Swiss specs manufacturer ‘inundated’ with requests after Oprah royals interview

Swiss spectacles manufacturer Gotti said Thursday they had been inundated with demand for the oversized glasses worn by Oprah Winfrey for her TV interview with Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.

TV star Oprah's Swiss-made glasses are causing an internet frenzy.
Photo: Paul ELLIS / AFP

The small Zurich-based brand, which makes high-end frames, told AFP they were “a little surprised” by the surge in interest following the US talk show queen’s bombshell sit-down with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Watched by at least 50 million people in the United States, Britain and around the world, the interview saw the couple, who have quit for a new life in Meghan’s native California, make damaging allegations against Harry’s family, the inner workings of the British monarchy and the UK tabloid press.

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But the glasses worn by Winfrey also caught the eyes of viewers gripped by the dramatic interview.

Based in Wadenswil, a small tree-lined town on the shores of Lake Zurich, the brand was founded in 1993 by Sven Gotti. It produces frames in small quantities, with around 10,000 pairs manufactured per month, which are then sold by independent opticians.

Made in its workshops in Switzerland, they cost an average of 400 to 500 Swiss francs ($430-540, 360 to 450 euros), the brand’s spokesman told AFP.

But the “OR02” frames worn by Winfrey were designed by Gotti himself especially for the US television legend after meeting her via his favourite opticians in Washington. 


“I designed two different pairs for her,” Gotti told AFP. “But when she saw them, she loved them so much that she didn’t know which ones to choose — and took them both.”

Winfrey — who owns an impressive collection of glasses — likes them “for their lightness”, despite their size, said Gotti.

The 67-year-old media mogul has since ordered around 20 pairs.

“I was a little surprised by the reaction,” said Gotti. “She had already worn our frames for other interviews — with Barack Obama, with Lady Gaga, with Dolly Parton.

“But since this epic interview, interest is coming from everywhere,” he said.

The interview first aired in the US on Sunday and was screened in Britain on Monday.

The brand has since been overwhelmed by requests from opticians after customers have come into their shops — especially in the US and Britain — to find out where they can get their hands on Winfrey’s eyewear.

Gotti’s 30-strong team in Wadenswil will now have to work flat out to meet demand.

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Fashion house Carven parts ways with Swiss designer Ruffieux

The French fashion label Carven, which is being acquired by a Chinese group after falling on hard times, said Monday that its Swiss designer Serge Ruffieux is leaving after less than two years as artistic director.

Fashion house Carven parts ways with Swiss designer Ruffieux
Carven has not given a reason for Swiss designer Serge Ruffieux's departure. Photo: AFP

The storied brand, created in 1945, was once a pillar of postwar chic as Carmen de Tommaso, who later went by Marie-Louise Carven, injected a fresh and joyous style into young women's wardrobes.

It fell out of favour for several decades before enjoying a revival in the late 2000s, but it hasn't filed audited financial results for the past two years.

The company's last published results, from 2015, showed a net profit of just €67,000 euros on sales of €49 million ($56 million).

It was also the year when Marie-Louise Carven died aged 105.

Ruffieux, seen as a rising fashion star, was brought in from Dior in February 2017, having previously worked as the assistant to fashion stalwart Sonia Rykiel.

In a statement Carven “thanked him for all his creative contributions to the brand,” but did not give a cause for his departure.

Last month a Paris court approved the company's takeover by China's Icicle for €6.5 million, along with a pledge to invest a further eight million.

It also promised to keep on 72 employees, the bulk of the label's staff, with the notable exception of the creative director.