Oliver Goldsmith was established in 1926 by Philip Oliver Goldsmith who started out as a travelling salesman for the well-known optical company Raphaels in the 1920s. After excelling at the optical firm, he opened Oliver Goldsmith in 1926 on the top floor of a building on Poland Street in the centre of London. Oliver Goldsmith focused on high quality and luxurious side of opticals and gathered together a small team of expert craftsmen to make real tortoiseshell spectacle frames by hand. During the mid-1920s glasses really started to become a fashion accessory in their own right.
In the 1950s, Oliver's sons, Andrew, Oliver and Raymond, joined the family business and started producing more eccentric glasses using unusual materials such as bamboo. The brothers also pioneered unconventional and unique patterns like butterflies, union jacks and tennis rackets - these new quirky design lead decisions were well-received as sunglasses were fast becoming a fashion statement. Film-star Diana Dors wore Oliver Goldsmith's white 'Martian' frames at the Cannes film festival and Audrey Hepburn famously wore Oliver Goldsmith glasses throughout her role in the film ‘'The Manhattan' and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany's’. In 1982, Oliver Goldsmith became the official supplier of sunglasses to Diana, The Princess of Wales and was often seen in the pages of Vogue.
Today the legacy of Oliver Goldsmith lives on. In 2006, Oliver Goldsmith’s great-granddaughter Claire reissued the original 50s, 60s and 70s designs and the original frames earned themselves a home in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. This selection of Oliver Goldsmith glasses in the V&A museum showcases designs between 1930-1980, showing the evolution of style with over 70 frames on display. This level of prestige and care is apparent in every reissue of the original Oliver Goldsmith designs - Claire Goldsmith frames are equally as extravagant, elegant and fantastical as the original Oliver Goldsmith eyewear.
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