Esquire (UK)

How to personalis­e your sunglasses

In praise of bespoke sunglasses

- By Alex Bilmes Photograph by Grégoire Alexandre

“Bespoke” is a word that is misused, abused and traduced. Once it was reserved for the expert workmanshi­p of the tailors of Savile Row. Today, you can order your bespoke salad from a bespoke menu on your bespoke phone while pumping the pedals of your bespoke bicycle with your bespoke training shoes at a bespoke fitness class.

A bespoke suit can, of course, be a fine thing. But unless you are a very unusual shape indeed, you can more than make do with made-tomeasure, or have an off-the-peg adapted to your specificat­ions. Bespoke furniture? Maybe — if you’ve got a really awkward space to fill. Bespoke car upholstery? Bespoke bathroom towels? Bespoke dog bowl? Please.

Bespoke spectacles, though, I highly recommend. Every face is unique; there can be no onesize-fits-all when it comes to eyewear. And, if you can afford it, bespoke frames are life-enhancing items. I had my first pair made, a couple of years ago, by Sheel Davison-Lungley, proprietor of EB Meyrowitz, in Mayfair. I went back this spring to be fitted for a pair of sunglasses, because once you’ve worn bespoke EB Meyrowitz specs, ready-made alternativ­es are inconceiva­ble.

Emil Bruno Meyrowitz founded his first shop in London in 1875, subsequent­ly opening in Paris and New York. Customers included Sir Winston Churchill, Grace Kelly and the Duchess of Windsor. Charles Lindbergh wore a pair while crossing the Atlantic. Davison-Lungley bought the London shop in 1993. She designs the glasses and runs the business with her two sisters and her son.

The process is pleasurabl­e: a customer is led up a tight spiral staircase to Davison-Lungley’s office, seated in an armchair with a cup of tea, and sized up by sight alone. Davison-Lungley writes down measuremen­ts for the frame-maker to work from, and continues to stare closely at her client, working out the correct proportion­s of the frame she will commission.

For my first specs, I chose a classic frame, in matte black acetate with a wide bridge, for my indelicate schnozz, the width adjusted to suit my longish face, the depth changed and the browline altered. Subtly stylish, or so I like to think, but not at all boring. My sunglasses are a bit heavier, more imposing, in brownishor­angish acetate with green lenses.

Bespoke specs are not cheap. Acetate frames start at £1,000, buffalo horn at £2,000 and tortoisesh­ell at £9,000. But it’s easy to see — eyewear joke — why people wait up to 12 weeks for theirs to be made. “They make people’s faces more exciting,” Davison-Lungley says. “More interestin­g.” And who wouldn’t want that?

EB Meyrowitz, 6 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London W1; ebmeyrowit­

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