Windows of the Soul
Imagine a famously bespectacled celebrity and there’s a good chance they’re wearing glasses by Maison Bonnet. From its atelier in the city of Sens, this fourth generation company has been supplying custom-made eyeglasses to the likes of Le Corbusier, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Jacques Chirac, Yves Saint Laurent and I.M.PEI. As a list of references, it doesn’t really get much better than that. Though little has changed for Maison Bonnet since its establishment in the 1930s, the recent opening of a luxury boutique in Paris opposite the Palais Royal has put the brand somewhat more in the limelight. Still when we arrived on a sunny weekday morning, most of the foot traffic seemed unaware of the incredible institution that lurked in the Passage des Deux Pavillons, off the Rue des Petits-champs. But ring the bell and you’ll be ushered inside Maison Bonnet’s unique world. Naturally, you’ll find no over-the-counter frames or same-day delivery reading glasses here. But you might, if you’re lucky run into another like-minded sophisticate. We happened to bump into a young lawyer, patiently waiting for her appointment. “My husband got some glasses from Maison Bonnet and I thought I’d like a pair too,” she shared after a little prodding. The glasses she’s referring to are no ordinary spectacles. They are the result of a three-month operation, involving 20 hours of hand labour, and a process that includes 10 stages, 12 fittings, interviews, personality assessments and face measurements. With only six employees – including Christian Bonnet and his two sons Steven and
Maison Bonnet is a fourth-generation French lunetier that creates handcrafted spectacles for sophisticates. They may take time but they’re well worth the wait.