Leisure Society eyewear
Baum is surely the epitome of the work-hard-play-hard ethic. Vice president of the eyewear division at cult clothing label Mossimo by the age of 26, he set up on his own just a few years later. His California-based company, Baumvision, was soon designing, manufacturing and distributing eyewear for clients including Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Rebecca Minkoff and Paul Frank, and he was awarded membership of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Over a 10-year period he honed the trademark approach that so delighted his clients – playful and daring designs that also demonstrated a deep respect for tradition, craftsmanship and attention to detail. But Baum, an aesthete and visionary renowned for his meticulously planned and beautifully styled social gatherings, could not keep his own sensibilities under wraps for long. In 2011 he poured his creative ideas and dedication to cultural pursuits into his signature brand – Leisure Society.
With Leisure Society glasses and sunglasses made from gold-plated titanium, Japanese Zylonite and etched buffalo horn, decorated with semi-precious stones or intricate laser-etching and featuring the highest quality scratch-resistant multi-coated lenses, Leisure Society eyewear was, from the outset, aimed at the most discerning of customers. Baum’s goal was to engage with sophisticated urbanites who, like himself, took their free time seriously. He was inspired by the American tradition – popularised during the industrial revolution – of leaving the city far behind at weekends and heading out to the mountains or beach for two days of sophisticated enjoyment. Like the protagonist of a Fitzgerald novel, his ideal customer was a well-educated and worldly bon viveur with cultivated tastes and an appreciation of art, culture and the finer things in life. But he or she also had a free-spirited, bohemian side that delighted in creative freedom and a break from convention – time and space to explore a more carefree and adventurous side of life.
This combination of refined taste and a gutsy aesthetic is reflected across Leisure Society’s eyewear collections – all of which are limited edition. Classic shapes, handcrafted components and luxurious materials come together with playful retro details, cutting-edge technology and innovative design to create Leisure Society glasses and Leisure Society sunglasses that are at once timeless and ultra-modern. Hidden spring hinges – more usually found on high-end jewellery – utilise hyper-extension technology, where tension pulls or pushes the arm back into the ideal position, creating precision fitting for each frame. Leisure Society glasses lenses are treated with Diamond Case anti-scratch coatings for extra durability, while Leisure Society sunglasses feature polarised CR-39 lenses for 100% UVA/UVB protection, and a 12-layer anti-reflective coating.
Baum’s commitment to both work and play is still much in evidence. Leisure Society hosts dozens of events for its customers each year, from yacht hops in Palm Beach and cocktails at Sundance to educational talks at Art Basel, Miami, lunches in Aspen and dinner at Lake Como. But he and his team are continually dedicated to pursuing the highest quality materials and most innovative techniques for their brand. As Baum says of his Leisure Society eyewear team: “This is special forces. You have to be better, more focused and willing to work harder so we can pull this off.” And pull it off they certainly do.
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