Los Angeles, Calif.
Owners: Gai Gherardi
"Since its founding in 1979, the store windows of l.a.Eyeworks have been an indelible aspect of the company's expressive vocabulary and an essential part of its dialogue with the public. The window concepts are a dynamic facet of the l.a.Eyeworks ecology, alternately emerging from and feeding into other aspects of brand and design development. A display idea might be the groundwork for a cleaning cloth motif, and the discussion of a frame name might inspire a window slogan. Since many of the concepts are word-based, they are easily portable and have been reproduced by l.a.Eyeworks accounts worldwide. Window development is an obsessive concern at the company, involving staff-wide discussions, and very often, the input of customers.
l.a.Eyeworks co-founder/co-designer Gai Gherardi adds, 'With the windows, we poke fun at things, we question perceptions, we make absurd gestures. . . We encourage people to think.' From outrageous props and elaborate installations to bold declarations in graphic vinyl lettering, the windows express l.a.Eyeworks' love of objects, word play, spiritual encouragements, and the delight of discovery. While store display has often focused on product or lifestyle imagery, l.a.Eyeworks' windows have rarely featured the award-winning eyeglasses designs of Barbara McReynolds and Gherardi. 'We often meet people who have never set foot in our stores, but know l.a.Eyeworks through our windows,' said Angela Gee, director of marketing. 'Optical fashion evolves and changes, but we see the window displays as an opportunity to take our brand into a deeper place of social memory.'
Whether pointing to social questions, political absurdities, gender issues, cultural obsessions, or to gargantuan pumpkins at the holidays, the self-named 'window wonders' of l.a.Eyeworks aim to amplify the collective understanding of 'vision' and 'seeing' as expansive concepts, full of optimistic possibility."