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Craftsmanship

Filigrees: An Expression of Oliver Peoples’ Attention to Detail

5 Min Reading

Jewelry-like accents that are meticulously crafted and uniquely designed, which have become a signifier for the brand.

To build a beloved luxury brand of easily recognizable products, without overreliance on a logo, we’ve long incorporated signifiers that telegraph to consumers they’re holding frames from Oliver Peoples. One of these most important attributes, our filigree, offers jewelry-like accents along the corewire and eyewire. Some of these delicate designs we’ve used since the beginning.

The midcentury filigree featured on the embedded corewire of Oliver.

When the brand was born in 1987, filigrees were not a design detail that were widely seen. Oliver Peoples became one of the first brands to reintroduce the intricate decoration inspired by vintage designs into their collections. Filigrees enhance new products while referencing our illustrious history. And regardless of the specific style, the meticulous process to craft each nuanced pattern is done by hand. A close look at the corewire’s filigree reveals unexpected depth and dimension.
Although the intricate work occupies such a small space, it embodies elaborate elegance and commitment to the preservation of an artisanal skill. Each filigree is produced one at a time, frame by frame, each detail carefully considered. Inspiration stretches from California Modernism to the curvature of a feather. And every few seasons, Oliver Peoples likes to introduce something vibrant, new and distinct.

The feather filigree was introduced in the 30th Anniversary Collection.

The midcentury filigree, notably inspired by Palm Springs, began as several memories. A recollection of a wall at the Parker Hotel, and the clean lines and sharp angles of the surrounding area’s architecture, melded together into a drawing that was more than a reduction of scale, but a simplification of spirit. This aesthetic interpretation received further modification, tailoring and translation. Ultimately, the pattern became an inverted 3D-mold and the rest was hand-engraved with special tools. For this filigree, introduced in the Spring 2019 collection, the design team captured the essence of California design as never before.
For the feather filigree, a lavish detail from a vintage archival piece was spun out to form the underlying pattern. It became the perfect representation of the brand to celebrate its 30th anniversary—a premiere example of a future born from the past. The feather filigree was incorporated into every metal component running through the collection, from the corewire to the bridge and eyewire. Each application was different in scale, too. Its greatest benefit, altogether, is the fact that, from afar, the feather filigree glistens in the sun as if it were jewelry cut from precious metal.

An iconic filigree for Oliver Peoples, the MP-2.

The MP-2 inspired filigree pattern featured on the corewire of Lachman.

Knowing when to revisit historic filigree is instinctual. It’s all about a feeling or the design team’s mood surrounding a collection. The Resort 2020 collection reintroduces the MP-2 filigree from an iconic frame in the brand’s early days. Arguably, the MP-2 filigree is as identifiable as the frames they’re found within. For a brand with such an extensive history, timing plays a role in resurfacing vintage and archival ideas and modernizing them. Frames in the Resort 2020 Collection honor the Oliver Peoples history—and they do so with an integral element, the filigree.

Inspired by Los Angeles’s iconic Sunset Tower Hotel, the Art Deco filigree pattern is featured on Shiller.

With their latest addition to the portfolio of filigree options, Oliver Peoples honors the Art Deco geometries of LA’s iconic Sunset Tower. An adaptation of the landmark hotel’s intricacies, and an evolution of previous vintage Californian filigree patterns, this eye-catching component embodies the developmental design cues of Los Angeles. The striking Shiller frame shows it off best, as the metal corewire on both sides runs with the Sunset Tower accent—which sends an expressive reminder of Oliver Peoples’ roots in southern California.

WORDS: David Graver

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