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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 3, 2006

In Hawai'i, 'easy chic' is cool

 •  Hot kicks for men

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Gordon Thompson III, a Cole Haan executive and part-time Kahala resident, gives us his take on men's shoe styles.

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Gordon Thompson III, the creative genius behind the blending of Nike Air technology with Cole Haan's fashionable shoes, is a part-time Hawai'i resident. We talked to him by phone in New York to get his take on what's cool in men's shoes.

"A lot of Hawai'i men do seem to be in a time warp with penny loafers, pleated pants and aloha shirts," Thompson said with a chuckle.

Hawai'i's shoe scene is "all about easy chic and comfort, shoes that can be dressed up or dressed down," Thompson said. "Even going without socks is OK.

"I'm a flip-flop fanatic," Thompson added. "The old 'shoes off' is a big issue in Hawai'i. It's all about shoes being left at the front door. You don't want to be saddled with lacing up every time you go to someone's house." Even slippers can be high fashion. His favorite pair is made of crocodile, perfect for drinks at the Halekulani, he demurred.

Perhaps driven by the enormous popularity of jeans, shoes are taking on a look of worn-in luxury. Cole Haan is achieving this by distressing leathers before cutting and sewing them into shoes. Shiny shoes are not cool.

Cowboy and work boots are increasingly popular with jeans for office or leisure. "No guy wants to look too crisp right now. It's about being masculine and a little rougher," he said.

Reach Paula Rath at prath@honoluluadvertiser.com.