History of Eyewear: Germano Gambini

‘It was the beginning of the 60’s when I was in Paris at Pierre Cardin’s, with whom we created the first folding glasses. They were immediately copied, but I never got angry. If you are being copied it means you are good!”-Germano Gambini


Pierre Cardin frames designed with Germano Gambini

We’re at it again, it’s history of eyewear time – this time, Germano Gambini is in the spotlight. Let us take you back. Maybe you don’t recognize this name? Well, that’s the sole purpose of this post.

Germano Gambini began in 1912, yes that long ago. Founded in Italy and family run. Over the years the direction of the company changed sporadically as members of the family came in and out of the business, including a brief full restructuring of the business during the Great War, where they only produced gas masks, and later returned to eyewear manufacturing after the war.

The late 1930’s to 1940’s was frought with tough times, with the shop in Via Indipendenza being destroyed by a bomb during the war. At this time, eyewear was for practical uses only. For use in war, frames were for pilots, and they were far from fashionable. All this changed in the coming decades.

In the 1950’s, Germano Gambini, nephew of Gilberto Gambini, founder of Gambini Eyewear, had his mind focused on sports. He was a basketball champion! In between championships, he obtained a diploma in Optics with a specialization in Opticianary, ushering him into the family business. In the 1960’s, with sports being his focus, Gambini imported the first contact lenses for athletes in Italy. At this time, the Gambini’s had four optical centres specializing in the application of contact lenses.


Basketball Champion Germano Gambini

The 1970’s was the onset for designer eyewear and fashion eyewear. Gambini sensed the importance of this, importing the first designer’s eyewear by Pierre Cardin. He also started designing collections for Gianfranco Ferre, Nicola Trussardi and Enrico Coveri. Thus, the age of fashionable eyewear took off! At this time Gambini began designing his own collection, the I LEGGERI (meaning ‘lightweight’) line, made from flexible 8mm acetate, weighing only 8 grams!

Over the next few decades, innovation and design began to thrive, with the purchasing of a production plant in Cadore, the creation of the VARIETY line, and the continuation of the I LEGGERI and CRYSTALLI lines.

In 2011, Germano Gambini passed away suddenly, though the business lives on through his daughter Paola. The tradition of innovation, durability, and character live on today in the Germano Gambini line. The acetates are light, and in a palette of colours fit for any fashionista.

“Today Germano Gambini Eyewear is a structured reality, ready to follow a great legacy of style and competence. The evolution of materials, technology and taste is addressed without losing sight of the style imprint left by the founder, and his absolute fidelity to quality craftsmanship made in Italy”. – unknown genius



Original Gambini Frame Card


Germano Gambini at the Pierre Cardin stand at the Paris Fair


The Mascherina s frame, designed for even tanning by Germano Gambini

paola gambini

Paola Gambini, daughter of Germano Gambini and the future of Germano Gambini Eyewear


Sunglasses from the new Archivio collection


Lightweight acetate frames from the I LEGGERI collection

Come in store to view the I Leggeri, Crystalli, and Archivio collections!

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