“This is literally the collaboration of my dreams,” Mandy Moore said, as mist filled the air and moody live music played during the Garrett Leight California Optical X Ulla Johnson collaboration launch on Wednesday night. Held at the Future Perfect’s Casa Perfect design gallery in Beverly Hills, the cocktail party attracted a slew of fashionistas eager to preview the Los Angeles-based eyewear brand and New York-based fashion designer’s new, limited-edition eyewear collection.
“I’m a longtime fan,” Moore said of Johnson, whom she first discovered while shopping at Barneys. “I would say Ulla Johnson shares the majority of my closet. I feel like a slightly more polished, elevated version of myself in her clothes. And then, coincidentally, Garrett Leight[’s] are literally the only sunglasses that I wear. I love them both individually, so when I heard about this collaboration, I was thrilled.”
Inside an impressive Rex Lotery-designed home once owned by Elvis Presley, guests enjoyed an up-close-and-personal look at the GLCO X Ulla Johnson collection, which consists of four styles, available as sunglasses or as an optical frame, in nude with berry gradient tint, tortoise with yellow-brown gradient tint, khaki tortoise with olive gradient tint, and black laminate crystal with purple gradient tint. The capsule collection retails for $365 per pair and is available at GLCO stores; the Ulla Johnson boutique in New York; as well as on the companies’ respective websites GarrettLeight.com and UllaJohnson.com.
In addition to Moore, the swanky soiree drew January Jones, Lake Bell, Minka Kelly, Jordana Brewster, Shiri Appleby and stylist Brad Goreski. The evening also included a live performance by Sonoma-based singer/songwriter Lia Ices.
“We were looking to partner with a brand that represented the woman who should be wearing Garrett Leight,” explained the eyewear designer, who was introduced to Johnson through a mutual friend in the fashion industry. “I wanted to extend our reach to more of a female community.”
Concurrently, Johnson was looking to incorporate eyewear into her spring 2018 collection. “We launched this in tandem with our spring runway show [during New York Fashion Week],” she explained. “With the collection, we were exploring this idea of transparency. We developed this technical outerwear that was waterproof, but also clear. I was thinking a lot about this idea of invisible protection and glasses seemed like a very natural part of the story.”
GLCO proved to be the perfect partner. “He obviously has this incredible heritage and knowledge,” said Johnson. “It’s in his blood.”
Leight, the son of Oliver Peoples founder Larry Leight, founded his namesake eyewear brand in 2010; the year after, he opened the doors of vintage eyewear boutique A. Kinney Court on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. “I’m Venice to the core,” said Leight, who was born and raised in California.
For her part, Johnson said she hopes to soon open a Los Angeles outpost. “We’re definitely planting seeds for opening a store here,” she said. “It’s an ongoing exploration.”
Minka Kelly was among those who turned out in a delicate spring look by Ulla Johnson. “I would get married in this dress,” she quipped, “and would also go to a party in it. It’s comfortable, elegant and effortless.” Kelly added, “I wear her all the time. I probably wore her yesterday. Her stuff is beautiful everyday wear. They’re the perfect dresses that feel vintage.”
While the overcast sky didn’t require eyewear, she picked out a pair of nude sunglasses with rose lenses to be worn at a later date. “I love how modern and unique Garrett Leight’s designs are mixed with the femininity of Ulla’s style,” she said. While the actress shared that she won’t be attending Coachella, she joked, “There are plenty of places to rock eyewear other than Coachella.”
Kelly kept close to good friend Mandy Moore, who coincidentally picked out the same pair of sunnies. “I’m usually a pretty simple lady and stick to more of a traditional tortoise shell or black,” Moore said, “but I really gravitated toward the clear. It felt more fun and festive for summer.”
Meanwhile, Jordana Brewster opted for a pair of the tortoise-shell glasses. “I actually need glasses for driving and for seeing far away, so I like specs that make a statement,” she said. “I have very strong brows, so I need them to be specific and cover my brows.” Brewster said she’d wear them to Coachella — if she were going. “However, I will not be — nor will I ever be,” she laughed. “Unless I take one of my kids to Coachella.”
“My glasses are probably the number one thing that people ask me about,” Brad Goreski said, adding that he’s twice worn GLCO to the Oscars. The television personality and stylist has 10 pairs of GLCO’s glasses in total, but shared, “I have, like, three drawers full of glasses.” He estimated that he owns “probably a hundred pairs, and they all have different prescriptions in them. I’m going to the eye doctor tomorrow actually and I’m like, ‘Please don’t change my prescription that much.’ It’s not cheap [to replace glasses].”