Last night, the Whitney Museum in New York hosted the debut of INCOGNITO by Persol— a design exhibition of these classic sunglasses. The exhibit showcases a vintage collection of the iconic frames made famous by Steve McQueen in the original Thomas Crown Affair in 1968.
The Whitney Museum’s exhibit is very intimate with only select classic frames. The sunglasses are suspended from the ceiling above angled mirrors creating the illusion that they are floating and rotating in front of you. Browsing the frames in the Whitney felt like walking through an expensive Sunglass Hut— only at this Sunglass Hut you can’t buy anything and everyone is judging me for being dressed like Mary Anne from Giligan’s Island.
The second half of the exhibit is an interactive portion highlighting the materials and unique design features such as the Meflecto system– the Persol patented metal and nylon cylinders found in the sunglass arms to keep the arms from pinching your head. Visitors can whirl through more of the Persol designs on an interactive table which is basically a glorified iPhone photo album.
As much as I love well designed UV protecting eyewear, I have a serious soft spot for the original hipster Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. Performing for the exhibit visitors including Matt Dillon, Lucy Liu and Josh Lucas, Lou Reed started his performance without notice and without applause. Always the rebel, Lou Reed growled at the audience, “Do you want to talk or hear us play? Why don’t you all shut the f**k up?”
Did… Di-Did I just get yelled at by a legendary rock star? At the Whitney? In what was definitely not an inside voice? Sweet. I have arrived!