Maison Bonnet’s exquisite eyewear proves the power of bespoke frames

And thanks to the brand’s new London outpost, its tailor-made glasses will be easier to get your hands on than ever.

By Phoebe Neuman 18/06/2018

When it comes to bespoke, eyewear—beyond the obvious tailoring of prescription lenses to the wearer—is a category that often flies under the radar.

That said, the sartorial power of slipping on pair of optical or sunglasses tailored to fit you exactly is every bit as transformative as lacing up a bespoke pair of shoes or fully custom suit. And no one knows this quite like the artisans behind Maison Bonnet—a family-run French lunetier beloved by those-in-the-know for its exquisite hand-crafted and always custom frames.

Founded in 1950, the brand fell almost instantly into favour with celebrities and style icons of the day, with everyone from Yves Saint-Laurent and Le Corbusier to Jackie O making the pilgrimage to Robert Bonnet’s atelier to order a tailor-made pair of frames.


*Jackie O in a pair of Maison Bonnet bespoke sunglasses Photo: Courtesy Getty Images
*

Fast forward nearly 70 years, and the brand has maintained this same level of prestige—with Robert’s son, Christian Bonnet, earning a revered Maître d’art distinction from the French government in 2000 and the brand’s first Paris boutique making a splash when it opened in 2009. Now, fourth-generation eyewear expert Franck Bonnet is expanding the house—jumping the channel to open its first-ever boutique in London’s ritzy Mayfair district.

Set to debut in early July, the boutique will bring the world of Maison Bonnet to life over an impressive six floors. Envisioned by French artist and designer Pierre Bonnefille (another Maître d’art recipient), the space—the first of its kind in London—will act as a boutique and atelier, with every aspect designed to connect clients to the unique processes of creating a custom pair of frames.

Meant to be more of a living studio than a retail store, the brand’s expertly trained artisans will hold centre court at the Stafford Street outpost, guiding clients through the creation of each pair of frames, from the first measurements to the final fitting.


An artisan expertly shapes the legs of a pair of Masion Bonnet frames. Photo: JOËL SAGET/MAISON BONNET

Each pair of Maison Bonnet optical or sunglasses takes between two and four months to produce. The process starts with the selection of frame shape—options range from groovy acetate round frames and bold aviators to classic notch-bridges and everything in between—and materials, including acetate, horn, and genuine turtle-shell.

Once the design is settled and precise measurements of the client’s face have been taken, all of the specs will be sent from London to the brand’s Burgundy manufactory, where they will be carefully shaped and polished using techniques perfected nearly a century ago. From there, the one-of-a-kind style will be returned to the Mayfair atelier for final fittings—ensuring that everything about the frame flatters your face, lifestyle, and fashion sense before you take them home.

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