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Distilling the DNA of Paul Smith

Cutler and Gross tells OT  about how the fashion designer called upon an old friendship to create an eyewear collection

02 Apr 2019 by Andrew McClean

From tailoring suits to eyewear, the new Paul Smith eyewear collection by Cutler and Gross was created through a mutual respect of tradition.

Speaking to OT at Mido, style director at Cutler and Gross, Marie Wilkinson, told OT that during year-long discussions about the partnership, the designer loved learning about the history of eyewear.

Citing a story about how the Windsor rim took its name from the royal family, Ms Wilkinson said: “That kind of story really resonated with Paul. There’s a tradition in eyewear that there is in designing suits, which brought us closer together.”

The partnership stemmed from an old friendship between Paul Smith, who was looking for someone new to collaborate with, and the late Tony Gross.

“They decided on Cutler and Gross because we have a lot in common – we’re both British brands and make everything by hand,” Ms Wilkinson shared.

The eyewear company was conscious that the collection should look like a Paul Smith range and not their own. Cutler and Gross started by looking at Paul Smith collections and discussing what worked and what didn’t work with the designer.

Ms Wilkinson said: “It was about learning how suits work and getting under the skin of Paul Smith – distilling its DNA to find the links to eyewear and then dovetailing so that the eyewear becomes very sincere. They look like Paul Smith glasses, but feel like Cutler and Gross with our quality, stability and handmade feel.”

Frames in the collection of spectacles and sunglasses are named after streets in London, such as ‘Abbot,’ ‘Arnold’ (pictured), and ‘Maida Vale.’ The iconic Paul Smith colour stripe is absent from the range, with Cutler and Gross opting for a subtler design.

Ms Wilkinson explained: “The stripe has been done in so many different ways. We were trying to find a cohesiveness with the collection, so the colours go through it – this is the way the colours of the stripe are represented in the glasses. Paul didn’t want solid colours and wanted the stripe to be represented in a translucent way.”

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