"Do you like Birkenstock sandals?" designer Phillip Lim asked The Fashion Informer last fall. "I love them - "I've always been obsessed with them (there is a secret hippie within me) - and I sense you're a bit of a hippie as well. Don't be shy."
Clearly, Lim's Spidey Sense is working overtime. But then, this is the guy whose new in-store accessory fixtures are inspired by Wonder Woman's invisible jet, so he obviously has an affinity for superhero super powers.
In fact, we've never been shy about our love for Birkis, which are so crunchy-granola dorky they're actually cool - not to mention out-of-this-world comfortable. So imagine our delight when Lim told us he was designing a new collection for Tatami, Birkenstock's fashion-forward little sister, for spring '08 (the label is still relatively unknown in the States, but is a huge cult fave with trendy types in Asia and Europe).
"It happened out of the blue and to my wildest surprise," said Lim back in November. "That out of anyone in the world they would approach me to work on a collection with them. I have complete creative freedom - so far, they have not said no to anything - and they are such nice people."
Lim - no slouch in the nice people department himself - has already visited the Birkenstock factory in Germany, where they "pound out the hippie cork-bottom sandals," and is set to unveil his 3.1 Phillip Lim for Tatami kicks at his show in September. According to the designer, the his-and-hers shoes (which are seriously chic, based on the prototypes we saw in April), will be sold exclusively at his new Mercer Street store in Soho and through select Birkenstock retailers in Asia, Europe and a few American markets, including New York and LA.
"I'm very excited about this because I have such a personal affection for these sandals," said the always-endearing Lim with a laugh as he walked us through the collection. "It brings me back to my days of study and working as a retail slave to pay off my clothing habit."
"My goal with this," he added, "is to introduce the fashion flock to a series of urban, oh-so-cool old-school, but new hippie-chic sandals."
Consider it done.
Photos © The Fashion Informer