Cutler and Gross
Cutler and Gross is a British luxury eyewear brand with a loyal following from the likes of Bono, Elton John, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham. Founded in London by optometrists Graham Cutler and Tony Gross in 1969, its classic-yet-trendy unisex styles are popular with the fashion set.
Its sole Canadian standalone store reopened on Queen near Trinity-Bellwoods three weeks ago after it was forced to close its original Yorkville location when a large fire broke out in the building back in January.
The new space is sleek, modern and predominantly white with black floors. Monochrome: so very on-trend.
Golta Mohammadi, Cutler and Gross' Canadian operations manager and codirector, explains to me that the brand's specialty is acetate frames, handmade in Italy. Acetate is a natural, high-quality plastic that can be heated up so that glasses can be adjusted to fit a specific customer's face.
The craftsmanship of these glasses is something to be admired; Mohammadi points out to me that the exposed pins seen at the front of some frames are not merely for decorative purposes - they actually keep the front of the frames attached to the arms (unlike the iconic metal rivets found on the front of a certain brand's popular wayfarers, which are now merely stuck on for show).
The frames are also all polished by hand, which can be time consuming and labour intensive, but worth it in terms of the final product's look and feel. Because all the frames are handmade, each design comes in limited quantities, so if you see a style you like, it's best to nab it before it's sold out.
Choosing the right frame (round? square? cat eye? other?) depends on your face shape (heart? oval? long? other?), and after you've made that decision, there are more to follow.
Frames come in a variety of fashion-forward colours and patterns, and prices range from $475 to $800, with lenses at an additional cost. You can also add customizations, like mirrored lenses for sunglasses, and even requests to match the tint of lenses to shades of particular pieces of clothing can be accommodated.
Cutler and Gross also sells limited vintage stock of their own wares, since a few pairs of every single design were saved over the past 45 years and have been distributed among its seven stores - two in London, and one each in Hong Kong, New York, Tehran, Bath and of course, here.
The company also collaborates with designers on collections; currently these include Maison Martin Margiela and Alberta Ferretti (previous popular collaborations had Canadian connections, such as the up-and-coming Thomas Tait and Ryerson-Fashion-alum Erdem ).
A couple of stand-out favourites of mine? Model #1112 from the Autumn/Winter '14 Collection, a pretty pair of nude sheer sunnies with real rose petals in them ($685), as well as model #0894, the oversized, thick-rimmed hip-nerd specs Jarvis Cocker likes to wear ($495). If they're good enough for Jarvis, they're good enough for me.
Writing by Christina Cheung. Photos by James C Lee .