This week there were two appropriately summery parties to launch the new eyewear collections of two iconic American brands. Tommy Hilfiger celebrated its first foray into eyewear–and its yearlong 25th anniversary–with a party at the James Hotel in NYC and a movie dedicated to surfers. Oliver Peoples hosted an intimate gathering of bloggers who were invited to hang out with founder Larry Leight, try on sunglasses, and eat fancy barbecue.
Did you ever wonder how Oliver Peoples, now owned by Luxottica, got its name? Oliver Peoples had an amazing collection of vintage American eyewear that came into the possession of Larry Leight, and he thought the name sounded classy and vaguely British–thus a brand was born. Unabashedly influenced by Hollywood, Larry cites stars and “aspirational” people as his inspiration. He would love it if Kate Moss and Johnny Depp wore his frames.
During an impromptu Q and A, Larry proved himself to be warm, smart, and completely obsessed with eyewear. While talking about vintage eyewear, he said of the recent vintage trend, “Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s just left over. The really good frames are impossible to find.” Remember this the next time you’re at the Brooklyn Flea.
The Oliver Peoples 2011 collection is classic with a modern spin, which is what the brand has built its empire on. The big movie star glasses are there (the gorgeous Myriel, right) as well as an assortment of frames that give a reverential nod to Wayfarers. Indeed,the pair that I got to take home with me is the striped blond Shean, which are like my beloved Ray-bans (Miranda Kerr’s wearing them above), but better. (It pains me to say that. Sorry, Ray-ban.) The brand manages to avoid blingy, trendy sunglasses, as pointed out by Shenae Grimes (who was randomly reporting at the event on behalf of Nylon) and Larry is proud that they manage to stay above the trendy fray.
The event for Tommy Hilfiger’s eyewear launch was a bit more flashy, involving Becka Diamond and a whole lotta surfers in their bearded, scruffy glory. We got to see a showing of Sight + Sound, a surfing film by Mickey DeTemple–many of the surfers featured were in the crowd and hooted and hollered at appropriate moments during the film.
More importantly, Tommy Hilfiger now offers eyewear. The company describes the styles as neo-preppy and all-American. You’ll find 15 unisex styles and three women’s, in metal and acetate frames. Aviators are there, as are oversized frames and some fun colors like red, pink, white, and blue. The TH 1985 pair commemorates Tommy Hilfiger’s 25th anniversary as a brand, and are a vintage shape with a big wink at the 80s.