They’re Still Tevas, Even if Marc and Miuccia Made Them

Just because Prada made it doesn’t mean it’s not a Teva. Miuccia Prada, who regularly insists on bringing the ugly to the runway, did it again with a primary-colored and bejeweled pair to heel her spring collection. To offend further, Prada’s kindergarten colored Tevas were paired with the tube sock equivalent of a leg warmer.

Marc Jacobs had his coastal surfing army shuffling down the catwalk in Tevas, too, though Marc’s were fairly tame in comparison to Italy’s offering. This follows this past spring’s resurgence of the Birkenstock, championed by Céline, which showed up again on the New York runways, though designers like Tibi managed to create a more streamlined version.

What gives? There are better ways to do comfortable and functional that are still presentable. While bad taste is often preferable to no taste – kudos for trying, and everything – those looking to add sparkle needn’t do it literally with bejeweled sandals in a Crayola hue.

Take, for example, the Common Projects sneaker or the Vans slip on, since we are heading into fall; consistent, comfortable shoes with a timeless design that don’t have much to say in the way of bad taste. The opposite of loud, shoes like this will still garner the right kind of attention – namely for style and practicality.

Common Projects

Ah, that’s better.

Vans, Perez, More: 4 Fashiony Events to Hit During SXSW

Heading to South by Southwest and looking for cool shit to do? If you can’t be bothered with anything less than stylish, here’s a roundup of four parties, lounges and gigs that are sure to be action-packed and sprinkled with sartorial eye candy. 

· House of Vans at the Mohawk: On Wednesday, March 13th, famed footwear and lifestyle brand Vans is hosted a rager that will include performances by Ghostface Killah, The Specials, Iggy and the Stooges, Japandroids, Middle Class Rut, Sky Ferreira, Baths, WHY?, Young Fathers, Daedelus, Kenny Dennis, D33J and Anticon DJs. It’s a must stop. 912 Red River Street (at 10th Ave). Doors open at 6:30pm. See the complete lineup here.

· Bollare Joins The Neighborhood: As the official press partner for the inaugural launch of The Neighborhood at 2nd Street District at SXSW, cool-kid PR agency Bollare is hosting a Relax & Recharge Lounge. Enjoy drinks, get your hair did and peruse swag from LA-based brands like WILDFOX, Boostcase, BluePrint Cleanse and Bangstyle. It’s all going down March 11th through 14th from 12pm to 8pm daily.

· Roar Takes Over: From March 8th through 17th, Roar Clothing will be holding court at South By to host a cocktail hour at Lustre Pearl, 97 Rainey Street Austin, TX 78701.

·Perez Hilton’s Does Austin: On Saturday, March 16th, gossip king Perez Hilton will return to SXSW with the sixth installment of his musical showcase, Perez Hilton’s "One Night In Austin." Although the official line-up as yet to be released, past performers include stylish peeps like Katy Perry, Kimbra, Courtney Love, Lady Gaga and Kanye West. This year’s bash is taking place at the Austin Music Hall from 6pm to 2am.

Kick and Play: Retro Sneakers For Comfort & Style

Comfort is key. Whether you’re the over-booked weekend eater that has a Saturday schedule of breakfast, lunch, coffee, and dinner or you’re planning on going to Sunday brunch and staying put for half the day, having something on your feet without the worry of tired feet is important.

The easiest solution? Go old school.

THE KICKS:

Vans Rata (to the left)

When a sneaker is too casual for you, allow me to introduce you to a pair of atypical Vans. Known for slip-ons and low-cut lace-ups, the Vans Rata is a unique pair that you can pair with shorts and jeans but still get away with keeping them on at a warm-weather brunch with your non-denim rolled up and no socks.

These Vans have an extra-cushioned sole, and slowly form to the imprint of your foot as you wear the shoe in – a big plus if you plan to wear them regularly. And why not? They work with almost everything. Tired of wearing the same round-toed dress shoe to work and looking ordinary when you meet up for drinks later? This should solve that. If you’re that espresso junkie with your feet up at a coffee shop for hours, the thicker, softer lining on this kick will surely help.

Be mindful of the fact that the Rata comes in a variety of colors and fabrics. But for the best look and comfort, stay away from hemp and canvas, and stick to suede or nubuck (pictured above). They are built better for longer wears, last longer, and give off a much cleaner aesthetic. Good price, great fit, fantastic daily wear.

Available at most Van’s retailers, $60 to $75.

Some recommended finishes: Dachshund brown fleece, pig suede + nubuck

New Balance 1300 series (photo credit: Angel Gonzalez/Vagrant Sneaker)

Nike

I get it. For many people, the consensus is that New Balance shoes are for the 60+-year-olds that spend early weekend mornings doing cardio in the mall. Or the Steve Jobs wannabes.

But the 1300 series changes that. The narrow New Balance sneaker features a rare blend of premium leather, suede, and mesh that results in a good-looking sneaker in almost any color. With its loose laces and popped tongue, the sneakers work with nearly anything, tucked in jeans or cords. The retro vibe on the heel gives this shoe an all-around nostalgia and a perfect addition to all closets.

The best color available now? The grey and navy pictured above, but the good thing about NB is they are always releasing good color combinations on the regular.

Available at most retailers, or New Balance . Find them here. $129.99 to $159.99.

