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Today we associate Nicki Minaj with Fendi & Kanye West with Balenciaga. Yet, the “Match a celebrity and a brand” strategy started way back. One of the first people to promote a famous brand was none other than the Notorious BIG.
The rapper was loyal to two brands and, throughout his short career, supported them whenever he could. One was Coogi, and the other was Versace.
The effect was tremendous. Biggie became a cultural icon whose image circulated the globe. Every time I think of Biggie, I imagine him in his colorful Coogi jumper and Versace shades; that’s how big the impact is.
As I am very interested in the lives of my favorite celebrities, I love finding quirky stories and peculiar details that I want to share with my friends.
Biggie’s iconic Versace glasses have a story behind them. If you’ve ever wanted to find out everything there is to know about them, keep on reading.
Bottom Line up Front: Biggie wore 3 famous models of the Versace Medusa Shades. The most iconic one is the Versace 424 Col 852 model, which he wore in his “One More Chance” music video. You can see the original pair and the modern versions of it, on the Versace website. Biggie didn’t collaborate with Versace during his lifetime, but he loved and admired the brand from its early days. Later, Donatella renamed the model “Medusa Biggie” in honor of her brother and the late rapper.
Which Versace Sunglasses did Biggie Wear?
Even though many people think Biggie wore the same black Versace glasses, that’s not the case. You might have noticed a slight difference if you have an eye for details. The notorious rapper wore these 3 iconic shades.
- The Versace 424 Col 852 ( One more chance music video)
- The Versace 413A ( Hypnotize music video)
- The Versace T75 Frame
The Versace 424 Col 852
The Versace 423 Col 852 are the most popular shades and Biggie’s first choice. If someone says “the Biggie” shades, he probably means these ones. The difference is in the “bow-shaped” details surrounding the “Medusa” medallion on the arm or the temple of the frame.
These sunglasses are iconic because Biggie wore them for the most important moments in his career. The rapper wore these shades for his iconic “One more chance” music video, which was his ticket to fame and success. The music video is still one of his most-watched videos on YouTube.
The glasses became part of his notorious image because he wore them the night the news about his ecstasy problem broke out. In fact, the paparazzi took pictures of him and Diddy after trying ecstasy for the first time. The image of Biggie wearing these glasses circulated the globe and got Versace some (un)wanted attention.
Now, these shades are considered “vintage” and a part of Biggies and Gianni Versace legacy. They are sold for around $800 due to their iconic story and nickname.
In 2018 Versace re-released these shades and named them “Medusa Biggie” in honor of both Biggie and Gianni. In 2021 they added another twist to the classic model, releasing “Medusa Biggie VE2234” and “Medusa Biggie VE4425U“. Both have the same outline as the previous models, but their attractive colors and modern design distinguish them and give them a futuristic vibe.
The Versace 413A
The “413A” model has two circles surrounding the main “Medusa” emblem. The rapper wore them for his “Hypnotize” music video. The black shades soon became a part of his style and image, and he wore them as much as the “413A” model. Unlike Biggi, his fans preferred the “413A” model.
The Versace T75 Frame
The last model, “T75,” has an entirely different hinge shape. It’s in the form of a snake. They look similar to the two models above, the only “odd” thing is that they don’t have the famous “Medusa” emblem, but at this point, we all know it is Versace. The rapper wore them at concerts and in some photo sessions.
What all three pairs of sunglasses have in common are the color and the shape. Biggie loved black sunglasses with thick frames. That is why most people think he wore the same pair of Versace glasses, but the devil is in the details. Biggie didn’t wear any other brand of sunglasses, so he was a very loyal fan of Versace. He liked wearing other Verace items as well, but glasses were a “must”.
The Story Behind the Versace Shades
Even though nowadays brands approach famous artists and ask them for a collaboration, it wasn’t like that back in the day. In 1994 neither Versace nor Biggie were “household” names in their respective businesses. They were both “newcomers” trying to make a name for themselves.
Gianni wanted people to associate his brand with luxury and innovation, which is precisely what Biggie saw in these glasses. In 1994 the rapper became a fierce admirer of the brand and fell in love with the shades.
He wore them for the first time in his music video for “One More Chance,” and people immediately started associating him with the brand. Biggie was one of the first people to think of that “influencer marketing strategy” if you think about that. It got to the point where people didn’t recognize Biggie without his glasses. Something like Al Pacino without glasses these days.
At first, he wore one of the three pairs, and later on, he flaunted other shades of the same brand. In his last picture, he was with a completely new frame.
Honestly, he didn’t open a door for Versace because they worked hard and made a successful brand based on unique products and popular runways. Yet, Donatella says she is very grateful for all the support and love she received from Biggie when he was alive, so she will honor his memory as long as she is alive.
Where are the Glasses Now?
