By  on November 6, 2006

PARIS — Manufacturers at Silmo, the eyewear trade show here, glanced into the past to uncover vintage styles for summer collections.

Looks from the Fifties and Sixties came in the form of voluminous frames and horn-rimmed plastic glasses in solid colors, especially dark tones and black. Androgynous styles were also a key direction, as were variations of aviator shapes with silver metals replacing last year's gold tones.

The fair ended its four-day run at the Porte de Versailles exhibition halls on Oct. 30. Visitor traffic rose 7.5 percent to 46,645 from a year ago, with more than half of the buyers coming from outside France. Vendors were upbeat, citing a strong showing of Asian, American and Canadian buyers eager to add the latest designs to their assortments.

"Silmo is an important portion of our overall strategy of reaching out to clients worldwide and providing visibility to our portfolio of fashion and luxury brands," said Fabio d'Angelantonio, marketing director of Italian eyewear maker Luxottica Group, which recently signed on the Burberry eyewear license designed by Christopher Bailey and fronted by Kate Moss.

Opticians, meanwhile, said they would increase their budgets over last year.

Thèrese Langille, owner of San Francisco-based Through the Hayes eyewear store, said she would boost her budget by as much as 15 percent.

"Retro looks, but mixed with modern technology and innovative materials, were an important trend," she said.

"Eyewear is becoming androgynous," said Joan Benzaquen, buyer for Optic Marc Le Bihan, the trendy eyewear store on Rue Etienne Marcel in Paris. "Women are wearing what were once considered masculine frames. Glam rock looks from the Fifties and Sixties are a key direction."

At Luxottica, vintage looks were a driving force. Ray-Ban revisited its Wayfarer model from the Fifties, while Prada's Heritage, for $110 wholesale, boasts a Prada logo from yesteryear.

Cébé's Archive Collection, by Italy's Marcolin Group, showcased reedited eyewear from the Sixties and Seventies.

"Distinctive looks and rectangular shapes from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies are a key direction next summer," said Maurizio Marcolin, chief executive officer of Marcolin.

He noted that high-end fashion brands, especially Tom Ford Eyewear and Roberto Cavalli, were driving up sunglasses sales overall.

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