In Conversation with Luke Edward Hall

The In Conversation series celebrates Cutler and Gross’s customers, their stories and style. We explore their creative journeys, from career beginnings to breakthroughs, and uncover how their Cutler and Gross frames mirror their unique aesthetic. 

Art direction by David Hellqvist | Photography by Harry Lawlor | Interview by Imogen Massey

On a cold, slightly damp morning we journeyed from London to the Cotswolds to meet artist and designer Luke Edward Hall. Backdropped by rolling hills and bleating sheep, his honey-coloured studio sits within a cluster of farm outbuildings.

The space, all vaulted ceilings and vintage ephemera, seems to exist outside of this century. An antique royal banner swathes one of the great oak beams, while exquisite 1930s theatre costumes add layers of texture. Stacks of magazines, rolls of wallpaper, and an ornate Arcadian vase occupy the floor. Two woodland grotto-worthy chairs surround an oval table piled with postcards, stickers, and photographs. In short, it is a collector’s paradise.

This is the mythos of Luke Edward Hall – a creative polymath who time travels between decades and disciplines. Filtered through an optimistic, romantic lens, his work is transporting. Whether he’s turning his attention to an interior design project, painting a canvas, or sketching the next collection for his brand Chateau Orlando, Luke Edward Hall knows how to tell a story.

Surrounded by his beloved objects, he talks to Cutler and Gross about his inspirations, obsessions, and ideas.

Luke Edward Hall wears the 9290 Cutler and Gross glasses.
Luke wears his 9290 Emerald Marble on Ink opticals, pictured in his studio.

CG: You’re a man of many talents, how do you describe what you do?

LEH: I’ll always say ‘artist and designer’ because my work is a real mix. I love expressing my interests and aesthetic through different mediums; and those are the kind of creatives that I look up to – Cecil Beaton, Oliver Messel, Stephen Tennant, and the Bloomsbury Group – artists and designers who worked on so many different kinds of projects. I’m a ‘yes’ person so if something sounds interesting, I’ll give it a go, I’ll always take on the challenge.

CG: Three words to describe your style?

LEH: Romantic, colourful, optimistic. I want my work to make people feel joyful and transported somewhere fantastical – that is key.

"I like putting unusual objects and colour combinations together - it creates a tension" - Luke Edward Hall
A collection of Luke's sketches and vintage ephemera.
A collection of Luke’s sketches and vintage ephemera.

CG: Tell us about your route to becoming an artist and designer

LEH: I was always drawing and making stuff as a child. I grew up in Basingstoke – your average British town – so magazines were my way of discovering art and culture. I would head to WHSmith and buy Dazed and i-D. I felt like they were my way ‘in’. From there I found out about Central St Martins, which is where I ended up studying menswear. During university, my now-husband and our best friend set up a business selling antiques (I’ve always had an interest in ‘old’ things). When I graduated, fashion wasn’t quite clicking for me, and I hadn’t thought about interiors and design as a career path until I went to work for the architect Ben Pentreath. In 2015, after I’d managed to build up enough projects and commissions, I set up my studio.

CG: Do you have a favourite discipline?

LEH: I love the purity of painting and drawing; it’s how all my projects start. If I’m focusing on an interiors commission (I’m currently working on a restaurant in St Moritz, Switzerland), I’ll hand-draw everything from the furniture to the fittings. With Chateau Orlando [Luke’s fashion and homeware brand], the prints and weaves are developed from my sketches. It’s at the heart of everything I do, it’s the strand that connects all my work, everything has that hand-drawn quality.

"In a world where everything is online, I really enjoy collecting and being inspired by physical things." - Luke Edward Hall

CG: Do you always begin a project in the same way, or does your method depend on the medium?

LEH: It always starts with research. I’ll come here to my studio and flick through my magazines, books, and all the things I’ve collected – postcards, exhibition notes, trials, experiments, and sketches. Being here in my environment, surrounded by all my things, triggers new ideas.

CG: Do you ever feel ‘stuck’ with a concept or project? And if so, what do you do to shake it off?

LEH: Yes, definitely. Sometimes things just aren’t clicking. My husband [interior designer Duncan Campbell] and I have this phrase, “You need to fill up the lemon to get the juice out” – you can’t be an ideas machine working all the time. You need to make a conscious effort to go and see new things and top up your levels.

Luke Edward Hall wears the 9290 optical in Emerald Marble on Ink
Luke wears the 9290 Cutler and Gross glasses.

CG: How do you know when a project is done, do you find it easy to put down the literal or metaphorical paintbrush?

LEH: Sometimes, sometimes not. It’s an intuitive thing. I tend to want to add more colour, more objects, more details. I like layered interiors; often I’ll return to a project and add extra clutter!

CG: Cutler and Gross look to the world of music, film, and art for inspiration. Who or what inspires you?

LEH: I have a lot of different interests and inspirations, it’s central to my work. I love storytelling, which is why I’ve always had a fascination with mythology, folklore, the classical world, the customs and lore of our own country. I also love 1980s music, the work of David Hicks, ancient Egypt…many different, disparate things that I enjoy clashing together. I designed a hotel in Paris a few years ago where I paired French classical Toile de Jouy wallpaper and antiques with 1970s lamps and linoleum flooring. I like putting unusual objects and colour combinations together – it keeps things interesting, that tension that’s created.

Luke Edward Hall wears the GR06 Cutler and Gross glasses in Blue Crystal
Luke wears the GR06 optical in Blue Crystal.

CG: You have an incredible collection of art, furniture, and objects…

LEH: I’m an addict. In a world where everything is online, I really enjoy collecting and being inspired by physical things. I have a bit of painted scenery propped up behind the sink over there, theatre costumes on hangers around the place, and piles of vintage flyers. I get obsessed with something, research it, and end up with hoards of things. I love it, I can’t help myself.

CG: Judging by your bookshelves you’re a keen reader. Do you have any recommendations?

LEH: I love collecting old, rare books and magazines. I’m really into Nest magazine, which can be quite hard to track down. I love the braveness of their layouts.

"You can't be an ideas machine working all the time. You need to make a conscious effort to go and see new things." - Luke Edward Hall

CG: Your work is rooted in storytelling; do you prefer fact or fiction?

LEH: I think they can sit side-by-side. I lean towards things that feel genuine and authentic, but I also love theatricality. I’ve recently bought a small, run-down house in Cornwall that I’m going to restore. I want to use local materials to stay true to the roots of the building, but Duncan and I were only saying yesterday that perhaps we should build a massive fireplace covered in shells. I think it’s fun to weave the two together, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

CH: You’ve been a Cutler and Gross customer for a while now, can you tell us about your frames?

LEH: I bought my first pair about 10 years ago from the Knightsbridge store, and I now have about 3 or 4. I’ve always favoured chunky, brightly coloured acetate frames, which is why I love Cutler and Gross. The glasses have a great weight to them, and the colours are really, really good; the pair I’m wearing at the moment are in this beautiful malachite-like green, with blue arms.

Luke Edward Hall pictured outside his studio
Luke pictured in his Range Rover outside his studio.

And with that, we emerge from his studio back into the Oxfordshire idyll. The sun begins to break through the clouds as Luke climbs into his retro Range Rover, off to Switzerland tomorrow to add another project to his poetic, kaleidoscopic universe. A place we most certainly want to be.

Find out more about Luke Edward Hall’s ongoing projects and upcoming exhibitions here.


Shop Luke’s Frames