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This article was written on 04 Sep 2013.

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Cutler & Gross Eyewear

There are many unique and wonderful British brands that are known for its superior quality, old traditions and craftsmanship. In this issue, I wanted to write about Cutler and Gross, who spearheaded the revolution that turned eyewear from a medical necessity into a key fashion accessory.

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Cutler and Gross was founded in 1969 by Graham Cutler and Tony Gross and for the last 43 years these innovative designer perfected handmade eyewear. Cutler and Gross specialize in statement glasses! I had to speak to the company to understand what is behind their success, and vision.

Please tell me more about the brand.
Our brand mixes handcrafted heritage with directional design. They give the wearer an air of mystery and confidence. With the absence of a logo each style relies on its thoughtfully designed form and exquisitely handmade quality. It takes 37 individual handmade processes and four weeks to hand craft each pair of Cutler and Gross glasses and this shows in the sophistication of the glasses.

We have also enjoyed several creative collaborations with designers, most recently with Maison Margiela, Giles Deacon, Thomas Tait, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll and Erdem, and continue to work with burgeoning designers and young talent. This has added to the avant-garde and almost underground nature of the brand. We also have a loyal celebrity following, as our flagship store in Knightsbridge continues to be a hidden gem and almost sanctuary. Grace Jones used to sip champagne on our shop floor in the late 70s!

What is the brand’s competitive edge?
Over the years many companies have opted for mass production, manufacturing their frames from moulds. Cutler and Gross frames are handcrafted in the brand’s own family-run factory in the Cadore region of Northern Italy. Each frame takes four weeks to handcraft and goes through 37 rigorous processes.

Who are your biggest clients?
Alexa Chung is great at making her sunglasses a key accessory. She wears our 0737 frame which adds a slight edge to her usually demure attire. She wore them to the Coachella festival lately with a great little summer dress. Gwen Stefani is also known for her statement black Cutler and Gross 0734 frames, which she combines with her iconic red lip. Tinie Tempah is also known for his thick acetate optical frames, again adding a level of sophistication to his classic look. He makes optical frames the key feature. It is never an afterthought. But we were also honoured by Michelle Obama sporting our frames this year. It was a great highlight of the season.

What special designs does your boutique in London offer to clients?
The entire top floor of the Cutler and Gross flagship store at 16 Knightsbridge Green is home to a glamourous lacquered room with more than four thousand frames, dating back from 1969 to present. Guests can choose from the vast and varied collections on display in any colour and lens combination, complete with personalised inscription lasered on the inside temple. Depending on the extent of personal touch the client requests (perhaps to colour match exactly to a Savile row suit or accommodate a higher nose) frames will take between 6-12 weeks to handcraft and deliver. The client will be able to benefit from the input of Cutler and Gross experienced and knowledgeable eyewear consultants, and the on-site optometrist.

Can you tell me about NYC store opening? Is it part of the expansion campaign?
The newest addition to the Cutler and Gross family is our new pride and joy. Our NYC Flagship store on 110 Mercer Street is almost an extension to our flagship store in London Knightsbridge and is host to a 4000 handmade Cutler and Gross frames dating from 1969 to present, including our collaborative frames with designers A mecca for eyewear, the brand’s New York abode offers full optometric and prescription services as well as the latest technologies in optics. The store will also house a private showroom offering the brand’s bespoke service in which the client can meet with an expert stylist to choose a unique style and colour combination, creating a made-to-order, “one-off” frame.
Any plans to expand in other parts of the world? Do you see demand from Asia?

We have two stand alone stores in Hong Kong and we are well represented in mainland China. We create Asian fit collections to suit the needs of this market. We have an intense international expansion plan, which is retail-led, opening our own branded stores globally.

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