THE PLAY:

Burma Superstar, San Francisco, Ca.
At first glance, Burma Superstar appears a little suspect. A plain dining room with old-fashioned furniture usually is a no-go, right? However, give this low-key restaurant a chance and experience an incredible fusion of Asian food that make long waits and cramped space well worth it. Any foodie – high maintenance or simple – will speak highly of the tea-leaf salad. The renowned salad is a mixture of fermented tea leaves, fried garlic, diced shrimp, and sunflower seeds crafted meticulously to satisfy anybody’s palette with a refreshing, flavorful start to any meal. Other standouts: Samusa soup, coconut rice, sesame beef, and Burmese curries. Easy to get seated for two, but great for big parties if planned ahead.

Escuela Taqueria, West Hollywood, Ca
We all love our fancy dinners, but sometimes, dim lighting, good music, and ridiculous tacos are much needed. Enter Escuela, a small taco shop that defines itself both by its look and food. This taco shop takes décor to a new level with an extensive use of chairs and shoes. But the extra attention to detail doesn’t stop there – the tacos here are legendary. Sure, you get your standard chicken, shrimp and carne asada, but poblano chilies, lobster, and a variety of pork and beef options on the menu guarantee one damn good night of food. But it’s the refined and unique attention to your meal that makes this place so rad. All meals come with delightful pickled cactus and habanero coleslaw.  Something else worth mentioning: Cucumber mint agua fresco. Want to make it a party? Bring your own beer, tequila, or wine.

Café Mogador, New York, NY
One thing about restaurants in New York is their revere for authenticity – the look, the feel, and the food. Café Mogador does this with a vibe that screams Middle Eastern – from the bohemian interior, to the rural feel of both inside the restaurant and on the busy outdoor patio. Yes, the café is open for dinner, but bless your soul by having brunch here. Start with a decadent cup of Turkish coffee and indulge with spicy Moroccan eggs benedict, fantastic pastries, maple almond granola, or a pretty amazing frittata. All are big winners at Mogador. And in the event that you haven’t tried eggs with hummus, it’s most certainly always a good choice. Inspired with flavor and energy from North Africa, this is a must-visit brunch spot in New York. And hey, for what it’s worth, there always seems to be good-looking people here.

Walk fresh. Eat right. Be well.  

Art Basel Countdown: Gifting the Street Snob

We all know at least one guy who owns a fitted cap in every colorway imaginable, always has the coolest limited-release kicks, and knows more about underground streetwear than the average person knows about, well, anything. He goes to Art Basel every year, either to participate in an exhibit or support his range of artist friends. And now that the holidays are fast-approaching and this guy is on your gift list, what can you possibly give him that he A) doesn’t already have, or B) doesn’t think is totally played out? Here’s a roundup of items that just might impress.

1. Rebel 8Candlestick Varsity Jacket. Every street snob should have a good wool varsity jacket in their lineup. This version from the up-and-coming streetwear label is a great contender. $190.

2. New Era x AdaptThe Crispy Fitted. The embroidered 3D Adapt logo across the front and bright orange underbill are nice touches to this limited-release cap. $38.

3. Super by RetroSuperFutureLeather Flat Tops. Super is a cool Italian brand known for their handmade sunglasses in exclusive shapes and styles. These all-leather ones are a unique find and a definite crowd-pleaser. $310.

4. David SzebenyiBeard Bros iPhone 4 Case. The wooden casing and simple illustration is like taking a little piece of art with you wherever you go. $89.

5. VansCalifornia Era 45 in Tortoise Shell/Total Eclipse. A more adaptable version of the boat shoe, this style could be dressed up or down and the color combination goes with everything. $75.

Puma & Vans Open Shops Where Clothing Is an Afterthought

Not too long ago, fashion magazines were having a naked moment. Countless rags dedicated lengthy editorials to models in next to nothing, leaving readers wondering where, exactly, all the clothes had disappeared to. Well, it looks like clothing brands are now following suit, with brick and mortar spaces prioritizing socializing over selling. Levi’s has helped lead the way with its series of bi-coastal workshops focusing more on creative, community-based initiatives than clothing. Now it’s Puma and Vans’ turn.

Puma’s whopping 6,500-square-foot pop-up social club, housed in LA’s iconic Sunset Towers, is a draw for fans who hold sports and drinking in equal measure. Drinking as sport, say. Expect darts, foosball, table tennis, bowling, as well as Puma wares in the form of “the classic track jacket and reissued sneakers to exclusive, limited-edition graphic tees.” And, yes, booze will be flowing at night when the space turns into a bar (replete with snacks) for the 21 and over set.

Vans, on the other side of the country, is servicing skate junkies in Williamsburg with a 24,000 square-foot warehouse, called ‘House of Vans,’ dedicated to skate culture. The grand opening is slated for this Saturday, October 16th. Following that, “events for retail skate shops, magazines, artists and musicians” will be invite-only, says ESPN. While none of these brands is the first to throw funds at establishing brand culture over sales alone, the mass movement toward alternative methods of promotion and marketing remains strong. And, in an increasingly digital age, it’s nice to know that major labels still realize the importance and potential influence of tangible culture.

Vans Does Iron Maiden, Johnny Ramone

imageVans have come a long way since the days of Jeff Spicoli pulling bong hits and slapping his noggin with the classic checked slip-on. They’ve branched out to all sorts of designs, fabrics, and styles, and they’ve bridged the overlooked culture gap between skate rats and head-bangers. All this generates annual fall lines that get Vans aficionados frothing at the mouth. Now get ready for fall 2008 kicks, which include two-tone corduroy lace-ups in muted colors, as well as sweet-ass Iron Maiden high-top-style classic Sk8-Hi, featuring the group’s album cover artwork from its 1983 album Piece of Mind. My fave? The Johnny Ramone slip-ons.