The Renauld® brand has a rich history rooted in the second half of the 20th Century. In the early 60’s, Charles Rolley, owner of the highly successful Sea & Ski suntan company, was looking to expand his product line into complimentary merchandise such as sunglasses and bathing suits. After fruitful negotiations with the Botany menswear brand, Renauld’s first branded collection was launched in spring 1961.
What followed over the next two decades was a series of wonderful and innovative designs that resonated with the culture and spirit of the time. Over 100 patented new ideas and over 350 original styles were generated and manufactured, many the result of creative collaborations with international fashion houses (including Yves St. Laurent, Sol Amor and Foster Grant) and designers (George Lissac, Atherton Mitchell, and Henri Guillet, amongst others).
Elvis and Renauld
Always at the forefront of fashion, Elvis was keen to acquire a pair of the new stylish and futuristic ‘wrap-around’ Renauld sunglasses that had just been launched. It was during the filming of the movie Follow That Dream down in Ocala, Florida, when he spotted someone wearing them in the crowd of autograph hunters that had gathered. His assistant ended up paying $100 on the spot for Elvis’ first pair of Renaulds, and he allegedly wore them all the time when he wasn’t filming.
THE ITALIAN JOB
In 1969, a pair of Renauld Mustangs was featured in the now classic film ‘The Italian Job’. As a result, many consider the Renauld brand synonymous with this cult movie. After an almost 40 year hiatus from the world of high fashion, 2019 saw the renaissance of the Renauld brand with the formation of Renauld Sunglasses based in the UK. In January 2020, a promotional photo shoot featuring the original Lamborghini Miura P400 from the Italian Job film was completed in the Alps of Liechtenstein.
EYEWEAR FOR PROFESSIONALS
In the mid 60’s, TWA was among many major airlines that approved Renauld sunglasses for their pilots and flight personnel because of their 180º optically perfect, distortion-free vision with no blind spots. They were also particularly popular amongst skiers and racing car drivers, as well as fashionistas the world over.
GLAMOUR AND RENAULD
Renauld’s reputation during this era was notable, as was their popularity with the global jet set and high profile figures such as Jackie Onassis, Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, The Velvet Underground and Le Mans racing driver Sir John Whitmore. Renauld sunglasses were enjoyed by men and women alike across the globe, often seen in glamorous locations by those pursuing a sea and ski lifestyle.
2011 saw a revival of interest in the Renauld brand following the release of 'The Rum Diaries', a film set in the 1960s and which features multiple sightings of Renaulds throughout (see the Vault section for more details and photographs).