Earlier in the year I met the Creative Director of Cutler and Gross, Monica Chong. I was lucky enough to have a tour of the Cutler and Gross Museum (click here for the feature) and fell in love with their frames. Later on I met up again with Monica and had a chat about fashion, glasses and of course Cutler and Gross! This is how it went…
MGAM: Have you always worked with eyewear?
Monica: No, I used to be a fashion designer and had my own range “Monica Chong”. It was stocked in places such as Harvey Nichols and Harrods but I have now worked for Cutler and Gross for 10 years.
MGAM: Why did you choose to work for Cutler and Gross?
Monica: I have always been friends with the two directors and in 2001 they approached me to help push the vintage store and to push the brand further. Cutler and Gross are all so different to what is out there and we have introduced themes like in fashion and we also do trend prediction just like the fashion industry.
MGAM: Each season what inspires you to create new frames?
Monica: I can’t exactly explain what it is but it just comes to me and because I am a very visual person anything can be a trigger. Anything from films, paintings but it still has to be something that fits in with the brand. Researching the theme is my favourite part and more inspiration normally comes flooding in.
MGAM: Describe a typical Cutler and Gross customer?
Monica: We attract many different types of customers so it is hard to say a particular type. It ranges from lawyers, singers, actors and we are also very popular in the fashion industry. At Cutler and Gross we are proud that we do not have our label printed down the side because the wearer who wears them should just be proud of them and people who appreciate glasses do not need a label.
MGAM: Do you think glasses are becoming more of an accessory rather than a medical necessity?
Monica: For Cutler and Gross definitely and we are very proud that we are the first eyewear brand to win the best accessory award.
MGAM: Do you think there is still a gap between the eyewear industry and the fashion industry?
Monica: For Cutler and Gross no because we treat it as a fashion accessory, we do trend predication for our range so this is where we differentiate ourselves to the normal eyewear industry. We are trying to be innovative and be the leader, not a follower.
MGAM: Who is your eyewear icon and why?
Monica: I love the 50’s, Hollywood glamour that is my favourite era so I wear a lot of catseye. Icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe are such iconic figures. Coming into modern day I respect Madonna for wearing them a lot, Lady Gaga for her boldness, Hugh Grant, Jarvis Cocker and Tinie Tempah who is a huge fan of the brand.
MGAM: What up and coming eyewear trends should we be aware of?
Monica: Look out for more acetate, metal. With metal we mean old school metal.
MGAM: Do you have any designers in mind that you would like Cutler and Gross to work with?
Monica: We would love to work with Schiaparelli but of course that would be impossible as she passed away in the 70’s otherwise Alexander McQueen because it is an iconic British fashion house.
MGAM: Finally… what one piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to buy a pair of Cutler and Gross?
Monica: It’s best to visit the store; you must try before you buy when it comes to eyewear. You must also try glasses on during daytime to see if it suits your skin tone in natural light. Our consultant will be on hand to help.