Discovering the famed Sunglasses worn by Kung-Fu Legend & Film Star Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee remains the best icon of martial arts cinema and a key figure in present-day fashionable media. Had it not been for Lee and his movies in the early 1970s, (most famously Way of the Dragon, 1972) it’s debatable as to whether or not the martial arts film genre would have ever penetrated and influenced the world to the degree it has. European and North American Cinema has a lot to thank Lee for and his legacy and popularity to this day continue to inspire new films and media even 40 years later.
Movies and media aside, Bruce has a certain look and style that really captured the hearts of people across the globe. Today we’re going to be focusing on one aspect of Bruce Lee’s fashion that was a staple – his sunglasses.
The Sunglasses in Question…
There’s no doubt Bruce Lee had style. Women fancied him and men wanted to be as cool as him. One of the defining aspects of his style was indeed his iconic sunglasses which he was never without and repeatedly photographed with. Although Bruce Lee occasionally changed the style of his sunglasses, he eventually always went back to his favorites (as seen in the pictures above). These oversized aviators with bold frames and colored lenses.
Getting an accurate Identification of these sunglasses was hard. Nowhere on the internet really had any specifics on which brand these glasses were – I had to go digging. After browsing through forums, achieves and old newspapers I managed to come to a general consensus as to the likes of the sunglasses worn by the man himself.
We believe the sunglasses worn by Bruce Lee to be that of the Persol Ratti Pininfarina (either the 801 or 811 Models). Persol is a classic eyewear brand that dates back to 1917 when it was founded by Giuseppe Ratti. Persol was originally the most famous and catered specifically to pilots and sports drivers. But when the brand went mainstream, they begin producing stylish eyewear for the masses often time taking inspiration from styles similar to that of its aviation past.
Alternatives & Prices
There’s also a debate as to whether his glasses could also be a pair of Carrera ‘Hots’ 64m Aviators. This is often disputed as subtle differences in the shape and accents of the frames suggest otherwise. That being said, they are a great alternative if you are looking for a similar style or replica pair.
Prices for any vintage pair of glasses, never mind big-name brands, are always going to be expensive. At the time of writing, we’ve managed to find resellers of the vintage Persol Ratti Pininfarina selling for as much as $600+ (on average). That being said, there are many companies online that sell replica pairs of these sunglasses.
One such example is from a company called ‘Golden Classic Movies’ which creates replica products and merchandise from movies throughout the ages. A similar-looking pair of these glasses can be purchased here for as little as $45.00. The official website for Bruce Lee also often times releases replica pairs of his glasses. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, no glasses are for sale.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, 2018
Bruce Lee also made an appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s blockbuster film ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘ portrayed by actor Mike Moh. In this iconic scene, he’s challenged to a fight by the main character Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) in which Bruce Lee is shown as arrogant and overconfident picking a fight with Brad’s Cliff Booth to assert dominance. Moh’s Bruce continues to attack Cliff with the ending being Bruce getting thrown into the side of a car.
It’s an interesting deception of the man in question. Bruce Lee’s Daughter Shannon Lee publicly criticized Quentin Tarantino Bruce Lee and the way he portrayed the film suggesting the caricature style in which he was portrayed was grossly misinterpreted with him coming across as arrogant, self-absorbed, and brash.
Shannon Lee spoke out to try and inform those who’ve seen the film that the lines between fact and fiction are blurred within the narrative of the film. Her day was not an arrogant anti-hero who, as she spoke out in her article by VanityFair, is not a ‘’fight-picking antagonist’’. She spoke out to protect her father’s already damaged legacy.
Again, although it’s possible that the glasses used in the film are nothing more than a prop made for the film especially, from the look, shape, and style these are at the very least inspired by the Persol Ratti Pininfarina sunglasses as spoken about previously in the article.