Garrett Leight California Optical Harding Sunglasses in Matte Black

The Harding

By Garrett Leight

Arthur Miller was a no bullshit type of guy. He swung for the fences: penning some of the twentieth century’s most raw and classic plays like the Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. He refused to rat out his buddies during questioning in the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee when he was called to testify about his ties to Communism. He married Marilyn Monroe at the height of her career. And he did it all with the kind of dad-next-door, macho elegance of a classic fifties guy: the well tailored Mad Men suits, the polo sweaters, and an ever-present pair of bold, masculine shell frames. Basically, Miller looked like he could beat you at a game of Scrabble one minute, and punch you in the nose a minute later.

vintage photos of Arthur Miller wearing glasses vintage photos of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe

In the early days, we were onto this idea of creating frames that matched the sensibilities and style of American icons. The Hampton came out and that was a nod to James Dean. For Miller’s namesake frame, we wanted to go bolder, but still tailored, and we landed on this classic, All-American shape that has some of the same lines as other iconic frames like a Persol 649 or 714. It has a big bridge that fits a wider nose, decorative metal plaques at the temples, and comes in classic dude-friendly colors like black, tortoise, and champagne.

Fortuitously, the movie My Week with Marilyn came out just a few months after we released this frame in 2011, which kind of introduced Miller’s signature suited and trench coated style to a new generation. The movie highlighted his and Monroe’s fateful trip to London (where she was working on a play with Laurence Olivier) that would be the beginning of the end of their high profile marriage. Dougray Scott, who plays Miller in the movie, cemented that, even sixty years later, a good frame never fades—something we’ve known all along.

Every great legacy deserves a new chapter and for us, that means offering a pumped up version of the Harding as part of our new X collection. In homage to the rugged individualism of Mr. Miller, it features a thick 12mm acetate frame with mini side shields and, as always, that classic aviator-style look. Larger and bolder, it's got lots of style to spare.

Vintage photo of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe