Beige gets the boot

Apr 08, 2012, 02:55 IST | Anjana Vaswani

Two years ago, almost all of Hollywood's top belles � Kelly Rowland, Rihanna and Beyonc � to name a few � were routinely spotted in glamorous, animal print footwear. This year, trendy men can step into their shoes. Singer Usher has taken the lead, making a recent appearance in YSL Mojave Leopard sneakers. These Mumbai guys are close at his heels. Here's how you can catch up

Back in the ’20s, at the height of the women’s liberation movement in the West, women’s fashion (the only kind of fashion there was back in the day really — men just wore clothes) veered sharply away from figure-hugging lines to looser fits.

Kuntal Verma, an avid cricketer who owns five pairs of brightly coloured shoes, at Bandra

Boyish figures, short haircuts, tubular dresses and trousers caught on as corsets and the sort of dresses that flattered Hollywood goddess Ingrid Bergman’s figure receded into the background.

But that was almost a hundred years ago. So, perhaps it’s about time someone took up the cause of men’s fashion. Prince Harry made a daring statement in 2002 when he stepped into full view of the paparazzi sporting bold pink nail polish and, just months ago, that formidable pirate, Johnny Depp, was seen flaunting a metallic peacock shade.

Now, thanks to the funky new footwear collections of high-end brands like Yves Saint Lauren, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen and Tod’s, to name a few, the truly fashion-liberated man can breathe new life into his boring shoe-rack too.

Zarir Warden, the 25 year-old lead singer of The Other People, with his fancy shoes at Nariman Point

Even if all you ever wear is a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans, slip into these funky new shoes and you can seriously pump up your style quotient.

American entertainer Usher’s YSL Mojave leopard print Chukka sneakers may be a bit too much for you if you usually stick to beige or black shoes, but you shouldn’t have much trouble following Farhan Akhtar’s footsteps. The actor-director recently teamed a bright yellow pair of shoes with casual khaki cargoes and a plain t-shirt.

Beige gets the boot

Guys love green
If, like 25-year-old Andheri resident, Kuntal Verma, you tend to shop spontaneously, look around when you take a walk down Linking Road and you’re bound to find bright, printed men’s shoes. Verma, senior relationship manager with the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), tells us he has made quite a few interesting additions to his collection from there and from South Mumbai too.

Mohammed Asif, a shoe stall owner at Grant Road, says the bright green and black high-top shoes (Rs 250) are hot sellers at his shop

Grant Road shoe-shop owner Mohammed Asif confirms, as do a lot of other young men. Asif, who owns two shoe shops, says college kids and twenty-somethings comprise the bulk of his clients for brightly coloured shoes. He shows us a green and black streaked high-top canvas pair that is a particular favourite with the guys, and says he sells two to four pairs daily.

An avid cricketer, Verma owns a pair of black and white, chequered shoes, and has bought five other pairs in bright colours. Ask him how other guys react to the sight of his footwear, and he laughs. “Brightly coloured shoes are popular with quite a few of my friends, but there some guys I know who aren’t comfortable with such colours too.”

Studs in your sneakers
Celebrity stylist Anaita Shroff Adajania says Indian men are getting comfortable with the idea of incorporating colour into their wardrobes through their shoes.

“Fashion forward men have been aware of the trend for a while now,” she says, remembering Hrithik Roshan’s shoes in the 2006 film Dhoom 2 and an advertisement in which Saif Ali Khan sported blue shoes some time ago. “Green, red and blue shoes have been seen for a while. Studded sneakers, too, are super cool at the moment.”

If it’s sneakers you seek, Christian Louboutin has introduced a striking Spring-Summer 2012 collection with studs and multicoloured metallic leather (Louboutin also offers a leopard print, studded with spikes, in the new Pik Boat collection).

They’re the kind of shoes 25 year-old lead singer of The Other People, Zarir Warden may like, we imagine, as Warden tells us about his (almost) exclusive preference for sneakers and a special proclivity for high-top shoes. He is dressed in a simple tshirt and a pair of jeans when we meet him, but his shoes are shiny silver with bright blue streaks.

Sober tees and blingy shoes
Adajania wouldn’t have had it any other way. “I totally recommend wearing bright shoes with neutral, cleaner colours. Team them with denims and a simple tee, or maybe with a casual khaki ensemble,” she advises. “Don’t try too hard.

The beauty of this trend is that it can brighten up your wardrobe in a jiffy,” she points out, adding that while brightly coloured pants are a huge trend too, she can’t see every man wearing those. “Bright shoes are easier on the eyes, and just safer, I think,” she says. In fact, she just bought her husband, film director Homi Adajania, a pair of blue shoes a couple of months ago. “I didn’t think he’d wear them, but he did.”

Louboutin’s 2012 collection boasts a gorgeous array of high-top sneakers in dazzling prints, but when we ask Warden if he’d wear these, he shakes his head firmly. “I never wear black shoes, unless it’s a formal occasion and I never wear funky prints,” he says, showing us another white and gold pair of sneakers from his collection, about two years old.

How do we know the Churchgate resident’s not chasing the trend? “I used to have a bright green pair of sneakers a long time ago and have even sported yellow and orange shoes in the past. Fellow-band-members also sport bright shoes from time to time,” he adds.

Ferrari on your feet
Sneakers must come in handy for Warden during his high-energy performances, but even if you’re a sports enthusiast and live in running shoes, the striking neon shades included in Nike’s 2012 collection of running shoes would tempt you to hop aboard this bandwagon. For approximately Rs 5,600, you can even customise the print and colours on a Nike Lunarfly+1.5 iD running shoe.

Italian brand Tod’s, on the other hand, has managed to fuse another familiar male passion — cars, more specifically, Ferrari — with one of their classic men’s shoe styles, the Gommino, to produce a brand new, exclusive line of moccasins (introduced in stores overseas in September last year).

First displayed in black and white chequered panels when Singapore hosted the Formula 1 race, the Ferrari Gommino is available in six bright shades including Ferrari’s famous red.

Pavers England, available at Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai Oberoi Mall, Goregaon (E), R City Mall, Ghatkopar (W) and at the Pavers England Store on Linking Road also offers a supremely comfortable collection of loafers in a bright red at Rs 5,499.

The ubiquitous Bata, too, has some interesting colour combinations in their men’s sneakers collection for summer 2012, so, you can count on it, this is going to be one bright summer. 

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