l.a.Eyeworks has been creating original, invigorating eyeglasses since 1979. Completely designed by co-owners Gai Gherardi and Barbara McReynolds, l.a.Eyeworks iconoclastic glasses have changed the way people think about eyewear.
The designers have also redefined those perceptions with trademark humour and politically charged messages. l.a.Eyeworks frames are immediately recognizable for their modern strokes and bold color innovations, infiltrating the popular culture landscape in everything from art to movies. The frames, hand-designed and hand-made in Italy and Japan.
The l.a.Eyeworks partners met in high school in Huntington Beach, California. Immediately inseparable, they found they had innumerable traits in common, including a deep love of eyewear. After a decade of assorted jobs in the optical business (and lots of hi-jinks on the side) the two decided to open their own store, in a revolutionary gallery style, which opened on then-quiet Melrose Avenue in 1979. Realizing they couldnt find the types of glasses they wanted to sell, Gherardi and McReynolds began to design the l.a.Eyeworks collection. Their first frame, the Beat, was inspired by a classic chunky plastic frame, but in over twenty-two outrageous colors. The material was also drilled, mirrored, and made over. The intent was always to accentuate personality.
The Latest Collection
Bold ideas are the new global currency and the new 2010/11 collection from l.a.Eyeworks is rich with forward thinking.
The bright spark designers Gai Gerhardi and Barbara McRenyolds optical imaginations let fly in a groundbreaking and diverse collection of optical frames and sunglasses. l.a. Eyeworks musings range from technological innovation in craftsmanship to fresh ideas in shaping, which compliments the companys reputation for their unashamedly bold colour pallette.
l.a. Eyeworks leaps ahead with trailblazing innovation and craftsmanship for the new collection, with the Rebar frame featuring a skilled fusion of acetate frame front and titanium backing. Lenses are mounted in a soldered rim with nylon support much like a semi-rimless frame. Newly released frames at the Mido optical trade fair in Paris – Alto, Bing, Hanko and Clement have all been artfully milled from a colour spectrum of acetates such as Fire Ant Red, Sassy Purple, Mixed Marble Matte and Inner Blue.
The design imagination of l.a. Eyeworks has long been obsessed with graphic explorations of form. By freeing the frames from unnecessary detailing each frame speaks for itself and reveals the true integrity of these timeless designs. An l.a. Eyeworks frame will always invite instant curiosity and irresistible exploration!
The Ad Campaign
In 1981, with the store a single retail establishment, l.a.Eyeworks took out a full-page ad in the flaming hot Andy Warhols Interview Magazine. The oversized magazine was the first to celebrate celebrity and was the place to be seen. The campaign — tagged “A face is like a work of art. It deserves a great frame.” — instantly branded l.a. Eyeworks worldwide. The black and white ads, shot by Greg Gorman, have featured nearly 200 extraordinary faces wearing l.a.Eyeworks glasses, from Jodie Foster to RuPaul and John Waters. The Andy Warhol shot is the trademark image for the Warhol Museum (wearing l.a.Eyeworks L.A.X. frame). Even the State of Illinois copied the ads for a national campaign reading A State is Like a Work of Art. Celebrities lined up to be photographed for the campaign, which have run continuously since the inception in magazines internationally. The first color Great Face ad, featuring Italian performance artist Ennio Marchetto, debuted in fall 2006.
l.a.Eyeworks landmark Melrose Avenue shop opened in 1979 (as seen in Blade Runner), and is a destination point for eyeglass lovers worldwide. The South Coast Plaza store, in Costa Mesa, California, opened in 1988, and has drawn architectural tours. A third Los Angeles store, by acclaimed architect Neil Denari, opened June 2002 and features solely l.a.Eyeworks product. The American Institute of Architects recognised the store with the prestigious Outstanding Interior Award for 2005, and it is featured in landmark publications including the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary Architecture as well as the cover image of the hip review œCool Shops L.A. l.a.Eyeworks was nominated for a prestigious L.A. Fashion Award for October 2006.