A FAMILY STORY
The Bonnet family has been involved in eyeglass design for four generations. The story starts in the 1930s with the great-grandfather, Alfred Bonnet, who was a craftsman in a spectacle workshop in Morez, a city still known as the eyewear design capital of the world. As early as then, Alfred Bonnet had made gold and shell frames his specialty.
THE BIRTH OF MAISON BONNET
After Alfred came Robert Bonnet. Robert joined the prestigious Maison Achard, and later supervised all operations at Boidot. At the time, both these companies had an impeccable reputation in designing and making luxury eyewear. Robert, having gained a reputation in his own right through his unique skills, did justice to his entrepreneurial nature by creating Maison Bonnet in 1950. From its opening day, the Maison has specialized in exclusively handcrafted custom-made eyewear using precious, noble materials.
THE UNIQUE INHERITENCE OF A LOST ART
His turtle-shell frames quickly attract the eye of influential people, whether they are entertainers, intellectuals or politicians. The legend is underway and his son, Christian Bonnet, will do more than just maintain it. At age 14, Christian Bonnet studied optical sciences at the Pasteur Institute while practicing the family craft at the Bonnet workshop. He naturally took over from his father in 1980. Resisting market constraints and fickle trends, he managed to maintain the excellent reputation of the Maison at a time when a lot of its competitors disappeared. The Maison’s rich heritage was perfected through collaboration with masters like Jacques Rameau and Francois Mandon. They passed their secrets, their tools and their stocks on to Christian Bonnet.
Christian Bonnet, MASTER OF ART
In 2000, Christian Bonnet received the distinction of « Maitre d’Art » from the French Ministry of Culture. He joined the very exclusive circle of 74 craftsmen representing the prestigious French “savoir-faire” in different fields. It was natural for Maison Bonnet to join this community, with the unique work it performs on turtle shell. Even today, every turtle shell pair is made by Christian Bonnet in its now legendary workshop in the town of Sens, Burgundy.
LIVING HERITAGE COMPANY
Christian Bonnet’s son, Franck, followed his father’s prestigious footsteps, adding a burst of flamboyance to the family’s traditional craftsmanship. Joined by his brother Steven, an expert on acetate, they modernized Maison Bonnet to propel it into the 21st century. As a result of all these efforts, Maison Bonnet received the label “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” (‘Living National Heritage Company’) in 2007. Quickly following this achievement, Maison Bonnet opened its first Parisian showroom in the prestigious neighbourhood of the Palais Royal in 2009. The initiative is met with great success and the Maison joined the ranks of Paris-based luxury institutions.