Since its Knightsbridge flagship store opened 51 years ago, Cutler and Gross has been at the heart of fashionable optics. Guided by founders Graham Cutler and Tony Gross’s mantra of ‘function, fit and style’, it makes wearing glasses desirable, through its use of exquisite materials, specific, recognisable features and investing in its own research, development and production. ‘It’s nice if glasses can be sexy and mysterious,’ said Tony Gross. ‘People who need glasses don’t have to feel separated from glamour.’ At the same time, it’s a business that wears its brand subtly. If you’re wearing Cutler and Gross glasses, you’re the only one who knows.
Cutler and Gross has always designed products to last a lifetime, so a general shift among consumers towards understanding more about provenance, company philosophies and sustainable working methods is welcome. Owning its own factory allows a degree of control and creativity that would not be possible otherwise, enabling the brand to shape its own destiny.
Cutler and Gross personally selects its optometrists, who tend to carve long-standing careers with the brand – Salvatore Scinaldi, based at the Knightsbridge flagship, has carried the mantle for the past 21 years. Its renowned Piers Gough eye examination room is now filled with the latest diagnostic equipment and offers one of the most comprehensive eye examinations in the industry. Essilor, inventor of the varifocal, is the brand’s lens partner – underlining the importance of synergy between the frame’s aesthetics and the prescription.
Cutler and Gross understands perfectly the evolving needs of its devoted clientele. ‘If you buy a handcrafted pair of glasses or sunglasses, you want to see the tiny differences – they give character and make them truly unique to the wearer,’ says Graham. ‘The Cutler and Gross customer has always been an individual. Eccentric maybe, but a rare breed, certainly.’
Despite a challenging past pandemic year, a new European distribution centre was established ahead of Brexit, significant investments were made in logistical operations, machinery and a new design studio was established in the brand’s vertically integrated Italian-owned factory to enable more frequent worldwide releases of seasonal collections. In addition, new digital eyewear technology was rolled out in its retail stores and a new website was launched to help to deliver valuable, state-of-the-art customer experiences.
The Kingsman Collection collaboration continues to strengthen with the launch of the film planned this year. In addition to Mr. Porter, The Kingsman Collection is now selling in Cutler and Gross’ retail stores and across its global wholesale network, while its continued partnership with Paul Smith Eyewear generates accelerated growth in worldwide markets. There is another exciting and unorthodox collaboration with a British brand planned for later in the year, all part of the plan to spearhead surprising but exciting brand collaborations and introduce Cutler and Gross to new audiences globally.
These are strong foundations for the future. Britishness is core to the brand’s heritage and a vital aspect of its continued success. It is proud to operate globally as an independent British brand, continuing to deliver quality craftsmanship and typically eccentric but elegant British style.