286V (streamlined modern pantos shape) and PO3283V (idiosyncratic Arrow profile) makes up part of the trio of talent the brand has partnered with for its latest campaign.

Examining the where, how and what of creative drive and personal passion, “the voice that guides our choices and makes us unique individuals”, Persol’s recently released summer collection plays out in and around Los Angeles courtesy of Swedish photographer and director Kalle Gustafsson.

Soko is joined by photographer and motorcycle enthusiast Dimitri Coste, shot riding in the rugged terrain of the Californian desert. The amateur off-track racer explains the symbiosis of care needed in your personal and professional life whilst wearing the classic Protector sunglasses – first engineered by optometrist and founder Giuseppe Ratti for Italian fighter pilots – with polar mirror lenses and removable blinkers, as well as the striking PO3269S (a boxy ’70s icon) and PO3283V (with distinctive flattened brow line).

Finally, go-to tattoo artist for the likes of Drake, Miley Cyrus and Zoë Kravitz, Dr. Woo, reflects on his varied wellspring of inspiration from the rooftop of The Hollywood Roosevelt. The L.A native, renowned for his ultra-fine, single-needle designs, discusses balancing an acceptance of the self while pushing for personal growth, all while donning straight from the archive PO3269S shades, PO3264S (acetate panthos frame) and the cinematic PO3292S (flat-top brows and accentuated keyhole bridge). “Learning from your own mistakes,” he muses, “and I think being in the moment, allows us to make the future moments a little bit better.”

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.

The Cincinnati Kid

Persol release limited-edition range inspired by Steve McQueen

If you were to look up ‘The King of Cool’ in a dictionary, ‘Steve McQueen’ would lie underneath with the following notes; escaped violent home to join street gang, then the circus, rescued five marines from Arctic waters, raced motorcycles to support early acting career, serial playboy, occasional pilot, antihero actor active across two decades, and at one point, the highest-paid film star in the world. If a photograph were to accompany, it would see him decked out in Persol 714 sunglasses, Havana frame with brilliant blue lenses.

They were a perfect match – the Italian eyewear company having started out by crafting sunglasses for military pilots and racing car drivers. The 714s, in particular, were the pair that McQueen first wore on set when filming 1968 Oscar-winner The Thomas Crown Affair, and the producers were keen to capture the true cool of the man behind the shades, encouraging him to wear them throughout. He did, and would go on to sport them in classics such as Bullitt, The Getaway and even during the filming of racing drama Le Mans. It wasn’t product placement, nor a paid partnership, he simply loved to wear them.

Honouring the all-star American actor, Persol have today dropped a limited-edition Steve McQueen range, comprised of five sunglasses models, including a lemon-yellow pair to reflect the first plane piloted by him (a Boeing Stearmen), alongside light Havana with light blue polarised lenses, Havana and green polarised lenses, black with smoke grey polarised lenses, and finally, an extra-rare version with platinum plated lenses. The aviator-inspired frames can be folded for ease of travel and, as ever, are hand finished in original acetates and joined with steel hinges. 

In the UK at least, lockdowns are lifting, and Spring has sprung. Sunshine is finally breaking through the clouds, and you could do worse than match The King of Cool.

The Talented Mr. Galitzine

Nicholas Galitzine pays homage to Anthony Minghella’s iconic film with Port and Persol

“It’s better to be a fake somebody, than a real nobody”
– Tom Ripley

The Talented Mr. Ripley, adapted from the 1955 psychological thriller novel by Patricia Highsmith, is a sumptuous exercise in decadence, duplicity and that amorphous thing we call identity. Filmed in the cliffside resort town of Positano and various villages on the islands of Ischia and Procida, near Naples, the sun-soaked film gained immediate commercial and critical success, and swift cult status, powered by deft performances from a gorgeously tanned Jude Law and deeply unsettling Matt Damon.

Paying homage to Anthony Minghella’s work, Italian brand Persol have created a short film starring rising British star Nicholas Galitzine, who reinterprets the delirium of protagonist Tom Ripley as he insidiously appropriates the persona of socialite Dickie Greenleaf. London-based Galitzine, star of The Beat Beneath My Feet, Chambers and The Craft: Legacy, delivers the arresting monologue in a bold, dark tortoiseshell square Persol frame – PO3269S – with effortless allure.

The film is a follow up to Port and Persol’s shorts starring Paapa Essiedu and Weruche Opia, released last year, and continue the luxury eyewear’s passion for the big screen. Founded in Turin, 1917, Persol’s spectacles – originally developed for the Italian airforce, Formula One racers and athletes – first cropped up in homeland Cinecittà productions like the 1961 classic Divorzio all’italiana, before migrating to Hollywood after Steve McQueen’s infamous adoption of the 714 frame in the Thomas Crown Affair. Stay tuned for another short, released next week, that further cements its relationship with all things cinema.

Production Company Untold Studios
Directors & Photographers The Reids
Producer Tia Varnnard
Production Runner Ed Lloyd 
Runners Tessa Nylen & Aliyah Varnnard 
Photographers Assistant Jacob Ray 
Sound Recordist Timo Saila 
Art Director Liza Radlov
Stylist Mitchell Belk 
Styling Assistant Archie Roberts 
Hair Stylist Mike O’ Gorman 

Shared Vision

Persol and Stone Island take to the skies

Photography Crista Leonard. Set design Lisa Jahovic

Turin, 1917. A year before the end of the war to end all wars. Whilst working at his family’s opticians, Giuseppe Ratti would converse with exhausted fighter pilots who frequently complained of blinding sun glare. From his small courtyard in Via Caboto, the young photographer began experimenting with round smoked-crystal lenses made from silica, eventually producing a state-of-the-art frame that would launch a thousand flights. The technically brilliant Protector glasses were soon adopted by the Italian airforce, Formula One racers, athletes and legendary aviators such as Francesco de Pinedo, who donned them on his transatlantic journey from Europe to the Americas. So it was that Ratti’s company, Persol – per il sole or ‘for the sun’ – was born.

Stone Island, established in 1982, is a kindred spirit – an Italian company defined by the military, exploration and innovation in textiles. Its first collection consisted of seven jackets made from Tella Stella, a two-tone tarpaulin-like fabric used by the army to cover trucks that was so hard it had to be pumice and enzyme washed for hours before it could be worn. Honouring their origins, the two style icons have created the limited-edition PO2470S Pilot Frame – head firmly in the clouds. Unearthed from the Persol archives and last seen in the 1970s, the collaboration’s bold profile is finished in gunmetal, its bridge hand-brushed and adorned with visible screws. Luminous temples and yellow tips feature both brands’ Freccia and Wind Rose logos respectively, while its Meflecto stems lend the industrially elegant spectacles a welcome flexibility. Each light blue polar lens is engraved with their symbols, a reflection of their shared vision.

This article is taken from issue 27. To buy the issue or subscribe, click here

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