‘Four’ Play

With the unofficial start of summer, (not to mention the sultry summer like weather) the focus has instantly shifted from fashion to outdoor activities… (that’s not to say that the two are mutually exclusive – hardly). But let’s put it this way, this is the one time of the year when the word ‘sport’ conjures up a whole lot more than just shopping, for a large segment of the population who may hibernate inside their abodes during the cold winter months.

Tennis has always been popular (as a personal and as a spectator sport, in fact, the French Open has just begun and it’s being televised worldwide). It’s also been thought of as somewhat sexy and glamorous (with its share of sexy, glamorous, high profile, colorful, and controversial players – both men and women). ‘Think’ Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournakova, James Blake, Andy Roddick, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Roger Federer, Ilie Nastase, Boris Becker, etc. Golf, though an ancient sport steeped in folklore and tradition, has never quite been perceived the same way and it has not exactly had a lion’s share of ‘matinee idol’ like players. But that has started to change, particularly after the 1996 hit movie ‘Tin Cup’ starring Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, when the sport began to take on a ‘hip’ aura.

And then, there are the two talented, charismatic, telegenic/photogenic golf stars, with plenty of fashion and accessory endorsements under their belts, who have not hurt the cause. I’m referring to Tiger Woods and newer on the horizon – the young and beautiful Michelle Wie. The over six foot tall 16 year old has “defined success” since winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links at the age of 13, she’s the youngest champion of a USGA title for adults. She is currently represented by the William Morris Agency, and has signed endorsement deals with Nike and Sony which will pay her approximately $10 million a year. The photogenic athlete is all over the place, even gazing up at you from full page color ads in the most prestigious fashion magazines like the current Elle Magazine, where she endorses Omega Watches.

Golf has been on my mind as of late, especially after attending last month’s Manhattan Vintage Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion. In the course of my conversation with Steve Tatar (whose Ohio Knitting Mills Company was a recent subject of my Daily Fashion Report), he revealed that about two years ago, he came up with the idea of launching a company, Golf Barefoot, which mixed surf culture and West Coast beach culture with golf (“an interesting hybrid”, he allowed). But his involvement and interest in golf was not traditional, (meaning it was not about the Waspy Country Club side of things), but rather the ability to be outdoors in that beautiful setting, commune with nature, and walk around barefoot, hence the name.

Steve knew he needed a partner and spoke with Nike and Levi’s and they both expressed interest, but it never took off. In the end, he couldn’t figure out how to manufacture and handle all the production, but he still feels “there’s money to be made in golf”.

And at the same show, one of the booths that caught my eye, Lenore Newman’s Patina, did so because of the hard to miss orange silk Hermes vintage scarf decorated with life sized 3d golf balls all over, ($210), displayed on the table in its original box. And that wasn’t the only thing that was golf themed: there were also several classic yet whimsical wool cardigans appliquéd front and back with golf symbols. It seems Lenore is an avid golfer herself (she plays in the Berkshires and in Florida), and personally hates golf clothes (“not nearly as good as tennis wear”). Though she admits it’s getting better, Ms. Newman told me she is contemplating designing a golf dress and that may well happen in the future.

in addition finding a wonderful assortment of vintage clothing and accessories, you will discover more golf items dating from the 40’s through the 70’s. She currently has about three sweaters ($85), ties emblazoned with golf motifs ($45-$55), graphic and colorful golf shoes for men and women ($85-$95), structured wicker bags which carry on the sporty theme ($125), a small hankie size scarf with images of a golfer ($25), plus golf skirts and shorts. By the way, the ties and the golf shoes would make a great Father’s Day gift for that golfer in your life.

And while I’m on the topic of great Father’s Day gift ideas for golfing dads, further uptown at Vicki Haberman’s shop, Vintage Collections, 147 East 72nd Street, 211-717-7702, www.vintagecollectionsnyc.com, you will find a vintage Louis Vuitton golf bag (from the early 90’s). Just the thing if you have an extra $3500 and are trying to figure out what to do with it!

And speaking of sports and the unbeatable combination of form and function, it’s no secret that there continues to be new and improved takes on the once lowly sneaker. Several weeks ago, the first ever compass sneaker, ‘Compass by Isaac Daniel’, which actually has a GPS embedded in its sole, made its ‘debut’ to the press at the Mickey Mantle Restaurant on Central Park South.

Mr. Daniel has wisely merged his talents as both a scientist and trendsetter and the result is something quite unique, practical, even life saving. This revolutionary personal security measure has many applications – for the young and the old – not the least of which is helping those with memory issues or dementia, find their way home should they get lost. Family members can track the person through Quantum Satellite Technology, by plugging the GPS into their computer. If there is an emergency, the appropriate security systems would be notified immediately. The approximately $325 sneakers are available in a selection of styles and fashion forward colors and will be in stores soon. For more information, contact: Bonnie Bien La Presse T 212-567-8900 F 212-567-8999 or Email Lapressepr@aol.com.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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