In a moment of desperation for relaxation, brainless activity and the remote possibility for unplanned enjoyment, Natasha and I headed out late Sunday morning for a walk across the Manhattan Bridge to that seldom explored island across the East River. After a obtaining some nourishment and a caffeine boost at Brown, we headed nowhere and everywhere with our ultimate destination being Stefan's place to catch up on the last two Tivo'ed LOST episodes. All along, and not shared with Natasha, I was on a vision quest for some new spring footwear. A beautiful pair of trainer shoes for $345 was tempting, but out of the question considering that I would be submitting our taxes on Monday. A small shop in Chinatown offering Paul Smith rip-offs just didn't seem right considering the $125 price tag for some less and considered craftsmanship. Even a trip to Bloomingdales SoHo basement for a pee and a quick look at their footwear offering found that it was all too easy to walk away from a Joey Bagofdonuts looking white Stan Smiths from Adidas and a pair of Asics Tiger white three-quarters that were so detailed and right that I felt the designers of the 1958 Ford Edsel finally had their second go.
Tired and lacking the caffeine buzz that had powered me earlier in the day, Natasha pushed me on to "one last stop", Opening Ceremony on 35 Howard Street. Having never been impressed with their overpriced selection of Top Shop contraband or the workingman's Red Wings for $225 and up, I was bowled over to find on a lower out of the way shelf these amazing F-Troupe canvas and suede saddle shoe-like trainers for $100. Beautifully designed and proportioned these babies take their cues from traditional saddle and boat shoes, but cut a shape and form that is nothing but modern and owned by F-Troupe. Understated details such as the waxed laces and large weave natural canvas pair will with the white suede and beautifully embossed rubber bottoms. Clean stitching and not a drop of sloppy gluing where the canvas meets the rubber tells me the people at F-Troupe care about the execution as much as the idea. No wonder I took home the last of these Spring 2008 trophies for shopping fortitude and patience.