The l.a.Eyeworks partners met in high school, sharing a love of eyewear. After a decade of jobs in the optical business (and lots of hi-jinks on the side), the two decided to open their own store. Their revolutionary gallery-style store opened in Los Angeles on quiet Melrose Avenue in 1979. Realizing they could not find the types of glasses they wanted to sell, Gherardi and McReynolds began to design the l.a.Eyeworks collection. Over 20 years and hundreds of designs later, the l.a.Eyeworks collection is immediately recognizable for modern, challenging frames that provoke personality.
The l.a.Eyeworks high-profile Great Face ad campaign has branded l.a.Eyeworks worldwide. The black and white ads, all shot by Greg Gorman, have featured nearly 200 extraordinary faces wearing l.a.Eyeworks glasses. Those photographed range from Andy Warhol to Jodie Foster, RuPaul, John Waters, Heidi Fleiss, and Lauren Bacall. John Lee Hooker made his campaign frames his trademark, and the State of Illinois copied the ads for a national campaign reading “A State is Like a Work of Art.”
The indefatigable creativity of l.a.Eyeworks has involved the designers in many related projects. The L.A. Opera’s contemporary version of “Rigoletto” uses all l.a.Eyeworks glasses in the production. The partners collaborated with Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, designing 3-D paper frames for international audiences to view the digital opera "Monsters of Grace." A major l.a.Eyeworks retrospective was displayed at Los Angeles' prestigious Westweek in spring 1998. Passionate about glasses as art objects, Gherardi and McReynolds also have collected vintage fantasy frames that tour museums internationally. The "Face It" show, l.a.Eyeworks frames embellished by artists and jewelers, has exhibited since 1988.