Americana on screen and expansion behind the scenes – WWD

LONDON – Cutler and Gross has maintained business since 1969, when the company opened its first optical office in Knightsbridge. Founders Graham Cutler and Tony Gross offered bespoke frames that quickly became a fashion eyewear brand.

Cutler and Gross has since become a mecca for artists, rock stars, writers and royalty including Elton John, Grace Kelly, Manolo Blahnik, Kate Moss and many more. The company now operates six flagship sites in London, where there are two, and Bath, England; New York and Los Angeles in the United States, and Toronto in Canada, as well as 1,500 resellers in 50 countries.

Alessandro Marcer, the company’s creative director since 2020, has lived vicariously in the brand’s archives during the pandemic. But as he re-emerges, he found himself happily stuck in the past, reminiscing about the Americana theme and the glories of Hollywood’s past as he prepared the latest collection.

“The new emergence of films and series related to this era, for example, ‘Blonde’ which is essentially a fictionalized version of the life of Marilyn Monroe; the biopic ‘Elvis’ and the series ‘Hollywood’ on Netflix are part of the golden age of Hollywood emerging from the shadow of World War II and the rebound of the output of a terrible time in history ”, explained Marcer to explain why he focused on the big screen.

He began his research for the collection by rummaging through frames from the 1940s to the 1960s. “The first thing that strikes you when you open a box of glasses is the smell of camphor, which was used to laminate the acetate “, he said of his findings.

The frames in the collection are inspired by the Hollywood icons Marcer spent so much time with in Cutler’s memorabilia.

Courtesy of Cutler and Gross

“As any collector of vintage film reels would sense, it seemed to me that as I unpacked the aura of old movie theaters and Hollywood, it was literally in the air,” Marcer mused.

The frames in the collection are inspired by the Hollywood icons he spent so much time with in Cutler’s memorabilia. (Tony Gross died in 2018, while Graham is still with the company behind the scenes).

Protagonist cat-eye sunglasses are based on Elizabeth Taylor and more; The Headliner wraparound frame is based on one of Cutler’s vintage frames inspired by the style of Sammy Davis Jr. and Roy Orbison; the round eyeglasses called The Prince take on James Dean.

“Design is a process, it’s like sculpting or painting, you have to make mistakes and even accept failure,” said Marcer, who admits he throws away 95% of his own designs.

“I am constantly drawing. Sometimes I will be in a restaurant, or on a train or a plane and I will see something that inspires me, like an Art Deco lamp or the hinges of a door, and I will feel the need to incorporate it into a design. “, did he declare.

He takes his sketchbook everywhere with him because it is part of his toolbox.

With company revenue up 30% year-over-year despite production constraints in 2021 and early 2022, Cutler and Gross is gearing up to secure a “major luxury license that will be within the upper echelons of the accessories segment,” said Jack Dooley, the company’s chief commercial officer. The brand will reveal the news at its sales meeting later this month.

Company revenue grew 30% year-on-year despite production constraints in 2021 and early 2022.

Courtesy of Cutler and Gross

The brand has just collaborated with the British jewelry firm The Great Frog on a collection of “rock ‘n’ roll” sunglasses. “We’re reaching other demographics, but we’re doing it in a totally authentic way through a collaboration or a totally new product that fills a particular need, like sports eyewear,” Dooley said.

Their customer base in stores tends to be slightly older, while the online population is younger.

“Our main markets are the US, UK, Germany and France, but we are expanding rapidly into new markets like Brazil, India and Mexico,” Dooley said.