oliver peoples vintage

Style :

Since interviewing Larry Leight of Oliver Peoples late last year, I have been awaiting the launch of the collection simply entitled 'Vintage'.  The offerings are a re-release of three iconic designs from the first collection in 1987; the OP-505, OP-1955 and the O'Malley - an iconic frame worn by everyone from Sting to Al Pacino which is the hottest frame of the season once again.   


Founder and CEO Leight went through the company archives, inspired by a recent New York Times article as well as encouraged by friends, family and clients, rediscovering styles he felt would work well in the market today. Though what is today's market? Back in September, Larry explained; "People invest and hold on, every shop and store was down but we didn't go out of of business but we had to adjust but our retail stores were down a little though not to what the averages were. People are buying herrtiage, style, value and forever lasting, proven forever lasting, a story – something more than just a material."  I think this rings true today, despite the pick up in the luxury market. 

The O'Malley, which was named after the 1950s owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, as well as being the pair Patrick Bateman wears in 'American Psycho' and Christian Bale's representation of the character wore them in the film. Additionally, the 505 and 1955 which became definitive styles of the 1980s will be a part of this vintage reissue, and will be available in a very limited number, to which Leight comments and explains this reasoning behind the sales initiative,"Back then we were inspired by 1920s architecture, the machine age, watches, jewelry, the fashionable 1960s, Warhole, Lenin and The Beatles. A lot of companies don't have that heritage or archive, so a lot of companies can only go back and make things that look old." He went on,"Where as we have gone back to the beginning and today these frame are being reintroduced as we are being inpsired by three Oliver Peoples styles; they are made in the same way they were built, moulded, engineered, and they will be sold in a limited amount over about 60 days or until it is sold out, so it is a collectable."

The 505 was one of the first styles to offer additional clip on sunglasses-option and featured filigreed antique metal temple and bridging. The 1955 is instantly recognisable as having a conrasting coloured front and temple colours - and the O'Malley which I have already described.  All of the glasses have vintage tinted lenses in rare-colored shades and frames that were once worn by many famous faces in the past.  

The limited edition pieces come with an original box and special cleaning cloth which is printed with the very first advertising campaign. Leight describes the significance of the packaging, "The case was made in England but the company went out of business 10 years ago but the crushed velvet inside was probably used for the NHS cases." Additionally, "The original 1987 advert was based on the premiss that people thought we knew that were were doing, rather than a company that was owned by someone. With the oversized tools and glasses being constructed by miniature people, for which me and my brother were, it show clients how we hand make frames and they think they must be people who know how to craft frames." 

These shots were taken in and amongst the literature of greats - and inspirations - at Dragon  Books, a Bel Air trove of antique and rare books. The book, 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' in a shot above is a first, signed edition of the Hunter S Thompson classic. The frames will be available from Adam Simmonds - by phone only for now - which has not only carried Oliver Peoples since it's creation, but is one of the UK's most prestigious optical retailers. Oh, and the Vintage pieces start at £295.

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