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August 2014

Finely Framed

In 1969, the first Cutler and Gross shop was established by Graham Cutler and Tony Gross in London. The two Northampton College classmates drew business consulting with clients at the store’s street level and handcrafting their own bespoke eyewear in a work space above. By 1982, the gold foil logo’s standards were solidified, showing at Paris Fashion Week and escalating to cult British classic on the faces of celebrities like Michael Caine and Elton John, having already helped make cinematic history in movies such as “Some Like It Hot.” In their most recent chapter, Cutler and Gross has opened their first Flagship store in the U.S. in 2013, officially tipping their hat to the American market and bringing the Brit brand to six locations worldwide.

—Breanna Benz


20/20: What kind of customers do you feel are drawn to Cutler and Gross?
Arturo Vale, Optician: Someone who appreciates art, someone who appreciates well-made, beautiful products, that is generally our clientele. We can make almost anything, even pieces we haven’t had in production, vintage pieces.


What makes the eyewear at Cutler and Gross different?
Chris Bantounas, Optician: I think most or our special offering is what we can do with our bespoke service. Our crown jewel, which goes hand-in-hand with owning the factory and not going through a third party, is that we have the ability to custom-make a frame. That’s what separates us from any optical store.


What do you enjoy about working with Cutler and Gross products?
CB: My favorite thing about Cutler and Gross is that there is actually a longstanding protocol in the way that we do things. Our goods are not perishable—I know that’s the catch phrase of the moment—but our styles are classic yet contemporary, and the standards are not altered. I think people really enjoy that continuity.


Does the New York City location see many international customers?
AV: That’s another facet we deal with: the internationalism of our clients traveling abroad. We have clients that are bi-coastal, bi-continental, and they want service everywhere, and service needs to be the same. I can’t give them a different story.


What stands out about the pieces offered in your store?
AV: We house pieces from the early ’80s, ’90s and 2000s and show them here. We have quite a following of eyewear connoisseurs who have followed us for years and want to repurchase a frame. We have our very first frame that was made in the early ’70s.


How are your frames organized?
AV: Color is very catching to the eye. Black, then we work our way into gray, to browns, tortoises… to the more colorful frames.

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