Silmo Paris: A Truly Golden Anniversary


Energy, originality, dynamism. Those are some of the terms Canadian optical professionals used to describe the 50th anniversary edition of the Silmo Paris exhibition.

Last October’s event attracted more than 37,000 visitors, fully 10.5 per cent more than 2016, and almost 1,000 exhibitors from 42 countries, many of whom were exhibiting at Silmo for the first time.

Among the show’s highlights was the 50th anniversary gala evening, featuring the Silmo d’Or awards ceremony, which took place against the spectacular backdrop of the Grand Palais.


It all helped to create a mood of pride and excitement that represented a dramatic rebound from last year’s rather lackluster event, said Julia Rapp, partner in Toronto’s Rapp Optical.

“There was much more originality at this year’s show, thanks, in part, to the large number of smaller, independent companies who exhibited,” said Rapp. “New ideas are the lifeblood of our industry and it was great to see so many people visiting the booths. It’s a sign that the industry is really healthy.”

Namita Karir, an optician with Toronto’s Karir Eyewear, was also impressed with the exciting new ideas on display.


“Coming to Silmo is a great way to discover where fashion is going and get away from the ‘every day’. Seeing the work of designers and other creative minds also helps to re-fuel your passion for your own practice.”

Sue Randhawa, owner of The Optical Boutique in Vancouver, says she likes to attend Paris Fashion Week as well as Silmo, which she says is her favourite optical show.

“Eyewear has been strong on the runways and it’s a great opportunity to compare it with what I see at Silmo. This year’s show was fantastic for us business-wise. The vendors I regularly deal with had great releases for spring 2018 and I met new vendors with whom I’ll be doing business in the future.”


Beverly Suliteanu, creative director and VP of product development with WestGroupe in Montreal, enjoyed the celebratory mood that marked the 50th anniversary show.

“Silmo allows us to meet with our global distributors and sign new countries for our brands. We launch our fall/winter collections to our European distributors and meet with the key European trade magazines to update them on what’s new.”

WestGroupe was thrilled to be included in a special Silmo anniversary edition of 20/20 Europe magazine, as well as having some of its frames chosen for display in the Silmo POP’UP Gallery.


On the product side, Suliteanu noticed a definite move to metal this year, both thin and fine wire reminiscent of the ‘90s as well as monoblock stainless steel, titanium and aluminum.

Rapp also reported a swing to metal. “There was a huge range on display, from super-embellishment to great simplicity.”

Colour is now universally accepted,” she added. “As always in times of political upheaval, people are going a little conservative, with burnished, deeper tones that are shaded for a very rich look.”

Make sure to save the date for next year’s Silmo, scheduled for September 28 to October 1, 2018.

By JoAnne Sommers