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Silmo 2013 – Part 3

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Silmo 2013 – Part 3

Our third and last full day in Paris.  We are up early, keen to maximise our time there and really get the most from the show possible.  We travel to the show using the RER rail system, we feel that we’ve become quite the experts in this (or at least for the small section of it that we travel), but this morning it is different.  It is a Saturday and instead of being surrounded by smart commuters and office workers we are accompanied by families heading in to the city to enjoy all that Paris has to offer.  Unfortunately, this is not for us, we’re headed to a big hall full of eye stuff … I think I know what we’d rather be doing … eye stuff!!

Espresso to start the day

We were at the exhibition so early that only the exhibitors were allowed to enter, ah well, time to grab a double espresso and prepare ourselves for the day’s appointments.  We were scheduled to meet with Bellinger, Claire Goldsmith and Salt – all wonderful collections which offer something unique and special to the world of eyeglasses.

Finally nine o’clock comes around and we head for our first appointment with Bellinger.  Bellinger has a completely different approach to manufacturing eyewear, the acetate materials they use are completely unique to themselves and they have developed different ways of working the material (almost like kneading dough) which creates lively, flowing and dynamic colour patterns throughout their ranges.  As well as viewing the latest collections it was wonderful to spend some time with Claus Bellinger as he talks us through the various manufacturing processes involved.  It all seems to be a wonderful mix of engineering, science, art and creativity; the thought process applied to each frame in every collection makes sure that Bellinger is anything but a cookie cutter product.

Bellinger demonstration box showing different states of acetate right from cotton!

We now have a little time before meeting with David, one of the designers with Salt, and this window of opportunity makes for an ideal time to go and organise our second find of the show.  Another great eyewear range, which we will again tease you with by not telling you who!  Let’s just say that this collection really Rocks!

Salt Optics was next on our agenda and we really do love Salt frames at Ocean Optometry, in fact, not only do we love them but our patients do too.  We have been blown away by the positive feedback about this range and it was great to go and sit with one of their designers and to be able to pass back so many good comments.  It was also great to find out more about David, similar to our own Dr John Wilson, his path into optics has not been the most straight forward.  In saying that, John was never a pro-surfer, like David, so perhaps there the comparison ends!

The new Salt pieces are quite simply beautiful.  We put together a great collection to bring back to Halifax really showcasing the best shapes and colours available.  Then it is an easy switch to our next appointment – Salt Optics had shared some of the Claire Goldsmith stand space!  So we moved one table over and lost ourselves in a world of classic, vintage and incredibly chic eyewear.

Claire is a great character and it was lovely to catch up with her again.

John, Claire Goldsmith, Euan

Given Claire’s family history in eyewear design it would be far too easy to talk about things in terms of vintage and retro, however, the collection really would be better as being described as stylish, elegant, modern and classic.  However you want to describe them, these frames are fab!

We are done!
We walk around the show for another few hours, but with the appointments taken care of and some new finds in the bag both of us are starting to flag and the last few days are starting to catch up with us.  We head away from the show.  On our way back to hotel we decide to break the journey at Gare Nord and poke our heads above ground to catch a glimpse of Paris.  It was busy, with plenty of hustle and bustle, but we manage to grab a café and watch the street scene for a while.  A great time to go over all of the sights and experiences of the show for the two of us and consider how we want to bring back our own little bit of Paris to share with Nova Scotia!
Corn roaster on a busy street
One last inspiring sight was a street seller selling corn using a brazier in a shopping cart to roast it.  I couldn’t help but think it would be lovely to have some fresh corn from the Valley to cook just in this style!
We knew that our time in Paris was drawing to a close, tomorrow morning we had an early transfer to the airport and then we would have to leave this European city behind.  It had been a great few days, very focused on the business of Ocean Optometry, selecting eyewear, being inspired, gaining knowledge and just generally immersing ourselves in all things eye geekery.  It left us wanting more and perhaps just regretting a little bit that we hadn’t managed to do any of the great sights of the city while we were there.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about our travels and sharing our visit to Silmo Paris.  For videos from the show, you can also visit:
One final comment … that night the dinner was French!
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