Monday, June 28, 2010


Editor’s Preview-Flatiron District, NYC

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Colorful graffiti graphics, eye catching hardware and performance details that are typical of hard core snowboard gear was on display recently in NYC last week.

We thought that most editorial attendees probably got the closet experience to being on a mountain trooping up and down the subway steps---

…but there was enough of the cool factor on display…that their readers will wear this outerwear, whether hitting the slopes or the streets.


Olympic winner skier Sarah Burke’s line with ROXY---with gold and gun metal gray thick link chains and studs on feminine colors---are outstanding. 

She swore to us she skied in this…and actually sees some boarding halfpipe action these jackets and pants perform.

We wipe out so much, we would be concerned about the hard metal giving us a bruise on a grueling face-plant.

But snazzy…absolutely...and the saturated tones of pink, gray, and a punchy purple is added incentive to perfect one's their attention grabbers.

PLUS---snow waists-removable powder skirts, built in gaiters, vents…the details that make this attire functionable wear.

For Surf, Skate, Snow brand Quicksilver---pro snowboarder, Travis Rice’s co-branded line up sports some of the coolest designs we’ve ever seen. …by featured artists Beni Pierson “bio-mechanically infused style that was heavily influenced by the original Star Wars storyboard artists…”

…Taylor Reeve, and Randy Noborikawa.

Get past the razzle dazzle though, and there are ALSO smart features on the jackets…like a 3 way adjustable hood, connecting loops from pant to jacket attachments (keeps the snow OUT), vented zips and mesh panels under arms to let the hot air out, handwarmer brush tricot lined pockets (more important than one would think), glove attachment loops, interior lycra cuffs for hands, removeable powder skirts, etc.

The pants also have snaps, hooks and Velcro closures at the adjustable waist, mesh lined zipper venting, bottom leg lift up system and internal cuff saver cinch system to hike up the bottoms for those strolls through the parking lot, an a boot lace hook….

ADDED PLUS: All jackets are Weather Proof Rated…and made of techy fabrics like waterproof Gore Tex®…

---and different styles come in relaxed, regular, o-shape and slim fits.

Look for these to start hitting retailers late summer, early Fall.



Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Gentlemen who frequent high-end resorts, attired in contemporary classic personal attire that demands elegant kickers…

---inspires the new collections for Magnanni, a luxury European brand of casual and formal shoes.

A family controlled business for three generations, Magnanni previewed select styles brought over from the small city of Almansa, Spain where the company owned factory/business is based.

Details---including tassels, ribbons...weaves and perforations...

--- and the rich patina of hand-burnished details were the standout characteristics that grabbed us, at once.

Of special note is the insistence on crafting the footwear in the Bologna Construction method, a complex, labor intensive endeavor----that wraps around one piece of leather around one’s feet --- for the ultimate, glove like fit.

Of course, sourcing materials that fulfill the demands of the aforementioned process is more costly…especially exotic leathers.

We particularly noticed this on samples made from a suede -like calf’s leather that’s been hand brushed a certain way for texture and more depth of colors.

TOP PICK: The semi – driver leathers for Spring 2011--- with perforated soles, weave details...the contrast in textures and subtle tones in a handsome slip on...terrific.

Casual, “fresher” looks with natural soles--- and square-toed peds with prepster canvas ribbons---  bold hand stitching gives this basic some edge. 

Neutral colors can work with anything---and Magnanni's innovative takes on shoes are a good value, we think--- in that they blend with what is already in any man's wardrobe from denim to more tailored clothing.

Classic looks include mixed colors on richly hued oxford lace-ups and loafers with solid hardware  or casual tassels.

Also available---custom fittings…for the ultimate in comfort and style---available during events staged at top stores like Bergdorf Goodman Men’s…(pictures, courtesy of Magnanni)---

Retailing for a reasonable $600-$700, we think this personal expression of footwear is a true value for the connoisseur--- given the amount of labor involved.

Fall 2010 Lug Boot...


AVAILABLE- Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Dillard's and online.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


REEBOK SPORTS CLUB, Rockefeller Center, NYC


PT dome Indoor

Like all passionate activists, soccer fanatics are very VERY particular about their attire and equipment.

And in this sport, the shoes matter BIG TIME.

Athletes’ abilities to play well ‘on any given Sunday’ is dependent on the feel of the shoe and the confidence that goes with knowledge of what added plus (+)- a ped covering can add ---

---factoring in skill levels…

… and as a team sport, on their abilities to work cohesively together and maybe like each other… (Les Bleus-the French team at the World Cup=NOT- Errrr - NON!).

Tech breakthroughs, always have their early adopters…but when it comes to sporting goods equipment, we’ve noticed that without the major star power, it tough for a small company to serve up a smash hit from a word of mouth support- a groundswell of hallelujahs--without a major star athlete’s seal of approval.

Unless the gear is …made super well, solves a problem…and/or measurably, and measurably, positively adds to the overall performance of athletes.

In the running world, there’s the barefoot mantra that’s handing off the baton to brands like Newton’s and the Vibram’s Five Fingers…the latter mainstreaming it to making a fashion statement  on the Hollywood Red Carpet.

Now for soccer fanatics and those TBD types (kids), there is CONCAVE.

PT mini (Front) PT dome (Back)


PT+(Left) and PT1(Right)

At a TrendCast media event recently, we saw a lot of ‘best-in-class’ brands, not yet household names--- from the outdoor industry world.

Yet it’s when we spied the CONCAVE display, we literally grabbed their sales’ guru by the collar…demanding an explanation as to why this shoe is starting to get the positive buzz---in the footwear trade-press, no less.

