Last month, I attended the exclusive press launch and VIP after-party for the new Laces boutique in SoHo. As the press release promised, proprietor Louis W. Colon III has introduced 'one of the most creative and enterprising niche stores to the trendy neighborhood.' The opening reception featured champagne, crudites, and canapes' providing an opportunity for the press to preview the latest in athletic footwear for women. Laces officially opened its doors to the public on December 15. While the median price range is $60-80, some more embellished styles retail upwards of $175. In a male dominated sneaker culture, the mission of Laces is to create a premier sneaker boutique dedicated to ladies. The shop hopes to convey a message that is 'very exclusive, very high end, and most importantly very feminine.' Laces will offer 'couture kicks', laces, and coordinating accessories in a private, posh atmosphere' catering to stylists, fashion editors, and trendsetters [alike].
The store setting is charming and welcoming; it features clean modern lines and a narrow alcove with kicks from the new spring lines of Nike, Reebok and Chain Reaction on display. The mirrors, alabaster painted brick, gray floors, silver and gold recessed walls all blend well together; making the intimate space feel larger than it is. Mr. Colon describes his customer as 'the urban female that's edgier with fashion and looking to get sexier with sneakers. Think stilettos with no heels!' In coming months, the modern boutique space will exhibit original artwork by female artist 'Too Fly'. Laces will also host monthly private in-store events, presenting customers with the opportunity to pre-order footwear from upcoming collections.
Friends and family were out in full force to support the young entrepreneur. The after-party took place at the SoHo Dance Studio and was co-sponsored by the spirits company, Bombay Sapphire. The open space was a perfect venue to display upcoming collections, model new kicks, and show off some fancy footwork! The female DJ kept the energy level up and even encouraged a spirited dance-off with everything from 'Kiss' by Prince, 'Nasty Girl' by Vanity 6, 'Poison' by Bell Biv Devoe, to 'Make it Clap' by Busta Rhymes, and 'Doin' It' by LL Cool J. As the bartenders from Bombay Sapphire served up 'Ultimate Martinis', the crowd laughed on, mingled, and tried to outdo each other with their freestyle dance moves. After posing with guests, supporters, and industry players, Mr. Colon greeted the crowd and thanked everyone for coming out to support him, particularly Bombay Sapphire, and reminded everyone to visit his new store.
According to the Laces press kit, the Brooklyn native who once served as a commentator on ESPN 2's series It's in the Shoes, has also worked as a columnist for Urban Latino Magazine, Mass Appeal, and BET.com; this gives him the voice of authority on what's hot in sneaker trends today. Mr. Colon is also founder and publisher of Kicksclusive magazine, a lifestyle publication devoted to 'The Sneaker Culture.' It has proven to be a great success with exclusive pictorial features, product launches, and profiles on leading sneaker connoisseurs and trends. With the magazine taking off, the young entrepreneur (he's only 26) thought it was the perfect time to launch his Laces sneaker boutique in the fashionable downtown neighborhood of SoHo. Reading the Editor's letter, Mr. Colon recounts an anecdote of how he was given the moniker sneakerhead. 'This was always a topic of conversation growing up' the newest and flyest pair out.' The magazine provides all kinds of insight on sneaker culture. For example, did you realize that there is actually a Sneaker Street in Hong Kong? Kicksclusive touts itself as the 'sole ambassador' on this cultural phenomenon. The quarterly magazine is currently available through subscription and target distribution internationally.
Now you would never know it from looking at my headshot, but I'm fairly petite. So as a fairly girlie 5'2' Fashionista, I'm rarely in flats, let alone sneakers. I think my love affair with heels began when I was twelve (even my Prada loafers have a 1 1/4" heel). Since relocating to New York three years ago, I've been faced with harsh winters, subways under construction, and streets in disrepair; consequently, the sneaker has become my friend during daily commutes and weekend errands. Okay, so I'm vertically challenged, but at the end of the day, I need to navigate the MTA and cobblestone walkways and this simply doesn't bode well for my fancy Italian footwear nor my tired feet. And now with offerings from the Laces boutique, shelving my coveted stilettos in these inclement [and oft challenging] conditions in favor of comfortable, durable, sensible footwear doesn't mean I have to compromise style and fashion. You needn't suffer the fear of trading in fashion for function, the exclusive boutique offers a wonderful selection of fashion-forward styles: a cheetah print for the animal lover within, a sleek silver design for the modern girl, a pink and green combination for the preppy set, fishskin for the lady who loves the luxe of exotic skins, and upcoming lines for spring in blue & gold, perhaps to coordinate with your alma mater's colors.
What sparked his passion and curiosity growing up, has now amassed into a billion-dollar industry' no more just sneakers named after pro-athletes. Today, there are sneakers in innovative fabrications with exciting color stories, reflectors, even wheels! Mr. Colon has truly identified a niche market, catering to an often overlooked demographic in this range of footwear with his swank new boutique. Some of my favorites already in stock include the pink and green high top, perfect for the 'Lily Pulitzer-Palm Beach set'; the Nike Greco supreme, a reissued 70's-design wrestling shoe; the Waffle sneaker, with traction soles to keep runners light on their feet. I also like the Airmax; this shoe is made to especially absorb shock and in a pony hair animal print, it represents the perfect balance and the future of sneakers where athleticism meets the fashion-forward. There are so many color combinations, styles, and textures to choose from; these certainly aren't your mother's sneakers! Thanks to Mr. Colon, even us girlie girls can 'kick it' in style with his boutique's fashion-forward offerings. Now the only problem will be choosing just one pair'
Laces 252 Mott Street (between Houston and Prince Streets) 212-334-5457 www.laces-nyc.com
Hours: Monday and Tuesday (by appointment only) Wednesday-Sunday, 12-7:30
Special thanks to Juana Guichardo and Myisha Marsh of Guichardo Event Marketing (GEM)
Thanks to Stacey Ferry of Reebok for providing after party display image
All boutique and (inside) after party images furnished courtesy of photographer Josh DeHonney