Michael Bastian: Wearing Flip-Flops Is A Privilege, Not A Right


Menswear designer Michael Bastian isn’t exactly known for being wallet-friendly, but a new collaboration with Havaianas means you can now own some of his signature style at only $38 a pop. And while chatting with Bastian at the launch of his summer-friendly collection, we learned a few things about the salt and pepper designer, including his thoughts on Tom Ford’s rules for men, the one thing no guy should ever wear, and how to pull off flip-flops without looking like a schmuck.

Bastian told us that collaborating with Havaianas was a no-brainer. “Havaianas is one of those companies that is synonymous with what they make, like Kleenex,” he said. “And they’re the best at what they do. You can’t imagine the amount of flip flops that they produce in a year.” But when it came to designing his own collection for the brand, he looked no further than his eponymous Spring 2011 collection, which was filled with sea-faring motifs and inspired by Navy SEALs and underwater explorers like Jacques Cousteau.

And being the bastion of menswear that he is, we couldn’t help but ask him where he stood on the great flip-flops for men debate.

“It’s a huge lightening rod. I think some people love it and some people hate it. It’s less about the flipflop and more about how people feel about men showing their feet. And maybe its because men have not, traditionally, taken care of their feet. At least in America. And I think slowly, slowly, slowly that’s changing. I Don’t want to go on record and say, ‘Okay, guys, go get a pedicure.’ But make sure your feet are presentable. Women look at people’s feet. Women are obsessed with maintenance, whether that’s other women or men. So on a very practical level, if you want to get a girl’s number, make sure your feet look good. Wearing flip-flops is a privilege not a right.”

Bastian does, however, take issue with Tom Ford‘s no shorts for men rule. “I don’t believe that,” he told us. But are there any hard and fast laws of fashion men should adhere to?

“It used to be wearing denim with denim. And then one day I was walking around in my neighborhood and then I saw a guy making it work. The minute you say don’t do something, you’re gonna see someone doing it and changing your mind. There are no rules. If you’ve got the attitude, the confidence, and the body, there is very little you can’t pull off. Other than a square-toed black loafer with a pleated chino. Okay, we’ve got a new never. And then you’ll see some Italian model roll up in chinos and a tanktop and…”

And finally, we couldn’t help but ask him what his absolute dream collaboration would be — not that he didn’t already get it with Havaianas, of course.

“Do you remember when Bill Blass designed a Lincoln Continental? Please, Mercedes, I want to design one of the G-Wagons. I have had this dream. You know the Mercedes that looks like a Jeep? Okay, I just want that car in Olive Army Green with a Brown Leather Interior and it doesn’t exist. So please can I do a Michael Bastian Mercedes G-Wagon. I’m ready to buy a used one and paint it myself.”

You can buy Michael Bastian’s Havaianas online here.

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