Taraji P. Henson in “Hidden Figures.”

Ever since silent film star Harold Lloyd hung from the hands of a skyscraper clock in 1923’s "Safety Last," eyewear has been playing a supporting role at the movies. Who could forget Gregory Peck’s tortoiseshell glasses in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Audrey Hepburn’s iconic sunglasses in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or Daniel Radcliffe’s signature round framed glasses in the “Harry Potter” movies. Decidedly, their eyewear helped develop and define their character’s on screen persona, whether it be studious, glamorous or downright nerdy.

"Hidden Figures," one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture, takes us back to the vintage looks of the early 1960s. The leading character Katherine, played by Taraji P. Henson, wears her cat eye glasses proudly, at one point defending her place in the male-dominated arena of space exploration by declaring, “Yes they let women do some things at NASA and it’s not because we wear skirts, it’s because we wear glasses.”

While most people will be drawn to tomorrow’s Oscars Red Carpet and telecast to check out celebs’ choices of designer gowns and tuxes, we here at VM will be keeping an eye out for what’s on their faces—namely their eyewear. Which got a few of us wondering, who outfits these celebs with eyewear for their on screen and off screen looks? So we decided to reach out to a few designers and opticians to get their take on what it’s like to “dress” celebs in eyewear.

(L to R) Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Audrey Hepburn in
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Daniel Radcliffe in “Harry Potter.”


l.a.Eyeworks' co-founders
Gai Gherardi (l) and
Barbara McReynolds.

What better place to start than in Los Angeles with l.a.Eyeworks. Established in 1979, l.a.Eyeworks' uniquely crafted frames—designed by co-founders Barbara McReynolds and Gai Gherardi—“have changed the way people think about eyewear. Known to frame lovers worldwide, the outrageous, expressive lexicon of l.a.Eyeworks has infiltrated the pop culture landscape from fashion to publishing to art and film,” the company said.

Here’s how Gai Gherardi, co-founder/designer of l.a.Eyeworks answered our 5 Questions for Today’s Read.

1. Give us a few examples of celebrities you have fitted with eyewear, be it sunwear or ophthalmic.

In recent years, Elton John, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Vangsness, Neil Patrick Harris. As far as current appearances in television and film:

  • Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers (aka Supergirl) in “Supergirl” on the FX Network.
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf in the Netflix original series “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
  • Kirstin Vangsness as Penelope Garcia on CBS’ “Criminal Minds.”
  • RuPaul as the host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Since opening as a single storefront on Melrose Avenue in 1979, l.a.Eyeworks has counted among its clients quite a catalogue of amazing people, including Jodie Foster, Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan, Warren Beatty, Cher, Tina Turner, Miles Davis, Robin Williams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Demi Moore, Bono, Flea, Jackson Browne, Bryan Ferry, Luther Vandross, Laura Dern, Tom Waits, Elizabeth Taylor, and all of the Jacksons (except Michael!), among others.

2. Is this a regular part of your business and how do you cultivate something like this?

Among the most recent celebs fitted for eyewear
by l.a.Eyeworks are media personality Elvira (l)
and actress Rose McGowan. “Whereas Rose is
more of a classic rebel actor celebrity, Elvira is
more about our affinity for offbeat celebrities
that tap into alternate streams of fans,” the
company said.

We’re fortunate to have retail stores in Los Angeles, so we are often in the path of celebrities, their stylists, as well as costume/wardrobe designers for film, TV and theatre. With the entertainment industry based here, the connections happen in so many ways. For example, because director Ridley Scott was an early l.a.Eyeworks client, our retail store scored a much-treasured cameo in the film “Blade Runner.”

While megawatt stars are always a thrill to work with, we get equally—even more—excited when we style eyewear for luminaries from the worlds of contemporary art, architecture, food/cuisine, writing, fashion, performance, politics and design. These are the people who are heroic to us and from whom we draw the deepest inspiration.

In fact, we used our signature black and white portrait ad campaign to interrogate notions of fame, beauty and attraction. By presenting off-radar performers and personalities on the same platform as Debbie Harry and Pierce Brosnan, we really wanted to ask “Who could be a celebrity? What makes someone a star?”

We’re in the business of celebrating faces with great designs for eyewear, and our point has always been summed up in our tagline that “A face is like a work of art. It deserves a great frame.” The innate energy of feeling like a star can belong to anyone, and we never prioritize the needs of a celebrity over any other client at l.a.Eyeworks. No matter who you are, if you don’t leave our store beaming and feeling like a VIP, then we didn’t do our job.

