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Oliver Peoples is branching out with Oliver Peoples West, a new division of sunglasses inspired by the California lifestyle.
This story first appeared in the January 28, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
West, a complementary segment to the mainline collection, offers a selection of casual styles designed for on the go.
“We started thinking more and more about this idea of the weekend, and how it plays into your life,” said chief executive officer David Schulte. “We found that there was a void here, and that was essentially the genesis of Oliver Peoples West. It is an extension of the original line’s architecture, going after this time of the week where the customer is maybe a little more casual.”
Taking cues from the coastal lifestyle, the line focuses on functional, modern design, an area the brand felt had be previously overlooked. “This line is for active people who are still fashionable,” said founder and creative director Larry Leight. “Whether it’s running or hiking or biking, that was the inspiration.”
Schulte noted that though the line is much sportier than previous Oliver Peoples designs, it is not intended for intense activity.
“We’re not trying to be a performance brand,” said Schulte. “Active is, basically, out and about.”
Zeiss polarized lenses are at the center of the collection, many done in Maliblu, a vibrant shade of blue exclusive to the brand. The frames are constructed around a flexible temple tip, made out of a hybrid material that fuses titanium, acetate and a silicone grip. “The cablelike temple almost holds the glasses on to your head — it’s really comfortable and doesn’t give out in weather conditions,” said Leight.
West’s first offering will have seven unisex styles, with prices ranging from $265 to $280. The brand hopes to evolve from season to season by updating existing key styles, and eventually introducing new core styles.
“It’s really a matter of being comprehensive with our offering,” said Schulte. “We have sunglasses that you can wear to the Golden Globes, we have eyewear that you can wear when you are studying, and now with this line, we have sunglasses to wear in your car when you’re out getting a juice in Malibu.”
Presale for the line begins this week at barneys.com. The collection will be in stores beginning in March at select retail locations worldwide, oliverpeoples.com and in Oliver Peoples boutiques, including the soon-to-be-opened San Francisco location.
Located on the corner of Grant Avenue and Maiden Lane, the new outpost marks Oliver Peoples’ fifth freestanding store in California, joining Malibu, Los Angeles, South Coast Plaza and San Diego.
Los Angeles-based design firm Marmol Radziner designed the 800-square-foot space with an ocean-inspired interior. Design motifs include wood furniture with natural edges, custom bronze lighting fixtures and a woven-wood wall that recalls the construction of a ship’s hull.
The boutique opening also marks the launch of the Oliver Peoples Made-to-Order program, which will allow customers to customize the colors of three classic styles: the O’Malley, the Ari and the Sheldrake.