shutter shades 80s

Shutter Shades

80's Accessories Jun 21, 2022

One of the most iconic sunglasses of the 1980s were shutter shades. These uniquely designed sunglasses do not have tinted lenses, rather they feature a series of horizontal slats which limits the eye’s exposure to sunlight.

80s shutter shades
80s Fashion Trend: Shutter Shades

Elton John and Macho Man Randy Savage were some of the most well-known celebrities to sport shutter shades in the 80s. Back then, if you wanted to add more flare to your outfit, the right pair of shutter shades did just the trick!

The History Of Shutter Shades

While shutter shades were very popular throughout the 1980s, they were actually developed several decades earlier in Germany. Initially referred to as Venetian blinders, these sunglasses began appearing in the early 1950s.

venetian blinds sunglasses
Shutter Shades Were Thought To Go As Far Back As 1952 And Were Initially Called “Venetian Blinders”

Photos of models and actresses can be found wearing various different designs of shutter shades in and around the mid-1950s, most of which used simple wires in various patterns and shapes, rather than horizontal slats.

shutter shades 50s
A Model Wearing Shutter Shades In The Late 1950s

Shutter Shades In The 80s

Shutter shades were reintroduced to the world in the late 1970s by Alain Mikli. His design was the first to feature evenly spaced horizontal slats and made its first appearance in a 1982 music video by Simple Minds.

Shutter Shades Appeared In The 1982 Simple Minds Music Video For “Glittering Prize”

Throughout the 80s, Macho Man Randy Savage was well known for wearing various styles of shades before his matches, and his favorite choice was shutter shades.

Even Elton John was known for having several different pairs of Mikli shutter shades in his amazingly expansive collection of sunglasses throughout the 80s.

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Alain Mikli

Alain Mikli developed his version of the shutter shades back in 1978, shortly after establishing his own brand. He was known as a pioneer of the idea that frames without lenses could be worn as accessories. So he set out to design a number of different sunglasses which did not use any lenses.

Shutter Shades Pioneer Alain Mikli

Soon after launching the Mikli brand in Paris, Elton John fell in love and purchased a number of pairs for his own collection. By the 1980s, many of the bigger names in the fashion industry began reaching out to Alain to help design eyewear lines for their companies as well. He was known for developing the lines for Donna Karan, Issey Miyake as well as Claude Montana.

Simple Minds – Glittering Prize

In the 1982 music video by Simple Minds, shutter shades made their grand debut to the world. The video for “Glittering Prize” was set in a museum where everything is covered in gold.

As the video alternates between the museum and a glistening stage where the band performs, a woman can be seen wearing a bikini and a pair of shutter shades, as she wanders through the museum awakening the different exhibits.


The woman in gold escorts the exhibits out of the museum within feet of the unaware security guard. She eventually drives with the now living exhibits to a golden room, making a clean getaway long before the guard ever realizes that she stole the glittering prize.

Macho Man Randy Savage

Macho Man Randy Savage began his wrestling career in the late 1970s. By the 1980s, he had become one of the most well-known wrestlers in the World Wrestling Federation, and over the course of his 32 years as a wrestler, he has held 11 titles and won 29 championships.

macho man shutter shades
Macho Man Randy Savage Is Thought To Have Been A Big Reason Shutter Shades Became Popular

He is known for wearing a completely different pair of sunglasses at the beginning of each match. One of the most popular designs that he wore throughout the 1980s, was shutter shades. Because of his career in wrestling, the Macho Man eventually became the spokesperson for Slim Jim beef jerky, where he regularly wore shutter shades in the commercials.

Are Shutter Shades Still Popular?

Though shutter shades were popular in the 1980s, it has definitely slowed down as a fashion trend. These days we do see from time to time celebrities wearing them, however they don’t seem to be popular with the general public.

Recently celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kanye West have been seen rocking the fashion trend, and again the fashion seems to be more of a celebrity driven accessory.

kanye west shutter shades
Kanye West Performing “Stronger” In Shutter Shades

Still we will always remember these over the top shades and how they made us look cool in the 80s. Hopefully one day they come back soon, however this is one style we think will probably stay in what we believe was the best decade ever.

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