Havaianas threw a party last night in Soho, New York, bidding farewell to winter and saying hello to glorious spring and summer with a sneak preview of their new 2012 Collection. Founded and based in Brazil since 1962, Havaianas is most well-known for their colorful rubber flip-flops, though they’ve recently launched a whole new line of close-toed shoes, which were on display that night in colorful lines against the wall. The room was crowded and bright, decorated with beach umbrellas and tall fronded plants that conjured up memories of warm white sands and light sundresses, and on one wall, there were lines of rows of Havaianas flip-flops in all different colors, patterns, and designs. Adding to the festive atmosphere was the bar in the corner, serving colorful Brazilian drinks filled to the brim with slices of lime and chunks of pineapple that floated alongside the ice cubes. Servers wearing white T-shirts that read “Havaianas” in bright red – all of them men and all of them alarmingly fit – circulated with plates of finger foods. Did I mention that there were also macarons? I ate more than was good for me, I’m afraid. (My photographer later admitted the same.)
The thing that I thought was especially cool, though, was the “Make Your Own Havaianas” station. I love absolutely everything about summer, and therefore it goes without saying that I love flip-flops. They’re kind of the perfect shoe to me, really: blessedly easy to slip on, comfortable to wear, and structurally perfect in how much freedom they allow my feet to wriggle and breath. So when I saw the two young women making flip-flops behind the large “Make Your Own Havainas” table with all the different bits and pieces (and in all different colors too!) of flip-flop materials, I wanted one. But unfortunately, the line being long and rather slow, I decided not to wait. Instead, I walked around, admiring shoes (and eating macarons.)
I was surprised by the variety of designs available in the collection, especially for the flip-flops. I’d always thought of flip-flops as being in all one color, and that was that. But there were several different collections of flip-flops in the room, and each of them had a distinct look: one collection, called the Special Collection, was inspired by designs from Brazilian culture; another collection, the Graffiti Collection, was decorated with designs inspired by Brazailian street art; there was a Disney collection, which featured the recognizable faces of Winnie the Pooh and Mickey and all the usual characters. There was also the Baby Buggy Collection, which was a collaborative effort between Havaianas, Baby Buggy, and four celebrity moms – Courteney Cox, Nina Garcia, Rebecca Romijn, and Tori Spelling – each of whom custom-designed a pair of flip-flops for the collection. 10% of the proceeds from the Baby Buggy collection will go toward Baby Buggy, a non-profit that provides aid for needy families. Also on display was the unisex SOUL COLLECTION, which consisted of espadrilles, sneakers, ballerina flats, and boots, each of them inserted with the spongy sole of the Havanianas flip-flop.
I asked Christine Su, Senior Marketing Manager of Havaianas, what she thought made Havaianas stand out. “They’re just super comfortable and light weight, stylish yet affordable. Look — " she motioned to herself, "I mean, I’m dressed up right now and I’m wearing a pair.”
She was. A black pair. They looked cute.
Written by Helen Zou
Photographs taken by the fantastic Andrew Park