Coming of Age for Modern Masters of Eyewear Barton Perreira
Interview JUSTIN ROSS
A decade in the making, Barton Perreira founders Patty Perreira and Bill Barton unveil the legendary BPX tenth anniversary collection and the essential qualities that make their eyewear so irresistible.
Bill Barton and Patty Perreira, two Oliver People’s veterans with decades of combined industry experience, have plenty to celebrate these days. Barton Perreira is turning ten this year, coming of age after having rapidly risen to the top of their game and developing a cult-like following from fans of their gorgeous eyewear along the way. Their loyal customer base is drawn to the brand’s optical and sunglasses for their modern form factors, luxurious materials, and unparalleled fit resulting in a series of designs that have became instant classics. Modern masters of their craft, after only ten years Barton Perreira has already achieved what few can ever claim to have: a reputation as both quality leaders and design innovators. And now they are expanding their global footprint and bringing their eyewear to a broader audience with four Barton Perreira retail stores, distributors in more than 60 countries, and a new technical luxury brand called Allied Metal Works.
All of her designs are carefully handcrafted in Japan, making use of the best materials and craftspeople anywhere in the world. Asked why she chooses Japan, Patty emphasizes that “Japan is the best! They understand the importance of not cutting corners. They have relentless devotion to craft and an almost obsessive-compulsive desire to make things perfect. They understand and respect my creative direction.”
The brand’s continued success comes down to the attention to details and fine craftsmanship that have defined the brand from the beginning, and is also what keeps their loyal customers coming back for more. Patty Perreira leads the charge, keeping Barton Perreira true to its independent spirit and on its mission to redefine luxury in eyewear. A rare female voice in a heavily male-dominated industry, Patty infuses the brand with a cultivated aesthetic that draws from her roots in Los Angeles, her Venice-based studio, and her love for great art and design.
“I am a self-taught designer and Bill and I have always been independent free-thinkers. We wanted this same free-spirited independence for our brand. It was important for me personally to remain creative and true to what inspires me.”
To accomplish this goal, Patty highlights three qualities that make Barton Perreira’s eyewear stand out: “couture craftsmanship, superior quality, and impeccable fit.”
Like a work of art, each of the designs in a Barton Perreira collection say something different, with their own character, voice, and timbre. The designs reflect the impeccably cultivated approach of chief designer Patty Perreira. A native Angelino (the name applied to residents of Los Angeles), Patty has an appreciation for the casual sophistication and effortlessly cool aesthetics that her Venice studio also embodies; a tranquil oasis and a creative sanctuary for her design process.
“I live and work in Venice Beach. Venice is forever evolving and it has a very strong core/DNA that I connect with. I think there is a California attitude in my design aesthetic.
Surrounded by classic pieces of art and design in her Venice studio that combines elements of a modern industrial loft with eclectic items like a disco ball hanging from the ceiling in the living room, Patty Perreira clearly embodies two elements that any successful designer must have – a passion for quality that never goes out of style, and a clearly defined point of view.
“I find inspiration in most everything, but it is really the visionaries in art, architecture and music who remain true to their art form and don’t assimilate that continue to challenge and inspire me. Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Ed Moses and Sage Vaughn. They are all masters of their craft and they inspire me.”
She counts Andy Warhol among her major sources of inspiration, even looking to a piece from her art collection featuring Barbara Feldon to develop color stories and shapes for the more retro-inspired pieces in the brand’s lineup.
Patty also has a special appreciation for mid-century design and minimal art. Artists and designers from this era selectively combined materials like wood and metal in innovative ways, resulting in the timeless classics that we are still in love with today, something which Patty wholeheartedly embraces.
“I love to combine colors and materials with unexpected details. Titanium is great to keep frames lightweight. I also love to add enamel and foil print textures to create unique color combinations and add dimension.” Patty strategically employs these techniques to subtly reference some of her other favorite sources of inspiration in vintage jewelry, cars, and motorcycles, while always being sure to keep true to her “refined, less-is-more aesthetic.”
Looking towards the future of Barton Perreira, Patty is more committed than ever to creating eyewear that leads by example. “Some exciting new technologies have become available which have allowed me to create new details and techniques,” but she resolves to “Staying committed and focused on designing eyewear that fits seamlessly into people’s lives… maintaining the spirit of the brand and not feeling pressure to achieve commercial success.” Ten years into the brand’s personal history, it is this dedication to the craft that elevates Barton Perreira’s eyewear and puts it in a category all of its own, creating timeless pieces of eyewear that are truly works of art.
Photo: courtesy of Barton Perreira, Emily Knecht