Curry and Paxton made precision lenses and ophthalmic instruments during the Victorian age, and became one of the most respected names in their field.
The company grew in both reputation and size, and by the 1960s, Curry & Paxton had opened a nationwide chain of opticians, with one very famous customer: Sir Michael Caine.
Michael Caine in Zulu (1964)
Caine was an unusual star of his time. A working-class lad from a poor London family in Elephant and Castle, he became a star of the screen after his role in "Zulu" as an upper-class officer. However, publicly he retained his cockney accent (and his glasses), to become a far more human face of stardom. Unarguably, Caine's glasses became a part of his fame, a part of his iconography.
Harry Palmer in Curry & Paxton spectacles (1965)
In "The IPCRESS File", Caine portrayed Harry Palmer as a kind of anti-Bond, a working-class, down-to-earth spy who didn't travel the globe to exotic locations, wasn't equipped with fast cars and cutting-edge gadgetry, and whose character was more at home in his own kitchen than the fine dining rooms Bond frequented. More than that, his character wore glasses, which made him more of an everyman than Connery's slick super-spy. Not that this did him any harm with the ladies. In fact, in "The IPCRESS File", Harry Palmer is asked by Courtney, a beautiful woman with whom he works, if he always wears them. "Yes, except in bed," replies Palmer, to which she pointedly removes them.
Courtney occasionally preferred Palmer without his glasses
Many have speculated as to who made these glasses, but it was confirmed to be none other than Curry & Paxton when the very pair worn by Caine in the Harry Palmer films went up for auction at Christie's. These were revealed to be the Curry & Paxton YVAN frames, which incidentally IPCRESS File author Len Deighton also wore.
Deighton and Caine in Curry & Paxton YVAN frames
Caine wore these frames with optical lenses for all of his appearances in the Harry Palmer films, and then again as sunglasses in "The Italian Job". They have since become iconic in their own right, and are instantly recognised by the distinctive hexagonal arrangement of pinwork securing the hinges.
Ready for action in the Ipcress File sequel, Funeral in Berlin (1966)
Today Curry & Paxton have returned, offering a fully bespoke service, with custom high-grade cellulose optical frames from world-renowned Italian manufacturer Mazzucchelli. Also, the YVAN is back, and now you too can look as cool as Caine in "The Italian Job" with these iconic frames - perfect for your own European adventure.
Michael Caine wore the Yvan model as both optical frames and sunglasses