3. What are the advantages to this? Do you promote this as part of your regular marketing to your customer base?

l.a.Eyeworks used their signature black and white portrait ad campaign to
interrogate notions of fame, beauty and attraction. Pictured here are
Pee Wee Herman (l) and Iman.

If a celebrity wears our frames in public, on-screen, etc., we’re happy to share that news with our followers. But many of our celebrity clients wear glasses in their off-screen, off-stage private lives, and we are also very careful to protect their privacy. The best relationships we have with celebrities are the truly authentic ones, where they are passionate about our designs and where we share a genuine friendship. There are several major stars today who we have fitted with glasses since they were children, long before they were famous. We exchange holiday cards, we know their pets, and we’ve been on journeys of struggle and success with many of them.

4. What are the challenges associated with fitting celebs?

Often, the greatest challenge is simply having enough access to the person so that we know the styling is correct and that the frames are fitted properly, etc.

5. What’s your most interesting or funny story associated with working with a celeb?

There are so many, but because we lost her recently, I was remembering one of the many times that Carrie Fisher came into our store on Melrose Avenue in the mid-1980s. Swearing me to confidence, she discreetly pulled a manuscript from her bag for me to see. Leaning across the counter she whispered, “Don’t tell anyone, but I think I’m going to call it ‘Postcards from the Edge.’”


Julia Gogosha, ABOC,
owner of Gogosha
Optique. Photo by
Megan McIsaac.

Our next California connection to celebs comes from Gogosha Optique, two high-end, service and design driven optical boutiques in Los Angeles, founded in 2008 in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, followed by West Third Street in 2011. Their current pop-up location has replaced the Silver Lake store until the new Echo Park space opens later this summer. “Our passion + purpose is to introduce a curated selection of independent, handmade eyewear brands with a focus on individualized fittings and consultations to the bespectacled people of Los Angeles,” the company said.

Here’s how owner Julia Gogosha, ABOC, answered our 5 Questions for Today’s Read.

1. Give us a few examples of celebrities you have fitted with eyewear, be it sunwear or ophthalmic.

I want to start with the word celebrity. For us, in its purist meaning, a celebrity is someone who is celebrated that the public may recognize or be familiar with. Here’s a short list of celebrities we have fitted:

Christina Hendricks
Kristen Stewart
John Mayer
Lady Gaga
Elton John (for super bowl commercial)
Quentin Tarantino
David Fincher
Fred Armisen
Jennifer Lopez
Randy Jackson
Janet Jackson

We have a roster of influencers and emerging talents from music, art, film, TV, architecture and countless other arts that are our celebrities. Maybe not everyone would recognize them, but they know their work. I pinch myself with every one of them.

Celebrity customers for Gogosha Optique include (l to r) Christina Hendricks in Thierry Lasry,
Fred Armisen in Theo, Quentin Tarantino in Salt and Elton John wearing Xavier Derome.

2. Is this a regular part of your business and how do you cultivate something like this?

Regular enough where it's not a surprise when it happens but certainly not yet a daily occurrence. Our entire client base is cultivated by the same method, organically. We're in an area of creatives. Creatives work collaboratively so when a make-up artist or art director or photographer is wearing glasses they work with the people in front of the camera.

They share their experience and the glasses must be their statement. From there the good word spreads. Every result is the byproduct of the work, passion and knowledge that goes into each interaction.

3. What are the advantages to this? Do you promote this as part of your regular marketing to your customer base?

The celebrity component has always been strange to me. Simplified, these are people who have access to anything they want in the world and they chose us for their eyewear. Be it for our service, selection, expertise or understanding or a bit of all of the above. We want it to be that way for everyone.

A "celebrity" is a bit more visible so it's natural that their reach is greater. We do accommodate them by making an at home try-on selection, or private appointments in and out of the shop before and after hours as well as during for one-on-one attention. But most are walk ins and they wait their turn if we're busy. We offer the same service to all our clients.

4. What are the challenges associated with fitting celebs?

The challenge is separating persona when expressing themselves in eyewear and what their manager, agent, director etc. wants versus what they want for themselves. Few feel they're in the position to cultivate their own look but the truth is everyone is in control of how they express themselves. It's a choice if they choose to listen to themselves or to others. We encourage a wardrobe to enhance the character they want to project, both personally and professionally.

5. What’s your most interesting or funny story associated with working with a celeb.

That's between us and them. ��


If you’re a film and trivia buff (like a lot of us VMers), remember the Oscars are a lot like the movies—they both serve up an escape from the worries and struggles of everyday life. And let’s face it, these days there’s a lot to worry about. But that’s another story. Here’s hoping you enjoy the Oscars.