Melissa Carpio - July 2020
Behind the Design: Oliver Goldsmith
OLIVER GOLDSMITH is is a British heritage brand with nearly 100 years of experience in eyewear design and innovation. With four generations of knowledge, they continue to make some of the most beautiful eyewear in the world. Eyewear that pushes the boundaries of expectation, self-expression and individuality.
Established: 1926 by Philip Oliver Goldsmith
Location: London, England
Independent Brand?: Yes
Known for: Iconic, British eyewear. The originators of fashion eyewear.
THE ORIGINATORS OF FASHION EYEWEAR
Outfitting some of the biggest stars of the 20th century, Charles "Oliver" Goldsmith is credited with shifting eyewear from function to fashion. His timeless designs are featured in the most iconic images of celebrities like Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana, Grace Kelly, and Michael Cain.
"Show me something made by a machine that has the same personality and attention to detail as something handmade. What we do here is special." -- Oliver Goldsmith (1967)
Fun Fact: Audrey Hepburn notably wore Oliver Goldsmith's 'Manhattan' sunglasses in Breakfast at Tiffany's,
although at the time they were mistaken for Ray-Ban Wayfarers.
ICONIC, BRITISH EYEWEAR SINCE 1926
The brand was established in London in 1926 by Oliver Goldsmith's father, who started out as a traveling salesman for an opticians, before opening his own shop specializing in handmade frames made of real tortoiseshell. During the Second World War, the company supplied spectacles to armed forces.
Known for his avante garde designs, Oliver Goldsmith began collaborating with Lord Snowdon, Diana Dors, and Diana, Princess of Wales to showcase his unexpected novelty designs such as music notes or large hand-painted acetate butterflies perched on the wearer's nose. Goldsmith's creative frames helped establish the idea of spectacles and eyewear as a fun fashion accessory, rather than simply a functional necessity.
Goldsmith’s innovative approach to eyewear earned him many “firsts” in the industry: first to use plastics (especially colored plastics), first to appear in Vogue, and first to create one-of-a-kind pieces for the runway. The Goldsmiths also collaborated with Paris couture houses including Dior and Givenchy.
Fast-forward to 2005. The Oliver Goldsmith brand had been shuttered for almost 20 years. As a recent marketing graduate, Claire Goldsmith had taken an interest in heritage brands and saw some potential in reviving her family legacy. Her intuition paid off, and the fashion world eagerly welcomed Oliver Goldsmith eyewear back into their lives. The brand was quickly propelled back to its cult-classic status. Claire was so successful in her endeavor, that she decided to launch her own brand focused solely on optical lenses. The Claire Goldsmith line is “contemporary and forward-thinking.” Claire see’s her designs as “future-classics, hoping that someday they will be referred to as vintage.”
Lady Gaga in Oliver Goldsmith Y-Not sunglasses.
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