When Robert met Stanley

Be inspired by eyewear that takes its reference from Kubrick’s very best films, and read about Black Eyewear’s personal connection to the man himself.

“Stanley Kubrick walked into my shop one day in the mid-’80s…”

“It took a while for me to recognise this outstanding American filmmaker,” recounts Robert Roope, Black Eyewear’s founder and designer. “In fact, because of his quiet, suspicious manner and heavy overcoat, I thought he might be in search of a hot meal at the Centre 33 Community Centre a couple of doors away.  I then saw the parked chauffeur-driven Mercedes through the window and realised it must be Stanley; his wife, Christiane, daughter, and in-laws had already been to see me. He asked if I could arrange a sight test and supply glasses, which I did. He wore John Lennon style round NHS gold frames which I repaired from time to time. They served him well.

My fondest memory of Stanley was watching his face as he sat in a chair looking up at my hands which I was using to illustrate how his eyes worked together and how prism lenses would improve his vision. There was a precious moment when I felt overwhelmed by being asked by this cinematic genius to explain how we could improve his vision.”

Roope continued to look after Kubrick’s eyes for the next few years.

We’re looking forward to seeing The Design Museum’s latest exhibition, which tells the story of Stanley Kubrick, the meticulous genius, exploring his filmmaking through 700 rare objects, films, interviews, letters and photographs. It considers Kubrick’s special relationship with England and particularly London, as his primary film location and source of inspiration.

We’ve put together a playful exploration of our favourite films, through what we know best, our eyewear design. Be inspired!

In no particular order… 

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

SUNRA in red, £197

Kubrick’s masterpiece. “With this film, Kubrick aimed at telling the story of the evolution of human consciousness: nothing else in cinema comes near it. A monumental, towering achievement.”  Andrew Pulver, Guardian.

Paired with: Black Eyewear’s SUNRA sunglasses, £197  A bold, futurist version of 60s psychedelic eyewear. The only pair we could imagine wearing in space. 

Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

BILL glasses in clear crystal, £167

Cinema for the times. No less relevant now than it was during the Cold War, when this daring black comedy is set. 

Paired with Black Eyewear BILL in clear crystal, our classic American panto design.

Barry Lyndon (1975)

MUGGSY glasses in clear crystal, £167

Beautifully lit and photographed, this slow-moving sumptuous period drama with its extraordinary soundtrack, is not to be missed. “As always, Kubrick pushed the boat out technically, using NASA lenses on those wondrous candlelit card-game scenes.” Andrew Pulver, The Guardian

Paired with: MUGGSY’s lithe lines take their inspiration from the earliest 18th-century eyeglasses, and the clear crystal acetate will reflect candlelight beautifully. 

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

ZOOT sunglasses in black, £197

Kubrick’s controversial social satire is a violent, artful vision of the world as well as a climactic, shocking one. In the film’s liner notes, Kubrick said, “It is a story of the dubious redemption of a teenage delinquent by condition-reflex therapy. It is, at the same time, a running lecture on free-will.”

Paired with Black Eyewear’s ZOOT sunglasses in black. 

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

MEZZ glasses in wood olive, £167

Arguably one of the best war films ever, Full Metal Jacket was shot in its entirety in England, due to Kubrick’s refusal to shoot elsewhere. However, where it lacks Coppola’s or Stone’s expansiveness of landscape, it doubles down on character, with the complex portraits of war and death taking center stage. 

Paired with Black Eyewear’s acetate take on metal frames, Mezz’s delicate unisex design echo Private James T. “Joker” Davis’ glasses in the film. A classic look.

The Shining (1980)

BIRDLAND in yellow, £167

Kubrick’s surprise genre film of the 80s produced this masterpiece of the era – and genre. Driven by Nicholson’s and Duvall’s know-no-bounds performances, Stephen King’s source material and Kubrick’s creeping terror in every scene. 

Paired with Black Eyewear’s BIRDLAND in yellow, inspired by Inuit eyewear of last century. The only eyewear answer to the snowbound horror-scape that surrounds The Overlook Hotel and the film’s final scenes. 

Lolita (1962)

NINA sunglasses in cherry, £177

Kubrick’s early horror-comedy takes Nabokov’s brilliant, complex novel about child exploitation and imprisonment (let’s not mince words here) and realises it for screen.

Cinema’s most iconic sunglasses, the heart-shaped frames Lolita wears on the film’s poster, are echoed in our light-hearted and optimistic NINA design.

Visit: Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition is on at the Design Museum until September 17