Steve McQueen's Iconic Persols Just Got a Damn Cool Update

The brand released five new versions of the folding 714SM style.

"The King of Cool." I mean, just imagine that being your nickname. By which I guess I mean just imagine being Steve McQueen, because that was indeed his nickname. And it still holds up. Sure, the definition of what's cool and uncool—both on-screen and IRL—has expanded significantly since McQueen's heyday. But some things are timeless. And McQueen? He's still very damn cool.

The same can be said of his signature shades, the folding 714 sunglasses introduced by Persol in the 1960s as an update on the brand's beloved 649 model. (They were, in fact, the first-ever folding sunglasses, and still require an additional 10 steps in the manufacturing process. Next time you're having a beer at Esoteric Eyewear Trivia Night, go ahead and trot that little factoid out for bonus points.) The 714 channels a very specific kind of mid-century cool—the keyhole bridge, the pilot shape, the rich tones of the acetate—that still reigns supreme in sunglasses. And the fact that McQueen wore it so often and so well, including an appearance in The Thomas Crown Affair, only adds to the 714's ongoing legacy.

To celebrate that legacy, Persol dropped five new editions of the sunglasses. One pair, a honey-yellow frame with blue polarized lenses, was inspired by the color of the first plane McQueen flew, a Boeing Stearman. Another limited-edition offering comes complete with platinum-plated (!) lenses. And though the other three colorways—black, a medium tortoiseshell called "Havana," and a lighter "Terra di Siena"—don't have precious materials or McQueen-inspired backstories, they've got style in spades. All five, by the way, are made in Italy and come with crystal lenses, both hallmarks of quality in eyewear. Pretty cool.


714SM Sunglasses in Miele/Polar Gradient Blue

Photo by Persol.

714SM Sunglasses in Black/Polar Gray

Photo by Persol.

714SM Sunglasses in Black/Polar Green

Photo by Persol.
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714SM Sunglasses in Terra di Siena/Polar Gradient Blue

Photo by Persol.

714SM Sunglasses in Havana With Platinum-Plated Lenses

Photo by Persol.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Jonathan Evans
Jonathan Evans is the style director of Esquire, covering all things fashion, grooming, accessories, and, of course, sneakers. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son. You can follow him at @MrJonathanEvans on Twitter and Instagram.
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