The past makes a lovely present

This delightful slogan appears on a shopping bag from the Wien Museum in Vienna Austria, and ideally relates to the 90th birthday of Oliver Goldsmith – the celebrated British Heritage eyewear company. Claire Goldsmith, the dynamic, resourceful, energetic and enthusiastic director, believes that “the best is yet to come. We fully intend to make the next decade more important than any other.” Claire (above) has graciously granted an exclusive interview to Eyestylist on OG’s potential insights and plans for the next decade…as they elegantly march towards their Centennial Anniversary.

Tortoise Split by Oliver Goldsmith
Tortoise Split by Oliver Goldsmith

In your opinion, why has vintage – eyewear styles from the 1950’s, 60’s etc. – continued to be so in demand? “They say out of adversity comes innovation, and the war years brought about huge adversity. What came off the back of that were decades of huge innovation in many walks of life. In the design world, everything from eyewear to car design and furniture to architecture – it’s all remained relevant from that period, and I think that comes down to what was going on in people’s lives at that time. Post war optimism and the feeling that anything was possible. Nothing had yet been done. Quite unlike how we feel today! Saying that, I see some designs coming out of new companies that I truly believe will stand the test of time themselves, and in sixty years from now will be hailed as vintage classics from 2016!

"I love the INGEMA - the feel of it"
“I love the INGEMA – the feel of it”

What are some of the differences between the OG frames created sixty-seventy years ago – and today?¬†“To be honest we try hard to make no differences. There are some things like lens technology which has come a long way with improvement. We also have access to things like hypo allergenic hinges – but we make them in the old pinned hinge style! The Oliver Goldsmith brand is about clean and classic styling, and I don’t see us straying from that. The old saying ‘they don’t make ’em like they used to!’ does not apply to¬†Oliver Goldsmith.

The OGLE "handmade in England to order...but watch this space."
The OGLE “handmade in England to order…but watch this space.”

Are you planning any special celebrations or events for the 90th Anniversary of OG? “We have had a great year doing small events around the world to mark this special birthday, but as we draw closer to the completion of that year, we are focused on the new decade ahead of us. As a 4th generation Goldsmith heading up this side of the business, I want to ensure that the next ten years in the lead up to the company’s centennial celebration, we create and produce some collections which show that we still set the standard. We have so much planned already in terms of design and development of a new collection called OG DECADES. But I can’t say any more about that right now. We also have tonnes of new treatments planned for the much loved OG ICONS collection – a bunch of characters in their own right. The OG FAMILY collection is also continuing to grow with new relatives joining the line up each season. So really the message is let’s start the new Decade! 100 here we come!”

What is your favourite OG frame and why? “That’s like asking which of my children I love most! I have a couple of favourites: I love the Y-NOT because it’s just a total statement frame and it’s so OG! I love the OGLE – but we have never put it into production. Its only ever been handmade in England to order. I might consider it for ready to wear – watch this space – but I LOVE this frame. I love the INGEMA – the feel of it. It’s got 3-dimensional hand built temples. It was originally made for Michael Caine in the IPCRESS FILE. It’s another design that has only ever been handmade in England to order.”

OG: Goldside Editions Lord sunglasses
OG: Goldside Editions Lord Sunglasses

This month Claire launches the stunning OG: Goldside Editions – with two defining designs from the family archive – Manhattan and Lord. The Limited Edition of only 500 pieces will be made in raw black and gold, with flat gold flash mirror sun lens – to mark the end of one OG decade and the start of another. Happy 90th Birthday Oliver Goldsmith! Discover more at JG