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2021 OWA Pleiades Honoree

Gai Gherardi

2021 Pleiades Award Recipient — Gai Gherardi

Gai Gherardi is the co-founder and co-designer of l.a.Eyeworks, which she and Barbara McReynolds began in 1979 as a single storefront in Los Angeles. Best friends since their high school days, Gherardi and McReynolds transformed their early training as opticians into a vision of l.a.Eyeworks as a vehicle to challenge the prevailing norms of eyewear with proposals for new, provocative revelations of the face. More than four decades and hundreds of frame designs later, l.a.Eyeworks encompasses two namesake retail stores in Los Angeles and a wholesale division that channels its influential designs to a global network of independent opticians and retailers.

In addition to groundbreaking eyewear designs, l.a.Eyeworks has made an indelible stamp on the look and language of what an eyewear company can be. From streamlined architectural spaces to the cases that protect the frames, Gherardi and McReynolds leave no creative detail untouched. An abiding love for artists led to an ongoing series of in-store exhibitions, event programming, and commissioned works. Since 1981, the brand's signature portrait ad campaign has featured an eclectic mix of more than 200 high-profile celebrities in an ever-evolving series of stunning black-and-white images, anchored by the legendary tagline, "A face is like a work of art. It deserves a great frame."

Having lectured internationally on l.a.Eyeworks' unique approach to design and brand development, Gherardi has also served frequently on arts/design juries and is a longstanding board member of Art Matters, an arts granting foundation. Besides her role on the executive committee of the Eyewear Designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (edCFDA), Gherardi is a member of the optical industry's first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force sponsored by The Vision Council.

Pleiades Award — Past Honorees

Click on the award winners' names from 2003 forward to see more information about the Pleiades Award recipient.

2024 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Rebecca Giefer

2023 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Karen Roberts

2022 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Erinn Morgan

2021 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Gai Gherardi

2020 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Millicent Knight, OD

2019 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Holly Rush

2018 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Ashley Mills

2017 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Kate Renwick-Espinosa

2016 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Sue Downes

2015 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Maureen Cavanagh

2014 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Sherrie Rogerson

2013 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Marge Axelrad
Press Release

2012 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Shirley Platzer-Stocks
Press Release

2011 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Christie Walker
Press Release

2010 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Danne Ventura
2010 Awards Cocktail Reception and Presentation

2009 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Rene Soltis

2008 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Stephanie K. De Long

2007 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Deborah Malakoff

2006 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Janet Callif

2005 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Mimi Friedfeld

2004 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Dana Weeks

2003 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Carene S. Kunkler — Sight Resource Corporation

2002 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Andrea Gluck — Eyewear Designs

2001 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Tom Styers — Southern Optical

2000 OWA Pleiades Honoree — Pat Patterson — Walman Optical

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