Whether it’s a completely new footwear brand or a fresh collection of shoe styles that have just stepped into these beautiful islands, The Manila Times Lifestyle section has got everything covered. To the shoe-a-holics, this special spread is for you.

A unique Parisian pair


Ammiel de Leon, Terry S.A. director for brand development, is excited to challenge the Filipino’s perception of sneakers

Thirty years ago, there were two brothers who shared the same passion for advocating the Parisian love of life. Serge and Yves Bensimon created a symbolic icon of a classic sneaker design which embodies what the true Parisian love of life is—simple, effortless, and natural. This philosophy is what the brothers wanted to communicate through their footwear, which is shown in their perfectly imperfect look and feel.

“A certain idea of lifestyle where color, elegance and the job of living are intertwined always,” is the central vision of Serge Bensimon. This is clearly translatesd into the brand’s most sought after classic shoe collection, La tennis Bensimon. These sneakers which embody the brand’s target to create “perfect imperfections” falls in line with combining comfort and simplicity with luxury and Parisian elegance.

According to Ammiel de Leon, Bensimon Philippines’ brand director, Bensimon effortlessly mixes the universe of the wearer with Parisian chic. It is considered every day’s friend with a rich heritage of quality and style.

“We aim to challenge the perception of Filipinos about sneakers in the country from a footwear category that is identified with grunge and roughness to one that is sophisticated and stylish. The Bensimon lifestyle highlights the perfect imperfections of Paris,” he shares.

The vast array of colors and styles further make it easy for Bensimon to promote the individuality of their consumers, always taking into consideration their passion for the arts. This is also why the brand is an advocate for sponsoring art galleries so that the interest for culture is kept alive.

Responsible for bringing Bensimon to Manila is Terry S. A. (TSA), a renowned company who also manages distributions of Havaianas, David and Goliath, Dupe, and Pininho in Manila. TSA flies the lifestyle brand over to the Philippines, making the Parisian “innate sense of aesthetics and taste of the basics” within arms’ reach for Filipinos of all generations.

As Anne Gonzalez, TSA president puts it, their company “is constantly on the lookout for brands that have a unique point of view, are optimistic, fun and work well with the Filipino lifestyle. With its solid French heritage, chic and casual ease, along with its expansive product offering, Bensimon fits just right into the portfolio of brands that Terry S.A. is building.”

Bensimon sneakers are available at Center of Gravity, Shoe Salon, and Shoe Thing.

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Sneakers get loud


This Fall, Converse is all about reinvention

There’s nothing like a fresh pair of sneakers, but there’s nothing better than a pair of well-worn ones that have been everywhere and back with you. Coming out of the gate running with some new styles of sneakers to “get loud” with, Converse is showcasing its new Fall 2013 collection.

The new collection introduces a new shift, attempting at making everything look “premium” and attention-grabbing. While Converse celebrates simplicity in its basic design, the new collections uses that simplicity as a foundation—an empty canvass that one can infuse ones identity into via stunning and bold details.

Converse’s most popular and iconic design, the Chuck Taylor All Star line has evolved from being a functional basketball shoe into the fundamental definition of sneaker culture—artistic and rebellious—the kind of attitude that turns the amp up to 10. Converse is cranking that up to 11 with studs, spikes and zippers adorned on that classic silhouette.

This louder design direction will definitely compliment the Chuck Taylor All-Star ladies line. Headlining the Ladies’ designs are the rocked out versions of the popular Platforms and Hi-Nesses.

Converse also mixes it up with the materials and the textures, from the sheeny-shiny, to the sparkly, to the rugged, taking inspiration from 2012’s Converse X John Varvatos Collaboration.

The partnership between this avant-garde designer and Converse is still solid. Varvatos continues to play around with some of Converse’s classic styles. One of the most touted is the John Varvatos “remake” of the 1986 Converse Weapon, what used to be the most popular basketball sneakers in the world—worn by legends such as Kevin McHale, Isaiah Thomas, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Much like the 2012 version, it is made of leather. What’s new is the focus on more solid rugged colors, for that well-worn look, and an all-new designer sole.

The Jack Purcell line reached a new level of popularity in the South East Asian region, specifically Hong Kong and Singapore, so there is a renewed focus into improving its design. Named after the eponymous badminton legend, they look strikingly similar to their cousins Chuck Taylor All Stars, but are distinguished by their preppier look and trademark “smile” on the toe. While the new Purcells do fit the preppy, Ivy League look, this fall, its stepping out of its comfort zone and will get a bit dirtier with new printed designs on the canvass. The most popular of these are the new lead gray and phantom camo design.

The new designs will be released periodically until October. Log on to for more information.

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LeBunny from New York

LeBunny Bleu from New York also opened this month at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City and at Glorietta 5 in Makati City.

Originating from the Big Apple, the brand channels retro influences, showcasing New York City hipster cool and the effortless character of European style. An interesting twist to the brand is that all their styles are flat. The signature shoes run from classic to avant-garde and include oxfords, slip-ons, loafers, espadrilles, ballet flats, sandals and fashion sneakers.


Ballet tweed

LeBunny Bleu celebrates the casual elegance of famous vintage icons of the fifties to the seventies era, such as Bridgette Bardot, Jean Seberg and Audrey Hepburn, who wore this look so well. Romantic vintage dressing is currently experiencing a renaissance in today’s urban fashion scene.

This cult brand is popular on sites like Chictopia and Polyvore. It has been spotted on K-pop groups including Girls’ Generation, After School, and 4minute, and featured in magazines such as InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vogue Girl and Allure.

LeBunny Bleu signature styles combine masculine and feminine elements for unique and playful designs, seen in brogues sweetened up with ribbon laces, pastel-hued ballet flats, boat shoes in colorful designs, or espadrilles in slimmer shapes.

The Shangri-la Plaza flagship store currently carries the spring/summer 2013 collection, offering over 100 styles per season. LeBunny Bleu will carry water-resistant rain and wool boots in the fall collection coming this September.

Since its creation in 2009, LeBunny Bleu has quickly expanded to 10 countries and now has over 100 stores around the world in the US, UK, Hongkong, Japan, China, Korea, Singapore, Russia, Brazil, and now the Philippines.

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Homegrown Havaianas

After sifting through clever expressions of creativity, ingenious concepts, and a generous dash of imagination, Havaianas is finally one step ahead in unraveling its newest design partner as it releases its list of “You + Havaianas” semi-finalists

You + Havaianas is on its feet to pave the way for the world famous flip-flop brand to celebrate the artistry innate in every “Havaianatico,” which has been evident since its launch during the pulsating four-day fete that was “Make Your Own Havaianas 2013” in April.


By Alson Camile

Now, the competition is just a few strides away from finding out whose design will be featured as one of the 2014 Havaianas collection’s limited pairs. Creative minds such as art director of Movent Kristel Castillo, merchandise planning manager of One Thread International Lizette Ong, fashion blogger David Guison, graphic illustrator Nicolo Nimor and Visual Artist Katrina Pallon collaborated to narrow down the design submissions.

With the Havaianas team done determining the Top 20 entries, the subsequent response to the online voting of the winning pair was overwhelming since July 1. Ending today, Havianaticos will soon know the first homegrown Havainanas design, which will make it to 2014’s limited flip flop edition.


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