These Are Without Tongues

Puma X Andrea Pompilio Monte Sandal AP.jpg

By Shu Xie

Onitsuka Tiger’s collaboration with Andrea Pompilio has always yielded some rather atypical kicks. This season, apart from those with the usual patchwork uppers, they have come up with a sneaker, conspicuously missing the tongue.

The tongue-less shoe, which Onitsuka Tiger calls ‘sandals’, could be a blessing if you, like me, are easily annoyed by those tongues that do not come with two slots in the centre through which you can guide the laces so as to better hold the tongue in place. Although tongues gone askew is not a pretty sight or comfort to the upper feet, many sneaker makers still do not consider how they can be secured.

Onitsuka Tiger X Andrea Pompilio’s Monte Sandal AP appears to solve the problem of the movable tongue by dispensing with it altogether. The lace guards and eyelets are also missing. In their places are a simple strapping system—forming a zig-zag—for laces to go through. Although the leather straps can be a little abrasive if you choose to go sock-less, they can be kinder to your feet if they’re first treated to a good shoe conditioner such as the Saphir Renovateur before use.

When you slip your feet into them, they feel like kungfu shoes. If you look at them from the top down, they look like Mary-Janes (with lace harness). Either way, these are kicks that, to me, will go well with wide-legged pants or, if you’re so inclined, ‘skorts’.

Onitsuka Tiger X Andrea Pompilio Monte Sandal AP, SGD169, is available at Puma, Suntec City. Photo: Puma

Winter Style 2: East Meets West

Onitsuka Tiger X Andrea Pompilio Sweat Zip Parka

Onitsuka Tiger X Andrea Pompilio ‘Sweat Zip Parka’

By Raiment Young

I have been paying attention to winter wear these days because it seems to me that increasingly those who choose to holiday in colder climes fill their suitcases with kit from Uniqlo. Nothing wrong with that, of course: Uniqlo makes practical and functional winter clothes that are amazingly affordable. For basics such as their Heattech Innerwear, they’re hard to beat for wearability, comfort, and price. But sometimes, one does want to stay away from the obvious choices even if only to avoid the likelihood of sitting next to someone in the plane wearing the same pocketable Ultra Light Down Jacket.

My search in the past weeks has taken me to sportswear labels rather than fashion brands, and sometimes I encounter a meeting of the two. One of the most appealing is the collaboration of Japanese label Onitsuka Tiger and the Italian designer Andrea Pompilio. This isn’t their first partnership. In fact, the coming together of these two brands dates back to the spring/summer 2013 season. Hitherto, it has been the footwear that seems to be gaining attention and following. If only more shoppers take a step up and give the clothes a chance in the fitting room.

Onitsuka Tiger X Andrea Pompilio Sweat Zip Parka close upCloseup of the details of the ‘Sweat Zip Parka’

At the newly opened Onitsuka Tiger store in Suntec City, one item that caught my approving eye was the Sweat Zip Parka, an asking-to-be-cuddled outer that stands apart from the rest with its lower half of the right sleeve in a contrasting black, picking up from the same colour of the college crest in the shape of a tiger’s face. Upon closer examination, I realised that the hood can be unzipped to be removed. Underneath is a rather unusual ribbed crew neck that, when worn with a same-tone sweatshirt inside, will yield an athleisure twinset!

This does not appear to typify the Andrea Pompilio ready-to-wear line. The street vibe seems to take its cue from otaku culture. The collection (sadly there were no more than five styles available in the store for both men and women), in fact, wouldn’t be alien to those who throng Tokyo’s Akihabara. Perhaps Mr Pompilio is stretching himself so that he’s able to go beyond the aesthetic he has fine-tuned from those years with Prada and Calvin Klein. Sometimes, one has to explore the other side, dark or otherwise.

Onitsuka Tiger X Andrea Pompilio Sweat Zip Parka, SGD499, is available at Onitsuka Tiger, Suntec City. Photos: Onitsuka Tiger


The Other Tweed Sneak

OT X AP AW 2014 tweed shoe

If you ask us, and we know you didn’t, but we’ll say it anyway, these sneakers in tweed are much more interesting than those by a certain couture house that has aroused the passion of the fashionistas of the world. What’s more crucial than the fancy fabric is that they look and feel like you can really do sports in them. Even if you’re not going to put them through the rigours of a workout (other than that on the dance floor), it is good to know that are made of sterner stuff. And they should be since they’re manufactured by Onitsuka Tiger, the 65 year-old Japanese label that has a long tradition of making groundbreaking athletic shoes.

While many Onitsuka Tiger trainers now appear to be from another era, this tweed version of their best-selling Colorado 85 series does not. Conceived in collaboration with the Italian designer Andrea Pompilio, it sidesteps vintage sensibilities for fashion forwardness. The black and white bouclé is quirky enough, but to pair it with a dusty pink leather front, that is cheeky and surprising.

Mr Pompilio is an unfamiliar name here so this may help amplify his standing: he cut his teeth with Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Prada, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent, just to list the more illustrious names. He is known as much for his urban-smart ready-to-wear (characterised by sportswear shapes—oh, that again!) as well as his quirky but immensely wearable footwear (notably for men). This is not his first collab with Onitsuka Tiger. In fact, if you count the upcoming spring/summer 2015, it would be his fifth season with the Jap co. We hope there are more to come.

Onitsuka Tiger x Andrea Pompilio Colorado Eighty Five Black Tweed, SGD199, is available at Onitsuka Tiger @ VivoCity. Artwork: Just So