The opening scene of The Italian Job (1969) is famous for two reasons. Firstly, there's the orange Lamborghini Miura basking in the Alpine sun. Secondly, there are the Renauld "Mustang" wrap-around sunglasses that are equally iconic. We're pleased to announce that we've now introduced the sixties eyewear brand into the fold.
Roger Beckermann, played by Rossano Brazzi, making a statement in the opening scene of The Italian Job (1969).
As Matt Monroe’s silky baritone voice in On Days Like These escorts us around the corners of The Great St Bernard Pass as it winds down to Italy’s Aosta Valley, our eyes are given a feast throughout the opening credits. While this Alpine moment is indeed transportive, the punchy orange of Lamborghini's Murira has the inner child in us fidgeting with envious excitement. Then, there’s the driver Roger Beckermann, the accomplished thief with a perfectly poised cigarette perched between his lips making us wish we were several degrees cooler.
A 1968 Lambourghini Miura P400, Vin 3586, that was completely restored in 2019 and then certified by Lamborghini as the original car.
The spring sun suddenly catches his eyes, and so he reaches for his sunglasses to combat the glare. A moment that will never be forgotten, his Renauld Mustang gold-rimmed, wrap-around glasses complete what’s arguably the greatest opening scene in sixties cinema. With an air of insouciance and healthy a touch of discreet arrogance, life for Beckermann is looking extremely pleasant as he gracefully weaves his way around hairpin bends with not a care in the world... until.
A travesty, and moments before it's thrown off the mountain pass.
His joyful drive then comes to an abrupt end with the sports car unexpectedly crushed against a bulldozer in an ominous, black tunnel and then tossed down the mountainside. Remarkably, though, his sunglasses survive and appear on the side of the road next to his still-lit cigarette. The frames are then crushed beneath the sole of the Mafia boss’s penny loafer. The movie moves on but the impression from these sunglasses is everlasting 50 years on.
The Rossano frames (formerly known as Mustang) in gold on the dash of the Miura.
It’s a scene that’s been indelibly engraved in the memory bank of Gareth Llewelyn for some time – since he was six, to be precise. As such, he felt compelled to revive the heritage eyewear brand late last year. It went out of business in the 1980s, but up until that point, it enjoyed much success. While the Mustang model as featured in The Italian Job is the hero product that everyone knows and still talks about, the likes of Elvis, Jackie Onassis, Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger all wore the company’s other creations that are less striking but still worthy of praise.
The King, among many other notable figures of the 1960s, was also a fan of the brand, pictured here in another model behind the scenes on a movie set back in the day.
In the process of reviving the brand, Llewelyn collected over 100 vintage Renauld frames before finding an intact Mustang. He relaunched the business with a small range of models, but in regards to Mason & Sons, it’s naturally all about the Rossano (Mustang) which veers more towards sculpture and fine art than it does eyewear. These statement frames are produced by hand in Italy in very limited quantities. This should come as no surprise, for each one is made in either 24ct gold, silver or palladium. Llewelyn has sought out the expertise of Divel Italia, which is the world’s foremost manufacturer, and offers the frames in three colourways; Gaugin Grey, Cezzane Green and Matisse Blue. Each frame is then individually numbered and accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity.
Each frame is produced in Italy in extremely limited quantities from precious metals and you have the choice in what coloured lens you wish to wear them with.
Getting your hands on the wheel of an original Miura will be a challenge, but a pair of these wrapped around your head as you go on an escapist drive – be it roaming through the countryside or descending down an alpine mountain pass – is much more realistic and will help soften the blow. The Italian Job has a place in our collective heart here at Mason & Sons, and so to have these frames is most special.
Explore the range of sunglasses, here.