Grounded in a five-decade deep design archive, our collections seek to reimagine and recalibrate iconic Cutler and Gross glasses and sunglasses for the faces and lifestyles of a modern audience.
Each season, the Creative Review series spotlights two frames from the latest collection. The journal entry is written in conversation with our Creative Director, who shares his thoughts and inspirations behind the design.
The first instalment explores the 9126 frame.
Rocket Man Roots
Frame shapes exploded and expanded in size in the early 70s, thanks to the advent of plastic lenses. Prior to this, glass was the material of choice, dictating smaller, more limited designs. Our eponymous founders Mr Cutler and Mr Gross leant into this new creative freedom and crafted an oversized frame with large diamond-shaped lenses.
The transparent glasses had wide rims and a stepped bridge so that they rested on the nose rather than the cheeks. Worn by maximalist icon Elton John, the frame ushered in a profoundly bold and unapologetic perspective.
Democratising The Diamond
Our Creative Director used this archival design as a starting point for the 9126 sunglasses and glasses from the Autumn Winter 2023 collection. He sought to retain the frame’s DNA and three-dimensionality, while evolving it for contemporary optics.
The lenses were narrowed, the rims deepened. The rare diamond shape was reduced in size and angled more dramatically, removing the roundness from the original design but loading the drama. Blurring the lines between a geometric shape and a cat-eye, the 9126 has the curious effect of a rectangular frame – a silhouette that is universally suited to all face shapes.
Marcer was fascinated by the concept of creating shapes within shapes on the 9126, he likened it to opposing mirrors generating infinite reflections. With this in mind, he proposed that the frame be bevelled on both the exterior and interior. The effect was sculptural in form, with contouring adding unprecedented depth to the frontal.
The browline swoops up and dips down at the nose bridge, a calculated touch from Marcer:
“When I first start sketching a frame I think about the light: where it will hit, where it will bounce. The angular shape of the 9126 allowed me to direct the light very specifically to reflect off the frontal and emphasise the gloss of the acetate.”
This is most apparent with the 9126 Black on Pink sunglass, which is crafted to a split-layer design. The pigmented Black acetate is lightened with Pink crystal edges, glistening like neon lights in a darkened club.
An Artful Paradox
The surrealist silhouette balances a bold frontal with slim temples, adding lightness to the design, while signature details add Cutler and Gross prestige.
Conical lugs are studded with polished Oyster pins, a motif first introduced in 1985 on the archival 0143 frame. Marcer notes that the Oyster pin bridges the past and present, thanks to its angularity. Compass star pins and Hazard core wire detail the temples, which are marked with a Gold-foil logo on the interior.
In acknowledgment of this artistry, the 9126 was awarded the prestigious Silmo d’Or 2023 award for optical design.
Enter The After Party
The 9126 frame sits within the Autumn Winter collection of sunglasses and opticals. It looks to the lexicon of the late 80s and the nocturnal narrative of the After Party, transposing the club scenes and dusky streetscapes into a palette of juxtaposing hues.
From oversized sunglasses to round glasses frames for men and women, use our Frame Finder and Virtual Try-On Glasses tool to choose your style.
Interested in a more bespoke experience? We offer styling consultations at all Cutler and Gross stores. Tailored to your taste and lifestyle, a member of the team will lead you through shapes, colours and lenses to help you find what suits. Book here.