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The PF Flyers Anniversary Collection: 75 Years of Authentic American Style

One brand has helped us “run faster and jump higher” since 1937: PF Flyers. For 75 years the Boston based shoe company has been making quality footwear that’s as comfortable as it is stylish. Long before Benny un-boxed his now iconic black Center Hi’s to face The Beast in The Sandlot, PF Flyers built its reputation as a classic, American brand dedicated to “Authentic American Style.”

On Tuesday PF Flyers will celebrate its 75th anniversary by releasing a capsule collection featuring three limited edition unisex styles resonating with the tradition of innovation synonymous with the brand’s heritage. The Center Hi and Windjammer stay true to their roots, while the Grounder II is a fresh take on the original shoe of the same name. Crafted from unbleached linen canvas and veg-tanned leather, each of these PF Flyers is laden with detail, right down to the hand stamped logo. A limited run of 500 pairs of each style will be available at retailers like KITH NYC, the J.Crew Liquor Store, Bloomingdale’s 59th Street, American Rag, and The Tannery.

At the helm of the anniversary collection is PF Flyers’ Footwear Designer James Lee. Mr Lee was kind enough to talk with The Modern Minion about how his team “balanced old and new elements to create a collection that appears raw and handmade” and that honors the brand’s esteemed history.

The Modern Minion: PF Flyers is known for its “Authentic American Style.” What do you think has drawn customers to that style for the past 75 years?

James Lee: American style has evolved over the decades, but PF Flyers has remained relevant through classic styling.

MM: The workmanship on the capsule collection is incredible, right down to the hand stamped logo. Were there sleepless nights spent worrying over getting every detail on the shoes perfect?

James Lee: It was definitely a long process as we went through several rounds of prototypes to craft the details and materials. We are used to making sure every detail is consistent coming out of production, so our biggest concern was actually communicating to our production team that we wanted “imperfect” details on the shoes (i.e. every ankle logo is slightly different due to the fact that they were hand stamped).

MM: The three shoes each represent an iconic PF style that has been popular for decades. What makes each of them so special to fans of the brand?

James Lee: We wanted a collection of three shoes that had very different silhouettes. The Center Hi was an obvious choice as it is an important part of our brand DNA. The Windjammer came out in 1965, so we wanted to include this in the collection due to it’s archival relevance. Lastly, the Grounder II because it’s a brand new model that is releasing in Fall 2012. It’s an update to the Grounder, which was a big shoe for us in the past.

MM: What are you hoping the 75th anniversary collection will communicate to new customers of PF Flyers?

James Lee: The 75th Anniversary Collection pays homage to our heritage, celebrating the era when there weren’t a lot of machines and computers that processed cookie cutter shoes. Therefore, we used raw materials like unbleached linen canvas and vegetable tanned leather to give the collection a raw feel and add further value with the hand-stamped logo and hand-stitched leather.

MM: For people who won’t be lucky enough to pick up one of limited edition pairs, will this capsule collection be inspiration for future Flyers?

James Lee: We always build onto what we’ve created in the past so this collection definitely will, either directly or indirectly, inspire what’s to come in the future.

MM: Last question. We all know Benny would favor the Center Hi style. If you could only wear one pair, which from the capsule collection would you go with? And yes, I know it’s like trying to pick a favorite child or flavor of ice cream.

James Lee: Lucky for me, I got to wear test all three of them! If I had to pick a favorite child, I’d choose the Grounder II because not only is it a new model for us, it has a great aged appearance after wearing it for some time.

—ANDREW SIGMAN

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Center Hi 

Windjammer

Grounder II

Thanks to PF Flyers for providing all the images. 

Femme Friday: The Power of Peplum

❘ Note from The Modern Minion: Today’s post comes straight from the girl next door; the next door being Canada and the girl being friend and fashion fan Amber Coghill. Amber lives and works in the Toronto area and has an incredible talent for brand development and management. She’s been an invaluable friend and business asset and stands as one of the most beautiful and stylish women I know. I’m both honored and excited to have her as a contributor to The Modern Minion. ❘

When we talk about trends this season, peplum is arguable one of the hottest. It’s almost impossible to watch a read carpet event this season without seeing this über feminine throwback trend born in the 80’s. Initially I had my doubts that the style would be flattering on a wide range of body shapes, but peplums create an instant hour glass by accentuating the waist and masking any problem areas in the midsection.

The incredible slimming silhouette of this fashion phenomenon can be had dresses, skirts, jackets, and blouses in styles versatile enough for work or play, weekday to weekend.

Ladies, this spring show off your curves or create new ones by tapping into the power of peplum. Cheers to a very happy and feminine Femme Friday!

-Amber

Top left: Blouse via Mango $45 CAD; Talkshow Sweetheart Dress via Modcloth $53 Bottom left: Dress via Zara $100; Pencil skirt via Zara $80

Style Inspiration: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Movies act as incredible resources of style inspiration. From Annie Hall (1977) to Drive (2011), films have been the catalysts of trends for decades.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) is one of my favorite movies for its satire, soundtrack, and style. The film’s brilliant cast and perfectly written dialogue are matched only by its iconic visual aesthetic. The main characters all don the same baby blue uniforms complete with custom Adidas sneakers and bright red watch caps for chilly nights at sea. While I tried to find pieces true to the film’s original look, I swapped out the blue pants for a more practical white chino (not that a beanie in summer makes any sense).