And why, we expect to start seeing these cutting edge kickers on pitches wherever we travel.

What’s being tossed out as the soccer equivalent to Calloway’s Golf’s Big Bertha driver and Prince’s breakthrough with the oversized tennis racquet…

Concave shoes connect with more power, accuracy and control “going into the ball’ because of the four times greater sweet spot via the revolutionary uppers’ design…a unique concave shape that ‘cups’ the ball.

Additionally, there’s the “MetroGuard” for added protection…(as in getting stepped on by another player---a major ouch and potentially really harmful)

And these two very functional benefits, are coined the “Concave Component” ----

--a breakthrough patented technology ----found in several boot models “to suit every level of performance,”

Our focus at the show---the limited edition, just introduced PT+ Classics, is “a boot that combines our latest technology with some of the world’s finest workmanship and materials.”

Sure, the boot is a looker---with the understated silhouette of traditional boot forms ---but we think it’s the ‘gee whiz’ elements and added safety and protections via the unique designs--- that’ll get the footballers to make the switch.

As in ---

…a sole plate featuring a seven stud screw-in configuration system or mould configuration system (depending if soft ground, firm ground or rounded mould)…all carefully positioned to avoid pressure on the key points of the forefoot.

…additional stability and comfort via a lightweight 2-part injected TPU=== with a minimal external heel counter…

…a Shank Balance Stabilizer (SBS) that helps prevents metatarsal bone damage ---giving just the right amount of flexibility, (not too much) flexibility to the mid-foot area…

…a removeable sock liner amped up with a supportive higher arch sidewall and “TPE Wave pads” for the ideal fit…and an anti-slip forefront pad with “high density rubber molded shock resistant heel pad.” 

Made with supple (“luxurious”) K-leather---we had a highly skilled amateur soccer playing, immensely knowledgeable, incredibly passionate about the game pal of ours---who plays several times a week for many leagues, travels for tournaments…and IMHO…would be a better commentator than current ESPN's on air trifecta ---demo a pair of Concave’s latest offering.

Yeah, we get that upper materials, color waves, weight of the shoe, and stud configurations (etc) are a personal preference decision of the highest magnitude…with a lot of variables that come into play, for the play…

But his hallelujahs began with the initial text message that he “totally approves” of his right out of the box experience with the PT+ Classics Round Moulded shoes he used on an outdoor turf surface.

A follow-up, thumbs up approval went on to mention that the “white as can be” kickers were… ”…a light boot with a good feel right out of the box.”

Adding that “the minimal laces at the top took some getting used to” and the toe box “… felt a tad big at first” (vs. his “ancient Adidas Copas”), he also acknowledged “that tight is not always better…” –certainly for foot injury reasons (BUT YES, feel free to insert your own one liner here, ha ha-we did).

Lucky us in terms of feedback, he was also playing “every roll needed”---and on this instance started as the sweeper (stopper)---a position requiring great game read and ball handling control and “as we started really poorly… I ended up seeing a lot of the ball from the get-go.”

After the first few touches, he stopped “worrying about the front panel/block attached to my foot” …and felt differences---with initial touches =”slightly softer”--- and later clearances to midfielders, “a bit stronger and more focused than usual.”

Switching to midfielder for the second half, requiring “quicker touches and more prolonged movement with the ball” scored an awesome:


Unable to have a tested shot from a distance…he strongly felt “that his target ratio will increase” given his “clearances” experience.

AND: “More to follow on what it does for shooting, but at first use I was very satisfied.”

FYI: The Concave Component has been “independently” tested…with results showing an increase in accuracy by 30% and power by 15% …

Concave’s PT+ Classics hits retail shelves and e-commerce sites just as the World Cup buzz is at it’s fevered pitch, and the better known competition, Adidas (F50 AdiZero $200), Puma (PowerCat 1.10 Tricks $210) and Nike (Mercurial Vapor SuperFly 11 Elite $400), ---take the field.

And though there may not be any major upsets---yet----in terms of sales figures---we get the feeling that like several national teams who surprised on the South African world stage …Concave will capture the public’s attention with its technical innovations that consistently impact a player’s game…and takes this category of athletic shoes to another (higher) level.

WHAT ELSE IT DOES ---keeps John O’Shea (Manchester United) and Danny Webber (Portsmouth) well shod… 

INFO: For the 411 on specific $(50-175) design & technology, products, color waves, retail locator etc CONCAVE SPORTS

Thursday, June 24, 2010



Words, Images of Backstage/Show Judith Ecochard

Entering the Plaza Hotel always makes us want to stand up a bit straighter. There is something about its elegance and stately structure, jean clad tourists not withstanding…that oozes posh.

Douglas Hannant seems made for resort…as his client base probably takes the long winter sojourns that require this attire. 

But also, resort or pre-spring fills retailers demands for new merchandise in these days of lean inventory and customers used to seeing fresh merch every six weeks.

We popped backstage just prior to the show to take in the terrific 1960’s hairdos by Edward Tricomi…classic locks with a twist--- straight, shiny and glam.

In fact, a Slim Aarons photo of the Richard Neutra designed, Edgar J. Kaufman House inspired the RTW looks.

And so, it was Palm Springs- as the inspiration this outing…and not the golfy Palm Springs but more day or night on the patio, by the pool, sipping cocktails Palm Springs. 

Wearable and refined, there were some casual well-tailored trousers and slim shorts, 

...and fun flirty ensembles that will appeal to a younger crowd.

                                                              white trench...always a classic

Our top looks were the great graffiti like prints, included hand painted splashes--- that showed up in the halter neck column gowns.