The Real Star of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? The Eyeglasses.

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 15 2011 1:50 PM

Spy Glasses: The Terrific Eyewear of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is an intricate espionage thriller, but its real richness derives from its production design and period details. Not since Zodiac has a movie so fully recreated the look of the 1970s—and even if you have no idea what’s going on, at least you can admire the distinctly ’70s orange of the acoustic padding on the walls, the smoky haze in the air, or the cut of one of Benedict Cumberbatch’s many stylish suits.

Costume design is usually celebrated in films depicting Victorian balls and other worlds—just look at the last five Academy Award winners: Alice in Wonderland, The Young Victoria, The Duchess, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Marie Antoinette—but extraordinary costume design can be found in much more than corsets and tiaras. Zodiac said just about everything it needed to say with its wonderful neckties, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy conveys as much with its eyewear.

Tinker Tailor is a movie about perception—about rooting out the mole hidden in plain sight among a few intelligence elites—and so it’s appropriate that glasses play such a prominent role in the film’s look. One of the final plot points revolves around the protagonist’s “blind spot” (as one character puts it)—how a personal matter could stop him from “seeing straight”—and the whole film revolves around each character’s ability to see the others clearly. But besides their symbolic importance, these vintage specs, no matter how nerdy they were at the time, also just look great. So here’s the stylish eyewear design of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

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Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

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