Style is a journey.

This is an adventure. -Steve Zissou

Earl polo by Original Penguin via Park & Bond $59; Neff beanie via Zappos.com $16; Adidas Dragon via Zappos.com $65; J.Crew Broken-in chino $70

A special thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Cassie Calamity whose Wes Anderson movie marathon inspired this post.

Thou Shalt Covet: Paint Splattered Shorts from Ovadia & Sons

America is never more alive than in summertime. Backyard barbecues, bonfires, and lazy days by the water are filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of this country’s grand heritage. Few things say summer like seersucker, and even less speak of American heritage like red, white, and blue. This pair of shorts from New York based Ovadia & Sons says both. The paint splatters and cut off legs perfectly offset the classic preppiness of the seersucker. These shorts, first spotted on Selectism, serve as an iconic representation of everything that makes this nation great.

…O’er the land of the free and the home of the well dressed.

$275 at Boylston Trading Co.

Vintage Style Shot: White Double Breasted Jacket

I come from a long lineage of stylish gentleman. For generations the men of my family have known how to dress well. My great uncle, photographed here in 1937, had a dapper style I have come to respect.

The list of men who can successfully pull off a white double breasted suit in 2012 is a short one, and I imagine it was even smaller back then. But he wears it impeccably, adding a simple black tie and pocket square. And from the air of confidence radiating from these photographs, he knew exactly how perfect he looked. He also understood the power of versatility, pairing the white DB jacket with black pants for a look that’s much more James Bond (not that he knew that).

I count myself lucky to be able to look to the past to draw inspiration for my own style future.

Lanvin jacket via Bergdorf Goodman $2,450; J.Crew Essential chino in 484 slim fit $70; Express Silk Tie $40; Giorgio Brutini wingtips via Zappos.com $75

I get it; a jacket that costs more than my first car is a bit ridiculous. I’ve got you covered. Try a white DB sport coat from Brooks Brothers for $398 or a John W. Nordstrom linen alternative for $345.

Femme Friday Quick Pick: Dubarry Boots

Unsure of how to spend the $480 in couch cushion change you have? I suggest these stylish and durable Galway boots from Dubarry.

Friend and décor blogger Emmy Smith of Progression of a Homebuyer saw these boots everywhere when she attended the Rolex event last weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park. As a style maven and equestrian herself, Emmy immediately recognized the appeal. Made from breathable leather and lined in waterproof GORE-TEX®, these boots are tough enough for horse tracks and trips to the grocery alike.

It’s awesome when my minions send me trends and products they love, especially ones so Derby appropriate. Go forth and dress well.

$480 for women & men. All images via Durbarry

Femme Friday: Bright Bottoms from Rachel Y.

After the first successful guest post from my friend and photographer Rachel Yacapraro of Iacapraro Photography, I had to get her back for another Femme Friday. She has the most incredible eye for women’s fashion; an aesthetic that’s translated into her modern, sophisticated photography. Her style sense is one that both I and her clients trust implicitly.

Not one to ever play it safe, Rachel gathered some of her favorite fun and vibrant pants for this week’s Femme Friday. Inspired by her own pair of Zara trousers (dubbed her fancy fat pants), she scoured the Internet for bottoms that were anything but mundane. Rachel was especially smitten with the $50 tapered jeans from Armani Exchange and ordered them for herself.

RY: I just ordered these last night! I think they will be a winner. Pair them with a v-neck American Apparel tee and a fun sandal.

Rachel has a style that is international, literally. The day after she sent me her finds the Zara pants were photographed in Hong Kong by The Sartorialist.

No matter what your weekend plans entail, tackle them with style, grace, and of course a little fun. Happy Femme Friday.

Top row: JOE’S Jeans $158; Pants by United Colors of Benetton (see stores); Zara trousers $50 Bottom row: Spotshadow trousers via Madewell $108; Café capri pants via J.Crew $118; Tapered trouser jean via Armani Exchange $50

Shave in Style

Style is more than just having a polished wardrobe; it’s also important to have a polished face.

For years I suffered under the tyranny of expensive multi-bladed razor cartridges that never lasted more than a week against my thick beard. Sick of shelling out so much cash to get a silky smooth mug, I switched to a classic double edge razor. After mastering the learning curve, I’m a believer in simple blades.

For my extremely sensitive skin, my new routine is a God send. The single blade doesn’t dig into my skin unlike with previous razors. Although my beard is thick enough to warrant a new blade every shave, the blades themselves are only about $.40 a piece. I completed my shaving set up with a proper badger hair and shave soap.

Once an awful chore, shaving has become an experience I actually look forward to.

What say you, minions? What does your shaving routine look like?

Merkur Razor via Amazon; Van Der Hagen Shave Soap; Nivea For Men Post Shave Balm; Badger Hair Brush (handed down to me)