Persol is an Italian luxury eyewear company specializing in sunglasses. The name is derived from "per il sole," which, in Italian, means "for the sun." Formed in 1917 by Giuseppe Ratti, Persol originally catered to pilots and sports drivers. Presently, the company is famous for its durable sports sunglasses. Its trademark is the silver arrow (often referred to as the "Supreme Arrow"), and several of the company's glasses feature this symbol.
Persol was a heavy influence in the production of sunglasses. The company developed the first flexible stem. This flexible stem system is known as the patented Meflecto system and was one of the first spring hinges ever developed for eyewear. Persol was introduced to the United States in 1962. Its first boutique opened on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles in 1991. It is currently owned by the Luxottica group. Currently all "plastic" Persol eyewear is hand crafted in Italy using cellulose acetate, a hypoallergenic material derived from cotton.
Steve McQueen popularized two Persol models: the 714 folding sunglasses and closely styled 649. He wore a special pair of 714's with blue lenses inThe Thomas Crown Affair and was often photographed wearing the 649 model. Persol models 2244-S and 2720-S were both worn by Daniel Craig in the James Bond film Casino Royale. Pierce Brosnan wore Persol model 2672-S as James Bond in the film Die Another Day and then Persol model 2720-S in Mamma Mia! Don Johnson wore a Persol 69218 during Season Three of Miami Vice.
Persol sunglasses have also been used in other movies, Bill Murray can be seen wearing them in both Lost in Translation and Broken Flowers. One of the most iconic images of Persol sunglasses can be seen in the movie Divorce Italian Style where Marcello Mastroianni wears a pair of black 649s; Mastroianni also has a pair of Persol sunglasses on in almost every scene in the movie La Dolce Vita. In addition Nicolas Cage wears them in Lord of War. Robert Culp, as Kelly Robinson, in the iconic I Spy TV series in the 1960s sported Persols 2656S in many episodes. InMission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Tom Cruise can be seen wearing a 2978 model. In Entourage Season 7 premiere Ari Gold played by Jeremy Piven wears Persol 2958S. Stephen Dorff can be seen wearing them in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere_(film). Ryan Gosling and Patrick Dempsey have been spotted wearing the PO2994S.
1962 was the year in which the United States market was conquered (though Persol had already been supplying NASA with the “four-lens” model).