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Oliver Peoples will ring in a quarter of a century in the eyewear business next month with a slew of new initiatives.
This story first appeared in the September 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Founder and creative director Larry Leight wanted to do something special for the anniversary — and after delving into his personal archive of design notes, frames and catalogues amassed over the years, he made a discovery: a sketch from 1989 that he knew had to be reinterpreted for the occasion.
Beginning next month, the retro-inspired XXV special edition frames — one sun and one ophthalmic style — will hit the brand’s stores and select retail partners.
The $340 to $430 glasses, each available in five colorways such as Cocobolo, Slightly Light Beige, Raintree and Workmen Grey, possess custom filigreed metal detailing like an end piece engraved with a scroll design or temples adorned with a retro plaque (a first for the brand). The eyewear comes in a limited edition case based on the original packaging used in the first collection — a silver case embossed with the original Oliver Peoples plaque and lined with royal blue velvet.
In addition to highlighting the brand’s resort 2013 collection, a campaign — featuring actors Ray Liotta and Bar Paly, shot by Patrick Hoelck on Stage 9 at the Sony Studios lot in Culver City, Calif. — will show the two modeling the celebratory XXV-RX and XXV-S styles. A short film was shot simultaneously and will debut in spring 2013.
Leight cites the Internet as having heavily impacted the company in the 25 years since it was founded — and maintains that digital is a key focus going forward. Leight, along with chief executive officer David Schulte, are keen on emphasizing the Web site and providing the consumer with an omnichannel experience by connecting the online and offline shopping experiences.
On Sept. 15, the interactive My.oliverpeoples.com will launch — allowing customers to partake in the content creation process. Users can upload images, text or videos to share stories that relate to the brand, and the company will post relevant content as well. The micro-site will serve as a destination for fans and the brand to engage in a two-way dialogue, with all submissions sent to a moderator before getting posted on the site.
On a consumer level, the Internet and e-commerce has allowed the consumer to make more educated choices and has help broaden awareness internationally.
According to Schulte, the size of the business has doubled in three years. Business has increased about 20 percent year-over-year since 2009, with steady double-digit growth for the past five years, and he expects the same growth trajectory by the end of 2012. North America, Western Europe and Japan are the most mature markets, but Brazil, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, are seeing faster growth.
The first freestanding boutique opened in 1987 on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, and the brand has eight doors to date, with plans to open shops in London, Hong Kong and Miami in the near future. The frames are distributed in 70 countries globally in stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Ron Herman, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
The company launched Mosley Tribes in 2003 under the Oliver Peoples umbrella — with a focus on the sports performance and active lifestyle.
The brand will fete the occasion with a party at David Lynch’s club, Silencio, during Paris Fashion Week, and a new Oliver People’s Gallery will open in Tokyo in October.