Going Back to Move Forward


The opening of a new bespoke shop in Notting Hill is probably not something that is normally newsworthy, however when you’re Claire Goldsmith, greatgranddaughter of Philip Oliver Goldsmith, it is.

Philip Oliver Goldsmith began as an eyeglass salesman in 1926. After finding that metal and tortoiseshell were far too expensive, he turned to vibrantly colored acetate. Ten years later Charles Goldsmith turned the concept of sunglasses, which at that time were made from used eyeglasses with tinted lenses, into a full-fledged fashion statement and permanent accessory. Soon the custom eyewear was gracing the pages of Vogue and Harpers. Through the middle of the century Goldsmith created some of the most eye catching designs to be captured on film, worn by the likes of Michael Caine and Audrey Hepburn, and on the runway by creating eyewear for Givenchy and Dior.

Eighty years later, Claire Goldsmith is not riding on icon status alone, she is attempting to reconnect to a past tradition and craft to create something new. She has called on the original craftsmen, most now well into their seventies, and has gone as far as to raid forgotten warehouses stocked with acetate to create great new collections from vintage stock. She has definitely taken the tradition and heritage to heart in her new undertaking, attempting to carry on the iconic legacy of her forefathers.

This makes me wonder if somewhere there isn’t a forgotten stash of rosewood sitting in a remote warehouse in Michigan just waiting to be formed into a new Plywood Lounge Chair.