Blink Travels: Cutler and Gross arrives in Toronto

Exciting times for one of my favourite British brands, Cutler and Gross. They are slowly but surely taking over the world and I was lucky enough to be in Toronto as they were about to open their newest outpost. I met the team as they were frantically unpacking the latest shipment of stock, including some wonderful archive styles. The cash desk was yet to arrive and the finishing touches were being put to their very own mini version of the ‘Museum’ room. Although the store has been designed by Toronto based ‘Fishtnk‘, it still maintains the Cutler and Gross signature look, including the picture wall of famous faces wearing C & G frames. The store is perfectly located in Yorkville, which is broadly speaking Toronto’s Knightsbridge, again reflecting the London flagship beautifully.

The doors open today (good luck Golta and team!) just in time for the world’s film industry and hottest movie stars to descend upon the city for the  Toronto International Film Festival.

You can read up on what Cutler and Gross have been up to in London here, and learn about Marie, their wonderful Design Director, here. Enjoy!

Cutler and Gross, Toronto

Cutler and Gross, Toronto

Cutler and Gross, Toronto

the 'Museum' room at Cutler and Gross, Toronto

the 'Museum' room at Cutler and Gross, Toronto

Blink Retail: Cutler and Gross launches ‘Museum’ and ‘Bespoke Service’

I was delighted to be invited to the launch of the latest project from Cutler and Gross. Its a brand that is very close to my heart after spending a short time working for this dynamic duo, so its wonderful to keep up to date on how this brilliant British brand is going from strength to strength with a global expansion underway. Cutler and Gross may well be spreading its wings around the world but the CEO, Majid Mohammadi, told me that he is absolutely committed to maintaining their incredible quality levels, wonderful brand values and inherent exclusivity. With that in mind, the team have launched a wonderful new service in their Knightsbridge flagship store.

Above this small but perfectly formed jewel box of a store, in a space that was formerly the workshop, Cutler and Gross have created a showcase for an additional four thousand carefully selected styles from their archive, the oldest of which date back to 1969, so if you can’t find quite what you need on the shop floor below, its highly likely that the team will be able to locate a frame that is absolutely perfect for you from this stunningly displayed collection. This is an ‘appointment only’ opportunity but one that will transform your view of buying a new pair of specs forever. In the privacy and glamour of this glossy, mirrored space you will be given the expert help of an experienced and knowledgeable eyewear consultant to assist you in selecting the most prefect frame shape, in any colour and lens shade combination.

If you are really, really fussy and can’t find exactly what you are after from this immense selection, why not indulge your ultimate ocular fantasies and go bespoke? Cutler and Gross are also offering to create unique ‘One Off’ frames, specifically designed for the client to their exact specifications of shape, colour and finish. Gosh, where would you begin! What an incredible opportunity.

The glamorous new 'Museum' space at Cutler and Gross

The glamorous new 'Museum' space at Cutler and Gross

The 'Bespoke Service' Mirror Room at Cutler and Gross

To secure you appointment in the ‘Museum’ space just email themuseum@cutlerandgross.com. If you’d like to learn more about Cutler and Gross, why not read our interview with Marie Wilkinson, the Creative Director.

Thanks again to Majid, Marie, Sophie, Salvatore and the team for all of the time that you gave me.  Good luck with the new venture!

Blink Interviews: Design Director of Cutler and Gross, Marie Wilkinson

A little while back, I had the good fortune to spend some time working for Cutler and Gross. It was a small diversion out of womenswear into the wonderful world of  glasses, and it was an experience that I treasure. Not only was it wonderful to work for such a well respected, design and quality oriented brand, the team there are a really special group of people. The atmosphere and ethos set by Tony Gross and Graham Cutler is core to this brands success. If you have never spent time in their Knightsbridge stores I urge you to do so.

Each pair of Cutler and Gross frames is entirely hand-made and follows in excess of 30 processes that have been set in place since the first pair was handcrafted in 1969. Until very recently, this took place above the Knightsbridge shop, but in 1982 manufacturing moved to the traditional sunglass manufacturing region of Cadore, Italy. The manufacturing process that Cutler and Gross specialize in is truly a labour of love, with each individual frame being treated as a bespoke creation that takes four weeks to handcraft.

Before the manufacturing process begins, enormous amounts of care and thought goes into the design. When Cutler and Gross started making frames in the 1960s inspiration came from a piece of furniture, a rare slice of film noir or an imaginary concept. Today, design is the responsibility of Design Director Marie Wilkinson, who joined the company in 1982 as an apprentice under Mr Cutler and Mr Gross. Marie expertly marries the heritage and history of Cutler and Gross with future trends. She works closely with Creative Director Monica Chong, and each season they work on themes and concepts for the new collections.

We recently caught up with Marie and we are extremely grateful that she agreed to answer some of our questions.

Tell us about your current design crush
Vidal Sassoon haircuts.

Which comes first for you, the brand’s own handwriting or trends?
The brand’s own handwriting comes first as I know from past experience, Cutler and Gross styles often set the trends.

Do you think commerciality or creativity is the most important?
I think commercial should mean that the glasses should appeal to a broad group of people and this in turn should feed  the creativity.

Does the idea of sustainability impact on your collection at all?
Yes , in that we have used  Vintage sheet acetate in our collections and we have even up-cycled unused stock acetate to create new sheets in a fabulous new tortoiseshell effect.

What are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
I am working on Fall Winter 2012 ideas for our own collections and for Victoria Beckham’s collection.

What or who are your longest standing design influences?
Mr Cutler and Mr Gross

What’s currently inspiring you?
1950’s furniture with brass legs.

Has your role at Cutler and Gross developed in the way that you anticipated?
Beyond my wildest dreams!

How would you describe your personal design aesthetic?
Louise Brooks in a frock!

What was your first fashion memory?
The short A line mini dresses my impossibly glamorous Godmother wore when she came to our house for afternoon tea in the 1960’s.

Any advise on choosing the perfect frame?

Above all else the shape and the colour has to suit your face , your haircut and personality. Be honest with yourself and don’t just buy the latest ‘trend’. If your face suits ‘cat’s eyes’ only; embrace the cat!

What is currently tempting you into making a purchase?
Maison Martin Margiela with their fabulous furniture.

Sunglasses indoors… Fashion fabulous or fashion faux pas?
Fashion fabulous.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The opportunity to work with such huge creative talents.

Any future projects that you’d like to tell us about?
Designing exclusive glasses for the new Cutler and Gross showrooms in London, Toronto and New York that will be open by the end of this year.

What 3 words best describe what Cutler and Gross stand for?
Stylish, handmade, hand-polished.

Pencil and paper or computer and mouse?
Pencil and paper.

Tell us about your most fabulous fashion moment

The time when I went to Elton John’s home to show him the collection and he loved the glasses and personally made me tea, served in Versace tea cups. He is the most charming host.

Who would you love to work with, past or present?
Ann Demeulemeester.

I feel most creative when…
the sun is shining

Any final word of advice?
I think it is important to have a mentor.
I had the most wonderful mentors in Mr Cutler and Mr Gross, for which I am very grateful.

Marie Wilkinson, Design Director at Cutler and Gross

from the Spring Summer '11 collection, 'The Mermaid and the Officer'

from the Spring Summer '11 collection, 'The Mermaid and the Officer'

Tony Gross and Graham Cutler

Thanks again to Marie for the fabulous interview. If you’d like to read more inspirational interviews, just click here. Enjoy!