You’ve gotta love those celebrities selling products they’d never wear themselves. Take Star Jones, of the unlimited Fendi baguettes, shilling for Payless. Or Gisele Bundchen, provocatively posing in a poorly cut Victoria’s Secret suit she could squeeze five legs and a watermelon into. The latest is beleaguered O.C. naïf Mischa Barton, hawking Keds, the infamously bland canvas tennis shoe, in every fashion magazine.
We suppose that if Lacoste, Penguin, and Le Tigre can make a comeback, then surely Keds stands a chance (although it has no little animal logo, and everyone knows a tiger clinging to your right boob sells product). With slogans like, “Cool isn’t forgetting where you came from,” the ad department at Keds is clearly aimed at hitting slicked-up urbanites right at their humble New Jersey beginnings as if to say, ‘Remember when you used to wear us every day?’ ”
Unfortunately, Keds’ greatest obstacle is that . . . well, the shoe is kind of butt-ugly. In the late ’80s, cramming athletic socks into those narrow-fit sneakers always looked odd, but all hope was lost when you paired them with knee-short jeans and some of those groovy half-up, half-down bangs. We wonder if this former “shoe of champions,” once worn by international soccer and tennis stars, is in need of an update. Instead, the company has taken to merely offering the same style in a plethora of new prints—gingham, anyone?—and high-tech fabric like MicroStretch and LifeProof technology. Welcome to the brand new stain-resistant Ked.
Puma’s relaunch of the famous Tretorn tennis sneaker, the Nylite, might fare better. With its traditional V-toe shape and heftier build, the preppy ’80s trainer is far more handsome than the wimpy Ked. Puma acquired the Swedish company Tretorn four years ago with a plan to return the shoe to its golden days in the ’70s and ’80s, when Muffy, Buffy, and five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg sported them on and off the tennis courts. The Nylite broke new ground for the company in 1964 (when Tretorn was known more for its rubber boots) as the first leather performance shoe. It was adopted across college campuses in the ’80s and The Official Preppy Handbook later dubbed it a staple of both the female and male prep’s wardrobe.
Nylites have no current spokesmodel to speak of, so let’s think of some WASP or—even better—Brit celebs to hawk the blue-blood sneaker: What about Jude? Or Gwyneth? Jude? Madonna? Or Jude? Or Sir Ian McKellen? Or maybe Jude? Jude. They’re so attractive we suspect he might actually buy a pair before the contract gets signed.