Entrevue avec Marie Wilkinson, la réputée designer de lunettes pour la marque de luxe britannique Cutler and Gross!

Article par Avril Franco et Justine Gagnon

Marie Wilkinson_BW_CG.jpg

1) C’est une réelle passion pour les lunettes que vous avez! Est-ce que c’est une passion que s’est développée avec le temps ou depuis votre jeunesse que vous y rêver?

Capture d’écran 2019-08-09 à 10.13.49 AM.png
The passion started when I was 8 years old, looking through my first pair of glasses (right and left –2.50 dioptre lenses in an oval tortoiseshell frame) and saw the miracle of a clear world and how they made me feel so courageous and brave. I worked as a teenager in an opticians and saw how with the right frames, people were more accepting of their prescriptions. I suppose I wanted to change peoples perceptions about wearing glasses. Then I met Mr Cutler and mr Gross and discovered that they were already doing this with their unique designs and bespoke service from their shop in Knightsbridge.

2) Votre travail combine à la fois de la précision, des restrictions et de la créativité. Que diriez-vous qui est la plus grande difficulté dans la création d’un nouveau modèle de lunette?

Designing frames depends on other technologies, such as lenses. The best example is in the late 1960’s when the first lightweight plastic lenses were made in large diameters, allowing frame designs to expand into fantastic shapes and sizes. Up to that point, lenses were made of heavy glass and in small size blanks.
With flatter base sunlenses becoming readily available, frame design can respond and react to this. 

3) Nous sommes curieuses de savoir en quelques lignes à quoi ressemble les étapes pour la conception d’un nouveau modèle de lunette?

At Cutler and Gross, first we like to ground ourselves and immerse ourselves in the archive and ask the question, ‘what would Mr Cutler and Mr gross do?
How would they reinvent the 90’s look?’ And then with our roots established, we start to draw with our current sensibility. The drawings are then discussed with the Cutler and Gross eponymous factory and then the magic starts!

4) Qu’est-ce qui vous passionne dans votre métier ?

Its not just me! Everyone at Cutler and Gross is passionate about glasses. Cutler and Gross own each part of the process from design and manufacture through to showing and styling the customer - and this makes our work so satisfying.
Marie Wilkinson_CG.jpg

5) Quel est le plus grand défi dans votre métier ?

Upscaling from being a single, long established shop to expanding to wholesale - stocking in stores like Antoine Laoun in Montreal - and 5 further Cutler and Gross shops, including our Toronto store! We did this by utilising existing team members who were sure of the Cutler and Gross philosophy and practices and were able to share and teach newer members of staff to enable us to grow organically. 

6) En tant que designer de montures, combien de paires de lunettes avez-vous à la maison ?

I have more than 200 personal frames with prescriptions and I keep them in a chest of drawers - designed by Jasper Morrison in the 1990’s - especially for the purpose!
Capture d’écran 2019-08-09 à 10.21.13 AM.png

7) Avec quel artiste ou marque avez-vous préféré collaborer dans votre carrière et pourquoi ?

This is really like choosing a favourite child, but if I have to choose, working with Rei Kawakubo on several collections of sunglasses for Comme des Garcons Homme Plus
Had a profound effect on me. A true highlight was when she loved the gingham printed 0734 we made and even more, when she chose a pair of Cutler and Gross to wear herself. 
I also love working with new and young designers, who bring a fresh vision to our collections with their unique tastes in colour and bold shapes.
Rei Kawakubo

Rei Kawakubo

8) Quelles tendances sont à venir ?

The trend for visible luxury. For gold plated titanium combined with Italian hand polished acetate. Our customers are used to keeping their Cutler and Gross glasses for a long time. We’ll hand polish and renovate Cutler and Gross frames for the life of the frame and offer complimentary refitting services. They are investment pieces! 

8) Quelle est votre création dont vous êtes la plus fière ?

The first creation you would know and my first best-seller was the 0702. A semi-rimless aviator covered in fine Italian leather. It was in continuous production for 10 years so that is a frame I will always be fond of! My current favourite to wear is the 1329 cat-eye in red turtle. 

1329 - Cat-eye in red turtle

Capture d’écran 2019-08-12 à 10.17.42 AM.png

0702 - A semi-rimless aviator covered in fine Italian leather