Nobody actually knows where Biggie’s iconic collection ended up. Not in a museum and not with him. There are pictures of the late rapper in a white suit without glasses during his farewell ceremony. The rapper was cremated, and the ashes were given to his family.
His collection of glasses is owned by his family and Estate, who didn’t comment on the whereabouts of his things.
For those of you looking for the original 421 COL 852 Medusa Biggie sunglasses – here they are! The original model features grey lenses and a thick, black frame with a medusa emblem on the side. The one thing that differentiates it from the other famous model is the “bow-shaped” hinge surrounding the Medusa sign.
An excellent choice for those who want to buy the “original” pair of glasses Biggie wore.
Even though Biggie wore black glasses only, maybe in 2022, he would have changed his mind. The red Versace 424 is luxurious, fun , and innovative – everything Biggie cared about. The red glasses look exactly the same as the originals 424. They have a bold low-lens shape and a golden Medusa medallion. Did you notice how the grey lenses and red frames look amazing together?
If you are up for a change, the Butterfly Medusa sunglasses are the one for you. The only thing the new shades have in common with the original ones is the color black. The Butterfly sunglasses have a rectangular-shaped lens and a butterfly-style metal detail on the temples. The small but stunning detail is enough to make these glasses unique.
The famous 413A model is now in white! Perfect for the Holiday season or the summer. I love white sunglasses because they brighten up your face so much.
The White Medesua Sunglasses have the same characteristics as the original black 413A model. The thick white frame goes fantastic with the grey lenses and the gold-tone Medusa medallion.
The original black sunglasses aren’t black enough for you? For an all-black look, the ’90s-inspired rectangular-shaped glasses have both a black frame and dark grey lenses. The original shades have a slightly different shape and light grey lenses. However, the thing that got me hooked on this pair is the black Medusa medallion.
These details may look insignificant, but it is more than noticeable when the two pairs are placed next to each other. The all-black version is just powerful and majestic.
If you like a bit of color, then take a look at the 2022 models. The turquoise sunglasses with dark grey lenses are my favorite modern twist on the 413A model. The golden Medusa medallion matched perfectly the bold turquoise color. In the collection, you can see 5 more different shades with equally interesting patterns, but this one stole my heart.
The latest Versace version of the famous Biggie shades includes this golden nugget. This pair of cat-eye-shaped full-rim glasses is just a definition of a luxurious & modern brand in 2022.
The new shades have a completely different vibe than the original Biggie ones. I like how there is an “all-black” version without the golden medallion, but now there is an “all-gold” version as well.
Versace Shades Alternatives
Besides the Versace website, my choices for less expensive options:
If you want an alternative to the 413A model, here is the best one. The frame, the color, and the gold Medusa medallion are the same, but at a lower price than the original ones.
This is an excellent choice for people who don’t want to spend much money on glasses or want to use them only for one event, for example, a costume party.
The original T75 shades are very hard to find, so this is an ideal replacement. The black shades look exactly like the original ones Biggie wore. If you are looking for the shades that Biggie wore, this option and the 413A above are the best ones.
If you like Biggie’s shades but still want something different, you will find these Grey 413A beautiful. At their core, they are like the original 413A shades, but they are light grey. There are numerous colors to choose from, but this light gray really has a “royal” atmosphere around it. I like how the golden medallion fits perfectly with the grey frames, even better than black.
The bright pink Versace 413A is a modern twist on the iconic model. If you are looking for something modern, fun, and stylish, this is it. The gold medallion is even more highlighted because of its vibrant color.
Answer: Biggie didn’t collaborate with Versace while he was alive. The rapper was a huge fan of the brand, so he loved wearing the Medusa glasses every chance he got. Only after his death did Donatella rename the glasses in the rapper’s honor and did a new collection. We don’t know if his estate got any money from the newer collections, but it is still an excellent way to honor him and his memory.
Answer: You can tell by the price, the logo on the inside, the box, and the quality. You can also check the serial number on Versace’s website to see if the glasses are authentic.
Answer: No, the rapper didn’t wear sunglasses during the funeral. The rapper’s family decided that he should be cremated, and the ashes were given to them. The whereabouts of his accessories aren’t known.
Now you see the impact of one piece of jewelry. People connect the Medusa glasses so much to Biggie that even Versace decided to rename them in his honor.
Biggie loved wearing 3 very similar Medusa glasses, but in his last days, he also experimented with new models. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of pictures of the new models, so they couldn’t become as famous as the three mentioned above.
If you are ever in doubt about which glasses Biggie wore in some picture or video, just look at the details. The hinge is the main difference that you will instantly notice.
If you want to buy the original Biggie shades, I recommend buying from the website. You can find both older and newer models.
After reading this guide, I hope you have learned everything there is to know about Biggie’s Versace glasses. Now you can decide and pick the ones you like most.
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