We were so excited to open our Moscot pop-up shop in Leigh-on-Sea and even more excited by the response. Setting up among dozens of other independent shops proved to be an inspired idea. We made loads of sales (which was the point, of course), but, just as importantly, loads of new customers, contacts and friends. We put this down to a combination of our charm, good looks, professionalism and oh, I can’t keep this up. The fact is that Moscot eyewear, as with the other stunning brands that we have on offer, just sells itself because it’s so bloody good.
We said when this thing started that it wasn’t meant to last, just a brief, exciting, whirlwind affair for a few breathtaking weeks. And then we would stop, kiss goodbye and go our separate ways. But we can’t stop now. The feeling is too strong. So we’re staying a bit longer, here at the White Wall Space in Broadway West.
Our internationally-renowned team of retail makeover specialists (Simon) are giving the room a new look for its new direction. Which is a good thing, and certainly fits in with Leigh-on-Sea’s shopping scene. Very few of the retailers around us have to take orders from Head Office – instead, they can tailor their stock, promotions and look to whatever they think their customers will want next.
So, we will be stocking some designers that we already have on offer at Dover Street Market, such as Clayton Franklin, as well as some unusual vintage pieces, which will keep the pop in our pop-up. We will constantly rotate and update the stock in the shop, so there will always be something different and just as stylish for visitors to look at.
At the same time, at the more affordable end of the market we’re nothing if not democratic), we’ll be offering a range of colourful, Swiss-engineered reading glasses in a range of colours, styles in the usual strengths. We have managed to price these at a very reasonable £29.00.
Another affordable range is our selection of nylon frames, also boasting precision Swiss engineering. We think they are both stylish and colourful, as we would be proud to wear everything we stock and recommend them to friends. During the week, Simon and Alice will be on hand to guide customers to the right choice for them; for single vision lenses, professional and experienced advice on fitting or styling, Tim and Mo will be on hand at weekends or a couple of times a month for appointments.
So, things change, but they stay the same, as the French would say if they could speak a proper language. Already we’re thinking about the next pop-up incarnation in our cosy nook in Broadway West. Around Easter time, our stunning range of Fabulous Funky French sunglasses will be available, just in time for the glorious summer we will no doubt all be enjoying. So pop in to our pop-up – because without you, we’re nothing.
Clayton Franklin’s superb range of eyewear combines the best of everything in its every aspect – Japanese precision engineering and British design that echoes the restrained style of the first few decades of the 20th century. We think these spectacles, manufactured by the revered Hiero House in Sabae, are among the coolest around.
But we would say that, wouldn’t we? So let’s hear from Professor Christophe Pupille, fashion historian, style commentator and Prédicteur de la Mode at the world-renowned Lycée de Prêt Énsion in Paris.
“Imagine a crossroads,” he told Glasseswebb. “There are four roads. Along one road is travelling aesthetic brilliance, and on the next is a finger on the pulse of modernity, and on the next is precision engineering so precise that it cannot be measured and on the fourth is that elusive je ne sais quoi. And they are all travelling towards this crossroads at high speed and they arrive at the same time and BOUM! there is a big explosion, or explosion grande, as we say in Paris, and these four are mashed together and the result is ... Clayton Franklin eyewear.
“When one puts a pair of Clayton Franklin spectacles on one’s face, on one’s nose, it is a feeling that you have become a complete person, or personne à part entière, as we say in Paris. It is a common cause of distress in the world of fashion that people have the right clothes, the right shoes, the right haircut, but the nagging feeling that something is missing. And the nagging feeling nags away and the nagging only stops when the fashionista completes his or her look with a pair of Clayton Franklin spectacles, or lunettes, as we say in Paris.
“It is Autumn and the boulevards of Paris are carpeted with golden leaves. I am wearing a beautiful checked shirt from Marks et Spéncer, a vintage Harris tweed jacket and burgundy corduroys. I look like a picture, but no-one on the boulevards notices me. Maybe just a quick glance, but unseeing. They walk past, parlez-ing into their iPhones, oblivious of my existence. Then I pull a pair of Clayton Franklin spectacles from my pocket. I put them on my face. Suddenly the glances turn into long, lingering stares. Men and women alike smile in admiration. They cannot take their eyes from me as I stroll along the boulevards, now the complete picture of sophisticated dressing. They want to look at me. They want to be me. They want me.”
Well, you can’t argue with an authority like that, can you? It is the combination, as the professor says, of design and manufacture of the highest quality that makes Clayton Franklin’s eyewear so desirable. But there is more to them than good looks and a superbly comfortable fit. The designs summon up a time when the world had better manners, more understanding, more respect. It is the world of Bertie Wooster, the Golden Age of the Orient Express and tweed. Classic styling is timeless. Or as Professor Pupille would say: classe est intemporelle.
It’s been a rewarding and enjoyable 20 years or so working with Bill Barton and Patty Perreira. As well as supplying their range to many top London stores, such as Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Mr Porter, we have an extensive selection in our Dover Street Market outlet.
The story of Barton Perreira began when prestigious eyewear brand Oliver Peoples was taken over. At the time, Bill Barton was Oliver Peoples’ president and Patty Perreira its chief designer. Not wanting to get caught up in corporate shenanigans, the pair decided to use their skills and experience in the glasses business to set up on their own and form the company that bears their names.
Patty has been quoted as saying that much of her inspiration comes from pop culture, the beat movement. But there is much more to Barton Perreira eyewear than that. Much of the range evokes the Hollywood of the late 1930s and 1940s. Not so much the dramas, melodramas and crime films that proliferated, more the easy, everyday elegance of Cary Grant. Or, for that matter, any Coen brothers film set in that period – Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy.
And speaking of Hollywood, it hasn’t done the brand any harm at all to have such customers as Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, Jessica Biel and Orlando Bloom, as well as collaborations with Chlöe Sevigny. In the movie business, an industry naturally obsessed with how everything looks, every single component of a film star’s outfits must be considered, so it is a great compliment to Barton Perreira that so many of these people, these icons, have chosen to endorse the brand. Actor Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar, A Million Ways To Die In The West) went one better and collaborated with Patty to produce two new designs – the brilliantly-named Giovanni and the Ribisi.
The high end of the eyewear market is pretty crowded. In fact, the whole fashion world is full of innovators, great stylists and designers, all of whom are worthy of attention, so it is only nuances that distinguish them from each other. This is where Barton Perreira has succeeded, with subtlety in their designs that many other brands just can’t quite achieve. Add to this the fact that all of their pieces are hand-made in Japan by artisans using high-quality materials and it is easy to see why Barton Perreira are preferred to their competitors.
At Glasseswebb, we love being associated with this brand, can’t wait to see the latest collection and bask in the reflected glory of the admiration shown by visitors to our little part of Dover Street Market. Maybe there is one small drawback for Barton Perreira; that, having reached the top, there is a constant pressure to stay there, to keep moving forward, to stay ahead having worked so hard to get there. But this won’t be a problem, we are sure. The designs seem so natural, never imitative of any others, that you just know that there’s plenty more where that came from.