Just as San Diego’s International Comic-Con is the epicentre of the nerd-world, SILMO in Paris is the biggest event in the optical calendar. And we at Seen, with our pledge to provide you with the most superior and original eyewear from around the world, know that you have come to expect a certain level of quality and prestige from us; a level that would not be possible to maintain without our annual Seen pilgrimage to SILMO Paris. SILMO really is the Mecca of the eyewear world, hosting eyewear brands from all over the globe eager to showcase their new collections.
With us this time around we had Lisa and SILMO newbie, Michaela. It’s fair to say Michaela was somewhat excited, but I’ll let her tell you in her own words about the collections that she saw…
Lisa and Michaela trying out the latest from Theo
"I loved each collection we saw in their own way. I loved Lindberg for minimal cool, Anne et Valentin for that fun quirky vibe, Jean Philippe Joly for shapes and colour.
But for me Jacques Marie Mage was the one collection I was most excited to see, from the look of the stand at the show to the amazing sneak peek pieces on display, everything just felt so luxurious and I felt privileged to be able to see the new releases!"
The Best of the Best
Here are a few highlights for those of you that didn’t make the guest list:
Anne et Valentin - An inspired relaunch of the raw series but with a new twist!
Ørgreen's new models somehow look really familiar...
Ørgreen - Showcased some brand new designs that are currently sitting pretty on the hallowed shelves of Seen.
Mr Leight - Has the first new designs since their launch collection and these are even more wearable than their predecessors.
But the ultimate prize of The Standout of Standouts at SILMO Paris 2019 goes to... (drum roll please):
Jean Philippe Joly for their outstanding ladies’ cat-eye design. A frame that perfectly marries choice materials with exquisite detailing to produce a design that is beyond brilliance.
Feline fine in the Jean Philippe Joly cat eye frames
The Eyewear Trend of 2020?
Backstreet isn’t back (thankfully) but 90's fashion certainly is. This was all too evident at the 2019 SILMO. There were so many shallow look sunglasses on show, I was half expecting a leather-clad Keanu Reeves to appear and start Kung Fu chopping through the display cabinets.
The shallow lens look is back in a big way
Nearly every brand had its own reimagining of the classic. Though back in the 90's, the shallow lens look was much simpler than the recent revival. Today’s silhouettes are more geometric in design, with much more stylish finishes. So get your shellsuits and reebok pumps at the ready for this the eyewear stage of the 90's revival.
Our Favourite Collection This Year
One collection unveiling that got us particularly excited was from the luxurious Jacques Marie Mage. They presented an official collaboration with The Velvet Underground. In their own words, this is “a limited-edition homage to the fashion, mystique and counterculture cool of one of the most influential bands ever, Jacques Marie Mage presents the “White Light” an official collaboration with The Velvet Underground Estate, inspired by the actual glasses worn by founding band member, John Cale”
Beyond presenting the collection in an actual fridge, this unveiling couldn’t possibly have been any cooler.
The Latest Trend is Deeper Than Design
Ah yes, how could we forget? It turns out that the biggest trend at SILMO this year wasn’t in design but in resources. Sustainability is on the tip of everyone’s tongue with many brands using only recycled acetates and some brands pushing towards zero-waste production.
Niloca, making strides in design and production
Of all the brands we work with, Niloca is leading the sustainability charge with their collection ‘chopsticks’, made entirely from acetate offcuts. Pair that with the brand’s already radical design and they are really pushing against the boundaries of what is possible.
Why did you like them Michaela?
“Well, I’m more of a minimal eyewear fan. So I was surprised to have loved a collection that is all about that ‘statement’ pair of specs. They’re bright, bold & chunky and I would totally wear everything that we bought from that collection, which is surprising for me.”
Big Frames and Bigger Names
Being a SILMO veteran and meeting many, many big-named designers over the years, rubbing shoulders with the elite of the industry time and time again... takes away absolutely none of the raw, butterflies-in-your-stomach, child-like thrill and excitement we still feel when meeting these eyewear VIPs!
“Jean Philippe Joly (he let me call him JP) - what an amazing eyewear designer, lovely down to earth guy who clearly loves what he does, he was so enthusiastic about his new designs. And I loved that he had his Dad there as well. How cute!” - Michaela
JP and the Seen Team Gang
“Also briefly got introduced to Jerome (of Jacques Marie Mage) - didn’t get chatting too much but just a handshake from him was good enough for me! Really happy to have met him.” - Michaela
What We Brought Back With Us
During a moment over a well-earned lunch break, we chatted about what we’d seen and what the brands had presented. Although there’s a couple of collections on our radar, some brands that we’re excitedly watching for what they do next, they’ll only be brought home to Manchester when the time is right.
That being said, one brand we’ve been keeping in close contact with for around a year now will finally be making its way into the Seen family. Krewe, an American brand out of New Orleans. This has been a brand we’ve loved for a while and we are excited and delighted to be the first store to bring them to the UK.
We’ll give a lot more details on this soon but you can expect the melting pot of creole culture, Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street jazz clubs that the Louisiana city is famed for being the inspiration behind their eyewear collection.
But a new brand isn’t all we brought back with us.
Trying out the latest from a Seen favourite, You Mawo
We love going to SILMO, not just because of the excitement of the show and the novelty of a few days in Paris but because it’s a real chance to re-energise. Distracted by the day-to-day in our little home in Manchester, it’s easy to become complacent and lose that driving force, that raison d’être. But by being able to actually meet with and talk to like minded professionals that are also walking the path less travelled, it realigns our sights firmly on the future. A whirlwind few days, and for every moment that it was tiring, it was ten times as inspiring.
See you next year SILMO.