It all started with Larry and Dennis Leight’s decision to launch a new concept retail optical store on Sunset Blvd in 1986 in West Hollywood. 1930’s Vintage Estate Collection Acquisition: The Original Inspiration.
Soon after, Larry and his brother purchased an estate of vintage American-made eyewear. The frames had never before been sold (brand new optical) with thousands of different frame styles and clip-ons produced by American factories from the1940s thru the 1960’s. It was a goldmine given their love of early American originals. It was through this acquisition that Larry developed his own collection of eyewear called Oliver Peoples.
The Original collection was filled with retro and vintage-inspired optical frame designs. Antique metal finishes and all shades of spotted tortoise shell plastic were hallmarks of the collection.
In 1989 Time Magazine ran an article on Oliver Peoples. They dedicated a full page to interviews with the top optical retailers in New York City, who claimed they’d never seen a phenomenon of this magnitude in all their years in the industry. Oliver Peoples stood alone with a design style unique to its own. The article provided enormous global exposure for Oliver Peoples and fueled another surge in popularity and demand. In fact, it was out of control:
It was tastemakers and influential people who were celebrated globally for their own crafts that Larry hoped to impress with his designs. This included people from the art world, photographers, models, agents, producers, writers, film makers actors, musicians, stylists, fashion editors, and retailers from the best companies. He wanted his art adorning artists of all kinds from all over the world.
As the world changes, so does Oliver Peoples. The innovative designs continue to set trends and reach today’s most prominent and renowned people. While plans for more retail stores remain a priority, the exclusive distribution which had always been a cornerstone of the brand will never be sacrificed.