The 40th edition of Mido, the international eyewear trade show held at Milan's Rho-Pero exhibition pole between Mar. 5 and 7, drew about the same number of visitors as its year-ago edition, while registering a 5.5% rise in foreign attendees. Close to 42,000 people attended the show, which also hosted 1,100 exhibitors from 44 countries, though the sizes of several booths were notably smaller. For instance, big players such as Luxottica and Safilo occupied smaller areas than in previous editions.

The show also ran for three days instead of the usual four to address the needs of the trade. The first day of the show alone registered a surprising 27.5% increase in visitors, given that other trade shows in Shanghai, Moscow, Madrid and New York were running concurrently.

For the most part, the show brimmed with excitement, particularly inside the Mido Design Lab, a pavilion that hosted a special photo exhibition dedicated to the show’s 40th anniversary and to younger and design-driven international collections. This edition in fact saw 6% more brands in this segment. Among some of the collections showing here was IC Berlin, the German brand characterized by its streamlined design products; the US luxury brand Chrome Hearts offered elaborate styles featuring studs, precious stones and various metals; and Design Naturell was another German brand offering styles handmade with natural horn.

Numerous brands also chose to debut at Mido. De Rigo launched its Blumarine eyewear collection and Borsalino presented its first eyewear line made by Brands O.I., while Alessi debuted a test model of its AlessiEyes brand signed by the design guru Stefano Giovannoni. Charmant Group launched a Trussardi eyewear line, while LGR showed its new line for Antonio Marras. Marcolin launched John Galliano’s eyewear collection, while Allison debuted its first complete eyewear and sunglass line for Moschino.

Nike launched its first fashion-driven sunglass line called the Nike Vintage collection and produced by Marchon. Also debuting was INbraNATI, a bookish-looking sunglass collection created by the company that also produces Oplà apparel.

Special attention went to the use of unique materials. Bee Friendly Collection is a new high-quality eyewear line made with 100% recycled plastic sold through the Italian Nau! chain of stores. Illusione Ottica, an Italian eyewear manufacturer, presented glass styles made with lace and titanium and styles in tortoiseshell, while Roberto Cabras launched a line of glasses with bamboo temples as well as colorful Murano glass accents.

In other news, Maui Jim, the Hawaiian eyewear brand, announced it hired Richard Walker, a product expert who worked with prestigious eyewear brands seen in such Hollywood movies as "The Matrix" and "Charlie’s Angels." Cebé sport eyewear was bought by the Bushnell group, producer of Serengeti and Bollè eyewear; it plans to relaunch the line completely while maintaining the brand’s high-quality and performance elements. Adidas Eyewear celebrated its 10th anniversary with a mountain biking Evil Eye Pro functional lens and a Pro Ltd 10 series of gold, chrome and copper-like re-editions.

In general the sunglass trends for 2010 focused on bright colors such as red, strawberry and purple. Urban eyewear’s most preferred colors were tea tones, orange and dusty pink as well as neutral tones like gray, ebony, vanilla and magnolia white. White eyewear continues to emerge as a strong trend for the upcoming season, while black and nerd-like frames will be bestsellers. Blue in all shades is also invading eyewear. Meanwhile, frames are mainly oversized, butterfly-shaped and rounded, often accented by contrasting colors in the frame and the lens. Tortoiseshell is also becoming increasingly important amongst carved styles, with lace-like patterns and mask-like shapes.

—Maria Cristina Pavarini