Google Doodle Celebrates Altina Schinasi's 116th Birthday: A Visionary Designer and Filmmaker

Google Doodle Celebrates Altina Schinasi's 116th Birthday: A Visionary Designer and Filmmaker

Today's Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle pays tribute to the remarkable life and legacy of Altina "Tina" Schinasi, an American artist, designer, inventor, and filmmaker. 

Born on August 4, 1907, in Manhattan, New York, Altina Schinasi's innovative spirit and artistic vision left an indelible mark on the world of fashion and film.

Altina Schinasi's HD Image

A Multifaceted Talent

Altina Schinasi's parents were immigrants, with her mother hailing from Salonica in the Ottoman Empire, and her father being a Sephardic Jewish Turk from Manisa, Turkey.

Her artistic journey began when she studied painting in Paris after graduating from high school, which ignited her passion for the arts. Upon returning to the United States, she further honed her skills by studying at The Art Students League in New York.

Her creative talents led her to a job as a window dresser for several Fifth Avenue stores, where she had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from distinguished artists like Salvador DalĂ­ and George Grosz.

The Birth of the Cat-Eye Frame

Schinasi's groundbreaking moment came while observing the mundane designs of women's eyeglass frames at a nearby optician's window display.

Inspired by the Harlequin masks worn during the Carnevale festival in Venice, Italy, she envisioned a different, more captivating option for women's eyewear. 

Drawing from the pointed edges of the masks, she began cutting paper demos of what would become the iconic "cat-eye" frame.

Her innovative design faced initial rejection from major manufacturers who deemed it too bold. However, Schinasi persisted, and a local shop owner recognized the potential, requesting an exclusive design for six months.

The Harlequin glasses quickly gained popularity, propelling Schinasi into the spotlight. By the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, the "cat-eye" frames became a sensation, adorning the faces of women across the United States. 

In 1939, she was honoured with the prestigious Lord & Taylor American Design Award, and renowned magazines such as Vogue and Life credited her with revolutionizing eyewear aesthetics.

Altina Schinasi's Painting

Beyond Fashion: A Filmmaker and Inventor

Altina Schinasi's (Altina Carey)

creative endeavours extended beyond the fashion industry. In 1960, she produced the documentary "George Grosz' Interregnum," a homage to her former teacher, the celebrated artist George Grosz.

The film earned critical acclaim, receiving an Academy Award nomination and winning first place at the Venice Film Festival.

Even in her later years, Schinasi continued to be a trailblazer. She authored her memoir, "The Road I Have Traveled," published in 1995, and devoted her time to art therapy, using her talents to uplift and inspire others. 

Additionally, she invented unique portrait chairs and benches, which she affectionately called "Characters," merging form and function into delightful works of art.

Altina's Enduring Legacy

Today, almost a century after the creation of the cat-eye design, Altina Schinasi's vision continues to influence fashion trends worldwide. 

Her artistic innovation and passion for creativity remain an inspiration to aspiring designers, filmmakers, and inventors alike.

Questions About Altina Schinasi

1. What is Altina Schinasi best known for?

   Altina Schinasi is best known for designing the Harlequin eyeglass frame, which became popularly known as the "cat-eye" eyeglass frame, revolutionizing the eyewear industry and aesthetics.

2. What other achievements did Altina Schinasi have?

   In addition to her work as a designer, Altina Schinasi was a filmmaker and producer, most notably for her documentary "George Grosz' Interregnum." She also invented unique portrait chairs and benches known as "Characters."

3. Was Altina Schinasi recognized for her contributions during her lifetime?

   Yes, Altina Schinasi received accolades for her visionary eyeglass frame design. She was awarded the Lord & Taylor American Design Award in 1939 and was recognized by major magazines like Vogue and Life.

4. Where can I learn more about Altina Schinasi's life and work?

   You can explore more about Altina Schinasi's life and contributions through her memoir "The Road I Have Traveled" and the 2014 documentary titled Altina

On this special day, we celebrate Altina [Tina Schinasi's] 116th birthday and remember her as a pioneering figure in the world of design and film, whose influence continues to endure through her groundbreaking creations.

Happy Birthday to a visionary and trailblazer!