Angus Davies visits E.B. Meyrowitz, located in The Royal Arcade, London. It creates incredible bespoke eyewear.
It was a rainy day in March as I hurriedly tip-toed down the pavement, dodging the deepest puddles. The shoulders of my exposed suit bore the brunt of Zeus’s wrath.
I sought solace in The Royal Arcade, off Bond Street. A roofed retreat to escape the elements it provided respite from the rain. The tempo of my heart was able to slow down to an andante beat.
The Royal Arcade has a different character to neighbouring streets in Mayfair, a gentle demeanour to savour. It dates back to 1879.
Far from the madding crowd of Bond Street, I calmly ambled. Purveyors of fine chocolate, bespoke shoes, antique watches line the arcade. They provide a welcome distraction from the retailing giants which inhabit the majority of high-streets.
I then happened upon a curiously named shop called E.B. Meyrowitz. My intrigue aroused, I gazed into the window to see rows of spectacle frames, absent of the designer sobriquets depicted in glossy magazines.
There on a small sign were the two words which always cause my palate to salivate, “Bespoke Services”.
I stepped over the threshold
With the advance of years, my eyes have deteriorated and reading involves the use of retractable arms to facilitate focus. A pair of varifocal glasses often reside in a desk drawer as vanity prevents me assuming Librarian Chic.
I stepped over the threshold. An article beckoned or maybe a new pair of spectacles to frame my face.
Mr Emil Bruno Meyrowitz was born in 1852 in Greifenhagen, Prussia. He emigrated to South Africa but opened three opticians in Paris, New York and London.
He became well regarded for the design of his own line of optical and medical products. The name continues to this day and independent practices remain in the three aforementioned cities.
The company has enjoyed the patronage of a famous clientele including Eisenhower and Churchill.
The London practice was purchased 21 years ago by Sheel Davison-Lungley and run with the aid of her two sisters.
Sheel is an optician who always wanted to own E.B. Meyrowitz even when she was a student of ophthalmics. Her dream realised, she is very proud to have acquired the illustrious company and talks of the the brand with passionate pride.
An extensive choice
Customers have a vast array of ready to wear frames to select. They are made in England, Belgium, Germany, Italy and India.
There is an absence of the cold clinical metal frames I have often sported. The selection includes acetates in tantalising tinctures and horn rims from water buffalo.
Sheel is keen to stress all natural materials are ethically sourced, for example, the horn from water buffalo is cleaved after the animal has naturally passed away.
All frames sport the Meyrowitz nomenclature.
Sheel explained to me that she has a keen interest in lenses, fascinated by physics as a student and she experiences great satisfaction in helping people to see more clearly. She only uses the finest lenses, Essilor lenses of France. However, she went on to explain, “It makes no sense to me to have a frame that doesn’t fit”.
Speaking from personal experience I am only too aware that my own shaped face, congruent with the rest of my body, has an uneasy relationship with off the peg items.
I ask Sheel would I be able to find an off the peg frame for my face. She explains that the vast majority of clients could select an off the peg frame and it would fit them as well as bespoke.
Whilst Sheel guardedly acknowledges that she would probably have one or two ready to wear frames that would suit me, I had a face which would favour a bespoke pair.
She offered a small ruler to my nose and quickly appraised my face. Every detail was quickly recorded on a note pad.
“Firstly I would look at your orbits. Are they round or oval?”
“Your jawline is wider than your temple width, so we would select a frame that was as wide across your temples as the width of your jawline”.
“I would want to show your strong jawline and accentuate your cleft chin”.
“Men’s eyebrows are flatter than ladies, so we would want the glasses to sit across there”, pointing to an area near my furrowed brow.
“We would look at your forehead, the height and the depth of your face”.
I was quickly becoming seduced by the idea of bespoke.
The prices at Meyrowitz are not fiscally altitudinous. I was already framing the justification for bespoke to present to my wife. A soliloquy left my lips as I walked away along the pavement of nearby Albemarle Street.
I listened to Sheel talk about E.B. Meyrowitz with unbridled pride evident from her enthusiastic gestures and excited dialogue.
She humbly talked of the brand and discounted the contribution of her talent and that of her siblings. However, I would argue that her modesty is misplaced.
She is an artisan, understanding forms and the human physique like a great master of canvas and oils.
The perils of my profession are that you soon become intoxicated by the finest that life has to offer without necessary coinage to quell the cravings.
In recent weeks I have fallen for a Ferrari, a Savile Row suit from Huntsman, a Breguet Tourbillon and now a pair of bespoke hand made horn-rimmed spectacles made in an atellier in England.
Whilst I sadly lack the means to procure a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, I have decided a further trip to E. B. Meyrowitz is on the agenda. A dandy pair of bespoke acetate rims have my name on them and a new image beckons me towards the room with a view.