The famous eyewear brand Oliver Peoples came into existence in 1986 when co-founder Larry Leight bought a vintage collection of thousands of frames that had been manufactured by American eyewear giants such as Bausch & Lomb. Taking inspiration from these frames Leight, together with Ken Schwartz, brought Oliver Peoples to life.
Such a unique name is apparently taken from the man who owned this collection of vintage glasses before selling it on, thought to be an eyewear provider. After he died, his family put the whole collection into storage and it may have stayed there forever if it had not been found by Leight. The vintage frames in the original collection retailed from between $175 and $300, depending on how rare they were.
True Hollywood Success Story
As Oliver Peoples originated in Hollywood, the brand had to fit in with the glamour and style that this setting oozes. In the neighborhood where Woody Allen hung out and Marilyn Monroe regularly went for ‘power lunches’, if Oliver Peoples was to be a success then it was imperative that the brand was as desirable and classy as the people it was selling to. The original direction of the company was to provide timeless, classic eyewear to balance out the modern eyewear that the market was filled with. Leight felt that the new fashions lacked class and taste, and so this is what he tried to provide for American consumers with the brand Oliver Peoples.
Today, many people feel that it is this commitment to providing one type of eyewear, and doing it very well that has contributed to the success of Oliver Peoples. Many companies in expansion tend to ‘branch out’ and start to provide a more disparate range of products, in an attempt to appeal to a larger market. This is especially true in the eyewear sector, which is dominated by a few very large companies.
Despite this, Oliver Peoples has never strayed from the mission of providing high-end, understated vintage and classic glasses, and it seems they are the better for it. The company have expanded though. They now own two other ultra-cool brands, Paul Smith spectacles and Mosely Tribes. This means that the Oliver Peoples brand can retain their unique mark whilst providing different styles and trends in glasses through other channels.
Contributing To the Legacy of Oliver Peoples Original Run of Eyewear
Recently, to mark their 25th anniversary, Oliver Peoples have re-released some of their successful vintage designs, with only a few small stylistic alterations. Larry Leight has chosen a few of his personal favorite styles, some of which are very rare and all of which are classy and vintage. One of the styles is the O’Malley, which is the style worn by Christian Bale in the film American Psycho, and thus one of the most iconic and recognizable styles that Oliver Peoples makes. It was also mentioned in the American Psycho book by Bret Easton Ellis, who describes Oliver Peoples glasses as part of ‘the established uniform of Wall Street bankers’. This reference sums up how Oliver Peoples wants to be thought of, and was incredibly beneficial for the brand.
Celebrities have worn the brand ever since its inception, and this speaks volumes about how classy the Oliver Peoples is. People such as Shirley Manson and Elijah Wood have been involved in marketing campaigns for the brand. Elton John, Meg Ryan and Brad Pitt have also been known to wear Oliver Peoples. This unique form of marketing has its merits, but Leight claims that far more valuable is the continued loyalty of Oliver Peoples ordinary customers.
Word of mouth is really important to eyewear companies, and so is brand loyalty as it can really have an effect on sales. Because of this, Oliver Peoples has built its brand around the people who love it, and developed in order to suit them. Leight describes them as ‘progressive individuals with good style who are influencers and tastemakers’.
Exploring Oliver Peoples Stylish Eyewear
For a pair of nerd glasses frames try MP2 range that comes with either tinted lenses to be used for sunglasses or as prescription eyewear. These glasses are round, with a narrow, steeply curved bridge. And for those who really want to make a statement, the ‘Diandra’ model offers the well-known iconic look of browline glasses. The ‘Grayson’ and ‘Alter-Ego’ styles round out the collection with a modern take on a Clark Kent look.
Of course the ‘O’Malley’ style is iconic and will always be one of the best Oliver Peoples frames for anyone looking for a go-to pair of nerd glasses. They have a very thick upper rim, which can be bought in a number of colors. The upper rim is very broad and protrudes much further outwards than the lenses do. The lenses themselves are a very rounded triangular shape with a slight point at the bottom. Buy it in the tortoiseshell color to go for a really vintage look.
Oliver Peoples is the eyewear choice for many Hollywood and fashion elite who appreciate its perfect combination of style and function.