This summer, Chicago welcomes the king of all eyewear, Oliver Peoples, to the ritzy and fashion forward Gold Coast. Known for their distinguished sunglasses and optical frames, the upscale- yet always hip brand will be a perfect complement to the modern city. Oliver Peoples offers an extensive array of glasses ranging from retro-inspired pieces to innovative runway trends. There are shades to fit every face and every personality. Celebrities such as Katie Holmes, Kanye West, and Angelina Jolie are all known to rock the brand’s luxury shades. Oliver Peoples is most definitely, the must have name for eyewear. Period. So it’s about time Chicago got its fashion fix…
The boutique opened last Saturday at the intersection of Rush and Oak Street. In celebration of its arrival, Oliver Peoples has created an exclusive, limited edition aviator sunglass designed specifically to embody the classic Windy City Style. The Oliver Peoples “heart” Chicago Benedict will be available exclusively at the Chicago boutique.
We were extremely lucky at Second City Style to ask Larry Leight questions and find out what makes him so passionate about eyewear and why he chose the Windy City:
SCS: Initially, what inspired you to focus on eyewear? Today, where do you get your inspiration?
LL: I initially started designing my own eyewear because I was inspired by the estate collection of vintage, American-made eyewear that I purchased in 1986 with my brother. It included beautiful filigreed frames and clip-ons from the American machine age which we were drawn to.
Now, I can really take inspiration from everywhere, anytime. My travels around the world are always opening me up to new things. Mostly though, I‘m inspired by the Southern California lifestyle that I live, and the fashion, music, and film industries…. and of course, my archives of eyewear.
SCS: How would you define the style your brand exemplifies? What celebrity or style icon best fits your brand?
LL: The brand exemplifies progressive and influential style because our designs are aspirational. We are all about discreet branding (no logos) and understated classics. I think Johnny Depp and Kate Moss fit our brand well. Both appreciate quality and discretion in their fashion choices.
SCS: How does designing eyewear differ from designing clothes, handbags, jewelry, etc?
LL: The creative processes might be similar but it’s a different kind of research as far as materials and technology. Also, eyewear is on your face so there are different styling rules as compared to shoes or handbags. So much of it for me is about fit and comfort, without sacrificing style.
SCS: Why open a store in Chicago? How would you describe Chicago style?
LL: Chicago is a sophisticated market and perfect for Oliver Peoples. Our glasses are understated for confident individuals. From the beginning, we have had consumers and fans from Chicago so it has always been a target city for us. It has just been a matter of timing and finding the perfect location. The city’s rich design, art, and architectural heritage makes it a perfect match for our brand.
SCS: What do you think our city will gain from having an Oliver Peoples boutique?
LL: Our retail experience is completely unique to the brand. When you walk into our boutique, you can feel the Southern California lifestyle that is part of our brand DNA. The music we play is part of our in-house compilations and the environment is warm and welcoming. Our eyewear stylists are extremely knowledgeable and can offer custom fittings to help you select the perfect frame taking into consideration all of the elements. We have onsite opticians for any and all prescription needs. Chicago customers will for the first time be able to see our total collection of eyewear and we believe they will be pleasantly surprised at all the colors and styles we have. They will also now have access to some special designs exclusively available in Oliver Peoples stores.
Photo Source: Oliverpeoples.com
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