Converse 2011 Spring Lineup
I remember my dad buying me my first pair of converse when I was 15. I had finally crossed over to the other side where the grass was greener and I understood what was it to be “Really Cool.” So when I was invited to brunch at the Converse Spring Line-up, my face lighted up and memories of my high school years (good and bad… but mostly good) came back.
Entering the Globe restaurant where the brunch was held was like a kid entering a comic bookstore to play every video game possible while eating unlimited candies. Ok, enough with the comparisons but that was the warmth, coziness and urge of discovery that was floating in the air. The setting featured the classics as well as the new from Converse.
I contemplated every shoe while munching on grilled and smoked eggplant on flat bread, only to discover that while everything about converse was great, the most important was that it was accessible. The marriage between a brand and a designer or personality is a classic in fashion, and we see examples of it every day with H&M and Lagerfeld, Jeremy Scott and Adidas, or Madonna and D&G. But no one has done it better than Converse did with its first marriage to Chuck Taylor back in the 20s. And that’s what my four coups de coeur are based on.
The Converse Love Affairs:
John Varvatos has been collaborating with converse for the past seven years and has completely reinvented the classic shoe. He divided the collection into two parts: The grungy/mutinous man with the dark toned, deliberately dirtied, studded chuck, and the preppy/urban man with its earth colour sprint grips and slip. But he did not forget the converse die-hard fans with the classic high and low rise revamp of the star players. Varvatos did a staggering job of not going too far away from the brand, while really giving it the Varvatos touch. Little more pricey? Yes, but it expands the interest to a broader demographic of high end shoppers.
Marimekko, a Finnish company founded by Armi & Viljo Ratia back in 1951, is known for its original bright colour printed fabrics, but mostly for the dresses that were worn by Jackie O during the Kennedy election campaign. This time, Marimekko merges its emblematic graphics on our little friend the Chuck. With its fun geometric pattern, such as its black on white (or white on black) little triangles, we can see a bunch of high schoolers kick their original chucks for some colour this spring.
Converse’s second longest love affair is probably my favourite of them all (and I now own three pairs). Also known as the smiling man (blue line on the rubber in front meant to be a smile), the model gives us more colour varieties, textiles and styles (leather, plaid, jeans..), and even a lovely menage a trois called the Jack Purcell Helen Marimekko. Fun fact: After a long battle, Converse just got the rights to release and publish the pictures they took of icons rocking the Jack Purcell.
Yes, you heard right. Converse is collaborating with DC comics and featuring two major comic books: Batman and Superman. Also being a comic book fan, I prefer the Batman, not only because he is my favourite superhero of all time, but because the Batman prints are more discreet and subtle. I have to say the shoes with the Superman logo replacing the normal Chuck Taylor All-Star sign are pretty rad. Definitely fun for the comic book people out there.
Most collections come in both genders except the John Varvatos. Sorry ladies, but there is plenty to choose from with their new “Chuck it” collection made with toile and mesh, or with the classic chucks featuring new pastel colours and new satin and jersey textiles. The 103 year-old company managed to keep it classic and fresh like they always do. “Chuck Taylor is timeless. It doesn’t age at all and that’s the beauty of it,” said Jeff Gamtz, senior brand manager for Converse Canada said, and I agree. So, if you want to feel young again and remember what it felt like to be a kid, go with Converse this spring.