The eyes have it: that iconic LA Eyeworks campaign by Greg Gorman

We use glasses and sunglasses as accessories, the same way we use hats, gloves and shoes: to change looks. And remember, as Absolutely Fabulous’s Patsy Stone helpfully pointed out, you can never have enough hats, gloves and shoes.

Some notable sorts used specs as a way to give the impression of being pseudo-intellectual (hello David Bowie), but really at the end of the day, frames are just fashion.

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And nothing screams fashion more than the l.a. Eyeworks brand, which launched on 9 September 1979 when Barbara McReynolds and Gai Gherardi opened a single boutique storefront on the plush Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

The partners built a reputation by designing a line of high-fashion looks, outfitting the glamorous glitterati of Hollywood.

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Since 1981, the brand’s signature portrait ad campaign, photographed by Greg Gorman, has featured an eclectic mix of more than 200 high-profile celebrities and cultural provocateurs—faces like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dame Edna, Carly Simon, Quentin Crisp, John Waters, RuPaul and Iman— wearing Eyeworks glasses in an ever-evolving series of iconic black-and-white images, anchored by the prescient tagline

“A face is like a work of art. It deserves a great frame.”

Here’s a few of my favourite frame-wearing images from that campaign including Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Ian McKellenBryan Ferry, Debbie HarryDivine, Joey Arias, Iggy PopJohn LydonLa La La Human Steps’ Louise Lecavalier, and the huge lunged lady whose birthday it happens to be today, Miss Chaka Khan.

Steve Pafford

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Greg Gorman’s photographic memoir of the campaign is published by Grafiche Damiani in Italy, available at l.a. Eyeworks online and elsewhere. As Pierce Brosnan writes in his notes in the book, “Through his lens, Greg captures the beauty of the human face like no other. A photographic portrait artist who puts his heart and soul into his art, Greg lives his life with passion and grace.”

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