First manufactured under the Skilynx label, these cutting edge lenses were developed in 1957 by Paris-based optician and mountain sport enthusiast Roger Pouilloux, along with his colleague Joseph Hatchiguian, to allow skiers to see undulations in the ground more clearly, particularly in white-out conditions. Their revolutionary innovation was bi-shading – the lenses were lighter at the centre, so that the upper and lower parts filtered and minimised direct glare from the sun, particularly when reflected off snow or water. With the central part of the lens still allowing clear sight, they set the optimum visual conditions for snow or water sports, while their mineral elements blocked UV rays and solar reflections, giving excellent ocular protection.
The new lenses were put to the test by French skier Jean Vuarnet, who wore them at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics in California. After he won gold, the men agreed to go into business together, developing the brand into the number-one choice for high-performance sporting eyewear that looked equally elegant outside the athletics arena.
Vuarnet sunglasses were soon being worn by both top athletes and glamorous international stars such as Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, Robert Redford and Alain Delon. Such was the brand’s success that it became an official sponsor of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, with commentators pronouncing particularly sunny days as ‘Vuarnet Days’. In 1995, Vuarnet sponsored the America’s Cup sailing race, showcasing the brand’s increasing popularity among water-sport athletes.
With its lenses still manufactured in France today, Vuarnet continues to build upon its ethos of high quality, technical innovation and sophisticated styling. The iconic heritage models – such as the legendary Vuarnet 006, with its sleek, elongated form – are still available, but new products that push the boundaries of design and technology have also been developed. Vuarnet now offers four tint options, tailored to specific environments: grey tints, which render colours accurately; grey/blue tints, which enhance luminosity, contrast and colour definition; brown tints, which improve contrast and depth perception; and yellow-green tints, which improve contrast and luminosity giving better definition to slopes and reliefs.
Some classic models have also been updated – the Vuarnet Glacier (VL1315), which was developed for mountain climbing and other high-altitude activities, still features its original retro detailing such as detachable leather side shades that protect eyes from both peripheral light and wind, but it is now available in matt black for a contemporary spin on this classic aviator style, with an acetate loop around the lenses to strengthen them, anti-glare coating, and hydrophobic and oleophobic treatments to repel both water and oily creams. Vuarnet mineral lenses, which are among the thinnest on the market, are also available in a clip-on style that can be attached to Vuarnet optical glasses when needed ¬– an ingenious solution to a modern-day dilemma and ideal for city living.
Vuarnet eyewear is an official partner of the renowned Courchevel and Mégève ski schools in France, and Cortina d’Ampezzo and Sestriere in Italy, further cementing its status as the go-to brand for the serious winter-sport athlete, as well as those who want high-performance eyewear that mixes cutting edge technology with elegant design.
Manufacturers Retail Price: $712.44
Our Price: $468.25