Vision Expo East Highlights Exclusive Programming at The River

More Images
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Vision Expo East has announced details on the exclusive programming set to take place at The River neighborhood debuting at the 2020 event in New York City. Opening on Thursday, March 26, one day earlier than the general exhibit hall, The River is one of three new neighborhoods being unveiled at Vision Expo East 2020 and is a key component of the larger reimagination of the signature event by The Vision Council and co-owner of the Show, Reed Exhibitions, according to an announcement from both show organizers.

Located on Level 4 of the Javits Center and designed by award-winning interior designer Rafael de Cárdenas, The River features daring, design-driven artisanal products. Offering an exclusive buyer-focused, boutique shopping experience, The River includes collections inspired by fashion, art, and culture that inform the future of eyewear.

In keeping with The River’s focus on independent luxury eyewear, Vision Expo has tapped Thélios as the title sponsor of The River lounge under the banner of "The River Lounge, Powered by Thélios.” Born from the will of the LVMH Group, Thélios is a world leader in luxury and innovation, creating unique frames that can faithfully combine Italian design and craftsmanship with the core values of each LVMH Maison, show organizers said.

As Vision Expo’s partners in The River experience, Thélios will present a museum gallery-style pop-up installation that speaks to their mission within the dedicated space of The River Pavilion Lounge and will also host a panel, “The Evolution of the Luxury Consumer,” discussing innovations in independent and luxury retail.

“Thélios’ unique position as the independent-leaning luxury eyewear leader dovetails perfectly with Vision Expo’s strategy to continue to drive the industry through experience innovation,” said Fran Pennella, event vice president at Reed Exhibitions. “The bespoke partnership will further elevate the profile of The River in its inaugural year and will help deliver the highest luxury experience with content that reinforces our commitment to the top-tier of the frame business.”

The River opens at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 26 with a VIP opening breakfast reception during which attendees can network with members of the vision community and explore the new neighborhood. OPTImum members will have even more exclusive access to the grand debut with entry granted half an hour earlier at 9 a.m.

Additionally, complimentary gourmet lunch will be served in The River Lounge daily from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. for The River exhibitors and their guests as well as OPTImum buyers.

Exhibitors in The River will include Thierry Lasry, Maybach, FACE A FACE/Kilsgaard, l.a. Eyeworks, Piero Massaro/Italiana Design, Pugnale, Linda Farrow, Rigards, Gold and Wood, Kio Yamato, Kuboraum, Garrett Leight California Optical, Eyevan, La LOOP, Matsuda, BAARS, Christian Roth, Robert Marc and DITA. A complete list of exhibitors in The River can be found here

A series of panels and special events will take place at The River throughout Vision Expo East. The line-up of events includes:

Thursday, March 26:

Conversations at The River: The Art of the Collab; 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Part of Conversations at The River, consisting of one-hour intimate conversations in The River Lounge, Art of the Collab brings together some of the most prolific collaborators in the eyewear industry for an illuminating panel, moderated by Tarrence Lackran, director of partnerships and programming at The Vision Council. Panelists include:

· Selima Salaun of Selima Optique

· Coco and Breezy Dotson of Coco and Breezy Eyewear

· Thierry Lasry, Designer

· Julia Gogosha of Gogosha Optique

Vision Expo 2020 Talent Search Reception; 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

The winners of the inaugural Vision Expo 2020 Talent Search—Morganne Leigh, founder of Tyche + Iset Eyewear, and Judge Khanna, creative director and co-founder of SpiltMilk—will be celebrated at a reception. The contest is supported by the eyewear designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (edCFDA) and is intended to identify and support emerging designers and foster their talent during the symbolic year for the eyewear industry, 2020. Attendees can RSVP at  

Friday, March 27:

Thélios presents “The Evolution of the Luxury Consumer;” 11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

This dynamic salon-style discussion on the stage at The River, moderated by Marge Axelrad, senior vice president and editorial director at Vision Monday/VMAIL, will explore innovations in independent and luxury retail and feature insights from a high-profile panel—including Thélios, other acclaimed LVMH maisons, and a leading-edge boutique buyer.

Optical Women's Association (OWA) Reception; 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

The annual OWA Star Award cocktail reception and networking event invites members and non-members alike to mix and mingle while enjoying cocktails.

Saturday, March 28:

Conversations at The River: The Next Generation of Retailers Speed Dating; 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

During this unique speed-dating style event, 10 experienced independent retailers will serve as mentors to 10 new or future independent retail owners. Mentees will have five minutes to speak one-on-one with each retailer before rotating to the next. Mentees will be selected through an application process.

The River will be open to attendees March 26 to 29, 2020. The main Exhibit Hall will be open from March 27 to 29, 2020. Education at Vision Expo will take place March 26 to 29, 2020.

For more information on programming at The River, visit

To register for Vision Expo East 2020, visit