You’re sure to be familiar with Oliver Peoples spectacles, even if you don’t know the name. Gwen Stefani, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce and Jay Z are all fans and quirky actress Zooey Deschanel is so loyal to the brand that even her character in New Girl wears Oliver Peoples’ Wacks style.
They are also synonymous with many a legendary cinematic character, having featured on many a Hollywood nose in such films as American Psycho, The Talented Mr Ripley, Brad Pitt in Fight Club, then more recently in The Amazing Spiderman and – as yet to be released Great Gatsby, the much anticipated Baz Luhrman re-working of the 100 year old novel.
ELLE went to meet founder and creative director Larry Leight when he was in London to celebrate the brand’s anniversary. ‘Celebrities love Oliver Peoples because they’re not covered in labels and logos, you know? They are just as they are’ he said of his glasses popularity.
Larry and his brother started the brand back in 1986, opening an optical boutique on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. The stock? A huge haul of original vintage frames from the 1940’s and 60’s. The name ‘Oliver Peoples’ came from the sales receipt that Larry was given for buying up the vintage collection - he had bought the job lot described as 'Oliver People's glasses' - who Larry assumed to be the name of the former owner.
These days the spectacles are more popular than ever, both sunglasses and optical. Larry told us; ‘In fact, there is a growing trend for people wearing the vintage style frames with clear lenses, even if they don’t need prescription ones, thanks to the geek chic trend and the way glasses have become so fashionable.’
He went on; ‘I’ve seen people in Japan wearing clear lenses or even no lenses at all for a few years, now its catching on in Europe and the States as well.’
Collaborating with the movies is an integral part of the business, being such an LA-centric brand. Take the Great Gatsby wardrobe department, for example. 'They’ve gone for OP 505’s. The first style we ever made. We don’t sell them any longer, although we do occasionally make a limited run of them, which always sell out. They are the classics, the quintessential retro pair, and they never lose their appeal’.