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14th September 2021

OLIVER PEOPLES – how laidback luxury changed the Hollywood eyewear game

‘Oliver Peoples blend clean and nostalgic aesthetics’The Globe and Mail, June 2021

‘The brand has evolved into a serious contender in the eyewear space’ US GQ Magazine, July 2021

‘It’s hard to put a date stamp on timeless’Mark Blankstone, September 2021

If you ever want a short conversation with eyewear aficionados, don’t ask them when sunglasses really became a ‘thing’ because you will be there all night. However, one point they will all agree on is this: the 1980’s changed the game, and tinsel town was at the centre of all that magic. Suddenly, designer names were dressing not just stars on the red carpet but actually on screen, and whether it was in John Hughes’ teen hits like The Breakfast Club or more stylish grown up dramas like American Gigolo or Fatal Attraction, for the first time cinema goers felt like they wanted a piece of the style action: they aimed at being upwardly mobile, and they desired the exact looks they saw on screen.

For all of its glitz and glamour, Hollywood actually has a refined, elegant and almost understated side. And in 1987, a new name entered the eyewear scene which reflected a complete opposite to the ‘greed is good’ mantra: Oliver Peoples was born, with a sense of laid-back Los Angeles style, and a nod to vintage eyewear appeal.

For a new brand, Oliver Peoples sat on the side of understated chic even though it launched during a decade when logos were bigger and better, and huge shows of wealth got people talking. However, any designer worth their style salt knows that the truly chic want something absolutely luxurious, but also under-the-radar. Quite simply, these were glasses and sunglasses that looked utterly fantastic on the wearer, without being obtrusive. It’s a unique stance that has carried the brand from that decade to the third one of this new-ish century. During that time every fad and trend has come, gone, re-emerged and been re-worked, but for anyone who loves Oliver Peoples, they just add to their collection. It’s hard to put a date stamp on timeless.

Since then, Oliver Peoples have been bringing their own style stamp to the fashion crowd who want to wear their own style, and not have labels wear them. They’re discerning, and know that attention to detail and the most beautiful, handmade-yet-high-tech eyewear is a key accessory for every season.

Jennifer Aniston is not a head-to-toe logo show or a new gen influencer, but someone who packs a powerful statement because fashion insiders can’t always tell what label she is wearing: they just know she looks groomed, put-together and terrific. Whether she’s on the red carpet, or smashing her hit Apple TV+ gig The Morning Show, she always gives streamlined chic.

The guys: same. Comedian and Netflix standout star Chris Rock has grown into his style, although he’s always loved a tailored suit since back in the day. In a white shirt and tie, for the cover of Esquire no extras are needed: it’s simplicity heaven.

While we tend to associate Oliver Peoples as the type of eyewear to really complement neutrals, sometimes they are a perfect foil for splashes of colour. Jessica Alba is serving 70’s-inspired chic in her recent film for #Visit Dubai, and there’s nothing as decadent as using the roof of the seven-star Burj Al Arab as your runway.

Which is all well and good. We all love a sprinkle of Hollywood magic. However, what about what works in real life? Now, we are not suggesting solving an undercover murder on a submarine is a typical day job, but as high flying detective DCI Amy Silva in BBC’s new flagship drama, Vigil, when she chose to take a tiny bag equipped with her essentials she included her most stylish eyewear: Oliver Peoples, naturally. Suranne Jones’ wardrobe on the show has been a real talking point in the fashion press, as its full of cashmere sweaters and luxury tailored trousers and coats, but the BBC wardrobe team have been keen to point out they bought lots of Amy’s pieces in out-of-season sales, just of so many of us do when we want classics without hefty price tags. Every Sunday night right now, we are catching our dream working wardrobe.

Of course, sometimes we still want to make and entrance for a special occasion, and for those of us who are managing to fit in a winter sun trip, after so long in lockdown and loungewear, we are totally feeling Jessica Chastain as she steps off that cruiser right in front of the world’s flashbulbs, at this month’s Venice Film Festival. It’s her OP moment, once more.

For this Autumn/Winter season, Oliver Peoples have retained popular reinterpretations of OP classics, and have introduced two new models: the Hollins and Mandeville. The campaign has been snapped by noted model and photographer, Joanna Halpin, in upstate New York and captures Joanna’s own personal aesthetic: streamlined, creative and yet minimal. Here Joanna models the Mandeville in person in Brushed Silver with Dark Grey Mirror.

We are super proud that Oliver Peoples is our September Brand of the Month here at Blankstone Opticians. While we are still enjoying some sunshine, we are also looking forward to autumn, new season wardrobe pieces, and of course, some fresh eyewear to really get us in that back-to-term feeling.

With Oliver Peoples we go straight to the front of the style class, but quietly, and with no logo required.

You can view our Oliver Peoples collection online or please feel free to come and visit Mark Blankstone and the team in store to browse, try on and just get a feeling for this wonderful collection of eyewear. Additional images courtesy of @oliverpeoples