Altina Schinasi Miranda, filmmaker and designer, died Aug. 12 in Santa Fe, N.M., of heart failure. She was 92.
Born in New York, Miranda studied at the Art Students League of New York, and during the Depression began designing window displays for numerous Fifth Avenue stores. Inspired by the lack of diverse eyewear, Miranda decided to make attractive eyeglasses for women. The result was the popular “Harlequin glasses,” sported by high-profile women like Katharine Cornell and Clare Booth Luce.
By the end of the Depression, Miranda’s eyeglasses had become so popular that she started her own company to distribute them. Vogue and Life credited her for revolutionizing the eyewear industry and in 1939, she was given the Lord and Taylor Annual American Design Award.
In the 1940s, Miranda moved to Los Angeles where she studied at the Jepson School of Art under Howard Warshaw. In 1960, Miranda produced “Interregnum,” a film about her Art Students League teacher George Grosz. “Interregnum” won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award.
In 1973, Miranda moved to Washington D.C., where she resumed her design career and invented humanistic-looking chairs and benches called “Chairacters.” Miranda remarried in 1981 and relocated to Santa Fe, where she continued her artistic work and wrote her autobiography, “The Road I Have Travelled,” published in 1995.
Miranda is survived by her husband, Celestino, her son, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Family suggests donations in Miranda’s name be made to the Art Students League of New York, 215 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019.