SILMO, now by far the world's largest eyewear fair at this time of the year, is becoming more international. The number of visitors from outside France at the Oct. 23-25 session of the Paris show reached 9,884, or 7.9 percent more than a year ago, with double-digit increases from outside Western Europe. There were significant increases from the USA (+10.3%), Argentina (+65.4%), Poland (+80.6%) and Russia (+147.2%).

The number of German visitors had remained more or less stable over the past few years, but it grew this time by 22.4 percent to 846, probably due in part to the earlier decision by the Optica fair in Cologne to move its dates from November to the end of April, just before the MIDO fair in Milan. The number of visitors from Belgium dropped by 13.5 percent to 1,036, yet there was a 21.9 percent increase in visitors from Holland to 758. The UK was down 14.1 percent to 613, but Spain was up 11.1 percent to 439. Increases were recorded also from Greece, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

SILMO got visitors from 120 countries. Almost 7,000 of the foreigners came from other Western European countries. Italians represented the second-largest contingent after Belgium, with 889 persons, up 2.7 percent from one year ago.

The number of visitors from France declined to 16,180 from 17,572 a year ago, but while number of students visiting the show declined by 600, the major buyers were apparently all there. Numerous exhibitors indicated a certain recovery in the market, especially in the area of sunglasses. Asian visitors ordered more, for a change.

As usual, an international jury awarded prizes to numerous exhibitors in different categories. Morucci got the first prize, the SILMOd'Or, for its M 54 model. Axebo Lunettes' Les Casiflex model got the first prize for technological innovation, followed by Cottet with its Tendencies 5371 model. Silhouette got the first prize in sunwear for its Solaire TMA model, and the second prize in the sports sector for its Adidas Gazelle model. The number two in sunglasses was IDC's Spiralinox 006 model. The number one in sports eyewear was Demetz, with its M.V.S. model. Other prizes went to Alain Mikli for its Jil Sander collection, to Benetton Kids, to Eye'DC and to the following other firms:

Glasses Corning Glare Cutter TM

Contact lenses BBGR Contact Sunsoft Multiplex

Children United Optical Zerotondo

Bollé Pony

Accessories Rivolier Bushnell Voyager 4,5

Lindberg Lindberg Mirror

Tooling Essilor Essilor Kappa