Thursday 24 March 2011

Fresh From The Production Line: Oliver Goldsmith

P. Oliver Goldsmith (pictured centre)
“I don’t believe in those theories about certain styles suiting certain shaped faces. Life is too short. If you find a shape you like, have it and never mind what anyone else thinks.”Oliver Goldsmith, 1965.
Clippings of iconic coverage
A few weeks ago I was invited to the launch of the brand new sunglasses collection by Claire Goldsmith. Not knowing too much about the brand beforehand I was blown away by the West London store and showroom, charting the eponymous brand’s heritage and great legacy in high fashion. Worn by all of the supers, actresses and most popular rock stars alike, Goldsmith designs often graced the pages of Vogue making him synonymous with the world of celebrity and an arbiter of style.
Some of my favourite heritage styles (above and below)
Founded in 1926, P. Oliver Goldsmith was the first designer to view sunglasses as accessories in addition to being a tool to protect eyes from the sun – creating a series of innovative styles in the late ‘50s which were to make a bold fashion statement. Worn by the royalty and celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn (think big white oval frames), Michael Caine, Grace Kelly and Peter Sellers, Goldsmith pioneered an altogether new concept in eyewear being the first to create a range of winter sunglasses, and spearheading collaborations with high fashion houses such as Givenchy and Dior.
The polaroid wall of celebrities
Looking through the back catalogue of samples and trying on all of the iconic styles was a somewhat special experience, especially when I could see Polaroids of present day celebrities snapped in their favourite styles – making the whole shopping experience a glamorous affair for customers.
Some examples of classic styles (above)
Examples of the production process and a choice of acetates for custom-made pairs
What I love most about the brand is that it is - to this day - a family business with grand-daughter Claire at the helm since 2005, when she reintroduced some of Goldsmith’s most iconic frames taken from the private family archive. Since 2010, Claire has put her own stamp on the brand, creating seasonal capsule collections that play on the brand’s unique heritage, whilst establishing a fresh design aesthetic targeted towards a new generation.
Claire Goldsmith's newest collection
Of her collections Claire says: “I decided it was time to put my own mark on eyewear designs to see if I had what it took to create timeless, classic eyewear too... I hope CG (Claire Goldsmith) will be the vintage of the future.”

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