Oliver Peoples

Tonie Ong

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When one thinks of luxury, they seldom think about accessories. For a lot of people, luxury is all about haute couture fashions, expensive perfumes, and high-quality leather goods. This is because the brands that have dominated the luxury goods market sell all these things, most of them all at once. The biggest luxury names in fashion today, such as Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Balenciaga, Fendi, Ralph Lauren, and many more all have dabbled in high fashion and leather goods. Such are the foundations of said brands that have prompted them to become the premier labels in the world. However, one brand has stood the test of time with only accessories in their roster, particularly eyewear. This is Oliver Peoples.

Oliver Peoples is one of the world’s leading eyewear brands, making glasses and shades coveted fashion items. Their precise designs complement the wearer instead of making them look geeky or nerdy. Aside from sunglasses, as popularized by the most powerful woman in fashion, Anna Wintour, eyewear hadn’t regarded as a luxury item in previous years. While they were fashionable and stylish, they didn’t hold the same weight as, for example, a Birkin bag or a Dior suit. They were merely accessories until brands like Oliver Peoples made the fashion crowd take a second look. Now, eyewear is one of the most lucrative markets in the luxury goods business.

Brand history

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The company was established back in 1987 by Ken Schwartz and Larry Leight. They opened their first store in West Hollywood, California, where they started to attract celebrity clients. During that time, paparazzi culture was just emerging into the mainstream, and many stars needed sunglasses to keep their eyes safe from the paparazzi’ flashing cameras. Many of them went to Oliver Peoples to buy their high-quality eyewear that were both protective and stylish. Little by little, they were gaining massive attention from Tinsel Town’s finest. At the same year of their launch, the brand appeared on the cover of German Vogue, which helped spread their awareness tenfold.

Through the years, the popularity of Oliver Peoples grew and they became a leading eyewear brand in the luxury goods market. Even fashion magazines started featuring their products in their coveted pages. The likes of Vogue, GQ, Elle, L’uomo Vogue, Esquire, and Vanity Fair have all put Oliver People’s products among their well-read pages. Their celebrity clientele also grew exponentially, with a legion of stars wearing their most coveted items on the street or even during red carpet events. As a result, Oliver Peoples’ retail presence vastly expanded, and they’re now available in various countries around the world. They’re also now the official licensee of Paul Smith’s branded spectacles.

The brand’s best selling items are not all the same, which is uncommon for luxury accessories brands. Their most famous pieces are as diverse as their clientele, with some being their most feminine pairs to their most masculine items. One of them is “Row After Midnight” pair, which are perfectly-round spectacles with blush-tinted lens. It’s one the label’s most feminine products and has become a massive favorite among their female customers. However, another bestseller is their “Finley ESQ RX” which acetate eyeglasses. Its design is reminiscent of Clark Kent’s classic eyewear that he uses to disguise himself from his superhero persona. Because of this correlation, many male customers have embraced this particular pair.

References in pop culture

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Through the years, Hollywood has fallen in love with their hometown and homegrown luxury eyewear label. The brand has been featured countless times in various media in the entertainment industry, solidifying the community’s relationship with the world-renowned brand. A number of actors have worn Oliver Peoples’ eyewear in their famous films, including Bruce Willis in The Jackal (1997), Brad Pitt in Fight Club (1999), and Christian Bale in American Psycho (2000). All these films have become cult classics in their own rights, and Oliver People’s glasses and shaded helped make the lead characters stand out and become pop culture icons.

Modern muses

Oliver Peoples 2016 Campaign

Off-screen, a multitude of other celebrities have also worn Oliver Peoples glasses. A lot of them use it when going about their business to hide their public faces from people around them. Another common usage is for such personalities to protect their eyes from the flash photography of paparazzi who hound them constantly. The likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Orlando Bloom have all been spotted wearing Oliver Peoples sunglasses. For the people who need such items for correctional visual purposes, there are Steve Carell, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and Simon Baker, among many others. Actresses like Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lawrence, and Emma Roberts are also big fans of the West Hollywood-based label.

Today, many brands have entered the eyewear market, thanks to the influence and prestige brought about by Oliver Peoples. It’s rare for a brand to give such credence to one whole market, but this West Hollywood-based brand achieved just that. Some of the most famous and prominent personalities in the world have become fans of the brand. And now, since they’re available in different parts of the globe, so are millions of customers as well.

Best Places to Shop for Oliver Peoples

Oliver Peoples Boutique in London, UK.

Oliver Peoples Boutique in London, UK.

151 Sloane Street
London, UK
Contact: (44) 020 7730 0085

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