Blog Detail

Ciao Italia! Experiencing the 6th Annual Italian Eyewear Exhibition


When the organizers of the Italian run Mostra Internazionale Di Ottica, Optometria, Oftamologia (aka MIDO) invited Holly to be a guest at the 6th edition of the Italian Eyewear Workshop this month, she linked arms with our favourite optometrist Dr. Poonam Teja, grabbed her oversized Linda Farrow sunnies, and hopped on a plane to Miami!

It wasn’t all about the warm locale - though a little Miami sunshine is especially when the weather turns colder here in Toronto - the real siren call was of to join the 35 exhibitors and 100 guests at the 6th Annual Eyewear Exhibition held by the Italian Trade Commission in collaboration with ANFAO - Associazione Nazionale Fabbricanti Articoli Ottic. Being selected as one of the delegates from the Americas to experience one of the most important eyewear shows on a global level was a true honour.

And, what we were most struck by in the sea of booths and exhibits were the distinctive flairs that are the hallmark of Italian eyewear producers. What makes them so different? Three key factors: Artistry & Architecture, Technical Boldness, and Applied Inspiration.

Artistry & Artisanship

Floating from booth to booth, it became evident how deeply the Italian artisans were involved in their craft. The discussions we had with both designers and reps focused on the artistic journey, the building of a frame from inspiration to concept, from prototype to finished product. Material selection and the unique ways in which they manipulate them to create a uniqueness to their frames, the representatives from these Italian lines were eager to discuss it all, it’s a rare joy to encounter such a depth of love and care at a tradeshow. We felt immediately at home with these passionate lovers of eyewear.



Technical Boldness

3D textures and hand-finishes created a level of depth and drama that are signatures of Italian frames. We learned that some of our favourite textures were created using pure diamonds as the artisan’s cutting tools, enabling them to create ultrafine details, grains, and magnified druzy-like finishes to their frames.

For others, architectural inspiration was key to creating strong shapes regardless of how bold or how fine the raw materials were.






Acetate frames are retextured with tools made of pure diamond

Image courtesy of @larad_eyewear



Geometric vision. Images courtesy of @originalvintagesunglasses

Holly wearing a fab pair of @originalvintagesunglasses

Applied Inspiration

Hyper-vibrant tones, layered colours, and sandwiched materials took acetate and metals to an entirely new level of surprising and exciting combinations. The saturation and clarity of these colours were as magical as the neon-brightness of underwater corals. We found Italian designers were very willing to ask themselves questions that led them to reimagine their inspirations in practical terms. Finding techniques to colour, cut, or combine materials that created entirely original executions in their frames elevated the what would generally be commonplace, a pair of frames, to the level of wearable art.

The thin cobalt blue line...

Image courtesy of @larad_eyewear

Vivid ultraviolet image courtesy of @larad_eyewear

With so many one-of-a-kind frames on offer, and with all of our special customers in mind, we weren’t sure how we’d get all the ones we loved all home!

For now, we’ll say that experiencing MIDO truly opened our eyes to the richness of experience, excitement, and passion that Italian designers bring to their craft. The only words left are: “Se occhio non mira, cuor non sospira,’ or “if the eye doesn’t see, the heart cannot sigh.”

We came, we saw, and we sighed.

Grazie MIDO, we loved visiting with you!

Back to blog