How to personalise your sunglasses
In praise of bespoke sunglasses
“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; ebmeyrowitz.co.uk