• About Séamus

    Originally from Northern Ireland, I came to England seventeen years ago. My first proper job was in an opticians and I have never left the industry since (apart from one month at a bespoke shirt makers). I have sixteen years experience of the eyewear industry and have a passion for handmade spectacles and sunglasses with an eye on innovation in design.

  • Postcard from Paris

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    Another September, another Silmo. The Paris optical show. If you have read anything I have written before on the subject you will know that it is my favourite show. Consistently it offers the most new brands, the most exciting products and the most beautiful setting for a show. Not the exhibition centre itself, which is at Parc des Expositions in Villepinte, just next to Charles de Gaulle Airport (like a larger version of the N.E.C.) but Paris!

    French people I know, including Parisians, are always amazed when I tell them that I find Paris one of the most polite and friendly cities in the world. I never return from Paris without a story of some act of kindness or funny interaction or just an interesting event that I have experienced.


    This year I investigated the Canal St. Martin a little more.  There are many good bars and restaurants to be found along the canal and in the side streets nearby. In one, I was treated to an impromptu cabaret show by a waiter dressed in an ill-fitting black and white hound’s-tooth sports jacket, an equally ill-fitting white waistcoat that needed a wash several wears ago, black slacks, a black straw fedora, topped off with black and white brogue taps. I said it was impromptu but evidently it was not impromptu for the singer.

    What I mean is this bar was not a setting in which I might have expected such entertainment. This is a bar that served drinks in plastic cups, not out of necessity but more I suspect because the aged bar owner serving couldn’t be bothered to wash up. If you saw this place, you would think it a small mercy he didn’t.  There are three brands of beer on offer and as I was choosing between them, I was told, “it doesn’t matter. They are all the same anyway.”


    As we drank, the waiter treated us to renditions of songs from the “Great American Songbook”. During the instrumental bits, we had a show of what he may have referred to as his “tap dancing” but let’s just say it is unlikely he is the illegitimate child of Roy Castle. His singing style, I thought at the time, was born out of his technique of having to learn the songs phonetically as he couldn’t speak English. However his English was perfectly fine when he was negotiating his tip from some Australian tourists at the next table.

    If you would like to subject yourself to this glittering event, head to Chez Adel

    10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010, Paris.  Don’t wear good clothes.


    When I did go to the optical fair, there was plenty to see. With 82 brands exhibiting for the first time, there was definitely a lot to get round. Luckily I had given myself three days to do it, a day longer than usual. Much the same as last year, almost everything that was new was wood. If things continue in this vein then pretty soon there will be more wood frame companies than plastic frame companies. For such a niche product, the market is now very crowded.

    Many of you have asked for more colour, I can say at this stage that you will get it in spades from two wonderful new Italian producers making very beautiful, fun frames. I also placed an order with a German company who make very old-fashioned frames. Something I think is due resurgence and hopefully something you will love. More on these as the new brands come in though which as always, will be a few months.  Don’t forget that we only sell hand-made spectacles and sunglasses so they take a little time to manufacture.


    Finally, if you were wondering, yes I did go to Le Relais de L’Entrecote and mighty fine it was too. I went earlier than usual and the service was even more clipped  (I didn’t know they had more to give) but great food and St. Germain is always a good place to go.


    More on the new products as they arrive, till then, keep an eye on our face book page www.facebook.com/mcclintockeyewear for any day-to-day updates.

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