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Throwback to Classics and the Comeback of Clogs

April 2010

By Rachel Kaye, New York

It’s springtime in New York, which is one of the most exciting times to be in the city. Everyone is outside, shedding his or her winter coat. People want nothing more than to put on color or a pair of sandals as a sort of trophy for surviving winter. With that said, people are out shopping.

New Yorkers love walking in the streets, therefore shoes are of utmost importance. And this spring, women are walking in clogs. From the affordable and orthopedic Sven clogs ($100) to high-end boot clogs made by Opening Ceremony, these walking-friendly shoes will carry you throughout the day.

Walking down Madison Avenue, I found myself in front of Chanel and was reminded that Mr. Lagerfeld had his models walking down the runway in, yep, clogs! This makes me think that people are looking for comfort in what they wear as well as more organic, simple forms.

One immediate shopping destination that comes to mind is Opening Ceremony in SoHo (see video blog), which to me is the most interesting place to shop (or in my case experience fashion heartache.) They have an amazing collection and the designers that they showcase are young and creating beautiful designs. With this assignment, I thought this store would be the perfect starting point for a long walk though the city to take in new trends this Spring.

As I continue to shop at Opening Ceremony, I notice many familiar brands collaborating with young designers. Opening Ceremony designed animal prints for a line of Keds sneakers.

They also worked with Levi’s to create a colorful corduroy collection of pants, jackets, shorts and shirts and Chloe Sevigny made a line with Bass Shoes.

On a side note, I’ve noticed men and women are sporting the classic Bass saddle shoe that has been around for decades (myself included.) I have a pair in black suede and they too can hold up to a long day of walking.

Leaving Opening Ceremony and hopping on the C train to downtown Brooklyn, I decide to explore the opposite side of the spectrum - Target. Target has become a prime shopping destination for me since they began pioneering affordable high fashion with collaborations with Rodarte, Tracy Feith, Proenza Schouler and currently in stores, Liberty. This London-based company has been around since 1875. Their timeless floral prints are romantic and feminine. I remember my mom taking the whole family to visit the store in London; she spent hours picking out fabrics for her next quilting project.

At Target, you can purchase Liberty dishes, bed linens, dresses and swimsuits. I couldn’t resist buying my niece a Liberty swimsuit, a steal at $14.99 - the perfect birthday gift for a water baby. Last year, A.P.C. collaborated with Liberty too. Although their madras smock dress cost about $300, which is a generous price leap from a $30 dress at Target.

It’s getting to be dinnertime. I make my way over to Fort Greene to meet my boyfriend at Roman’s. Not only does their menu change daily, but each day they offer unique cocktails. Because the day was so warm and cheery, they offered a refreshing bourbon ginger sour and a gin Negroni. Both cocktails' colors were warm like the sun and they were indeed refreshing. What is so interesting about this place is that it feels like stepping into someone’s home for dinner. The chefs are going to cook you a beautiful meal that you may never get to eat again. That may initially sound sad, but as more and more people join in the slow food movement, places like Roman’s execute just that. While dining I’m reminded of Michael Pollan’s, "The Omnivore's Dilemma". This book was really insightful and inspiring for me. It pushed me to change my diet and when not cooking at home, seek out places like Roman's, where the ingredients come from local farms. It is so important to realize that the change in seasons, not only change what you wear but what you are eating. This trend, I hope will never go out of style.

I think what so many of these places and trends have in common is a throwback to classic. From Bass Shoes to Liberty fabrics and seasonal cooking, I think people are beginning to want a look that is less harsh and complicated. At least in style, the last few years have been dominated by really tough looks. By that I mean a lot of black, leather, excessive hardware on handbags and shoes. Not only is it heavy to wear but it isn’t easy on the eyes. I know that I am speaking with the spring sunlight brightening my own mood, but there is a shift in an overall mood. Still, the fact that Chanel presented clogs and loafers, says that people are looking for something that can stick around for a few years or a decade. I think it is more than resurgence, it is a statement that what is old isn’t bad. It is a statement that what is old has a longevity and in the end, people enjoy a look or a meal that is simple, classic and good.

Fashion & Style
New York

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