Viennaline created innovative, artistic styles that are now attractive vintage glasses. The Austrian-based brand wanted glasses that reflected the luxury and intrigue of Vienna, while using the latest technology and materials of the 1960s and 70s.
At Eyeglasses Warehouse, our collection of Viennaline glasses includes vintage butterfly glasses, cat eye glasses, aviators, and other men’s and women’s styles that turn heads whether you want a pair for everyday wear or to complete a costume. See our current collection here, and come back often for new styles.
About Viennaline Glasses and the Australian Optyl Company
Viennaline glasses were designed in Austria, and uniquely embodied the artistic style of Cold War Europe. Wilhelm Anger founded Carrera, a sport eyewear manufacturing company, in 1956. Anger developed Optyl, a special plastic that is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and can be fit to the individual wearer’s face with heat. The success of this material eventually prompted Anger to rename the company Optyl.
Anger hired the young designer Udo Proksch after Proksch won a contest put on by Optyl. Proksch was quickly put in charge of the Viennaline brand of glasses. The name was chosen in honor of the Austrian city of Vienna, which was a center of arts and culture, but also a hotspot for espionage as the Cold War intensified.
Proksch’s avant garde designs, made possible by the innovative Optyl material, quickly took off. Early styles included:
- Gigi – A cat eye style for women, the Gigi glasses had a thick, black frame made from Optyl. Viennaline used less embellishment than other 1950s and 60s cat eye frames, but quickly became popular and sold over 15 million frames.
- Alt-Wien – The second model Viennaline produced, Alt-Wien (meaning “Old Vienna”) was a women’s style that emphasized the classic Vienna style.
- Butterfly Glasses – Butterfly glasses are similar to the cat eye shape, but with wider and less elongated lenses.
Viennaline also popularized the cat eye style in the 1960s before moving towards evocative designs in the 1970s and 80s with large lenses, unique shapes, and bold colors. Their glasses for men and women are unlike any other vintage styles you will find today.
These glasses also have a somewhat scandalous history, making the story behind them as interesting as the design. The Viennaline brand suffered a setback in 1977 when Udo Proksch planted explosives on a ship he owned, purposely sinking it to get the insurance money.
Today, Viennaline glasses are still as eye-catching as they were when they were first released. They simultaneously evoke vintage style and timeless design with models to match the boldest of tastes. The Optyl plastic or titanium frames are also long lasting, making Viennaline glasses a great choice for vintage glasses to add to your modern wardrobe.
Eyeglasses Warehouse sells only authentic vintage frames from Viennaline. We check each pair to be sure it is ready to be fitted with your lenses or transform a pair of Viennaline glasses into unique sunglasses.