Magnificent Bastard

Thursday, November 26, 2015

From the Shop ↷

Game-Day Belt

Facepainting & foam fingers are not you. A belt made of NFL football leather is. Understated fanaticism FTW!

Game-Day Luxury Box

Transport your game-day suds in style, on a carpet of AstroTurf & a handle made of NFL football leather

Secret Agent Belt

Look like a fictional British Secret Service agent for just $30.07

300-Year Sterling Silver Buckle Belt

Built to look great forever — even if you live to 300


Ask the MB: TST Shoes: Endangered, Extinct, or Just Very Exclusive?

TST Low-tops via YOOX, $144.00
TST Low-tops via YOOX. $144.00.

Q: Hey, dig your site. I'm a fan of TST sneakers and have had a few pairs over the years. Any idea where I could find some these days (online, in store)? Yoox doesn't seem to have much at all. Or, if no TST (crying inside) any recs on a similar styled pair/producer?

Q: Quick question. Are TST defunct?

A: We are glad to see readers are still interested in TST, a longtime MB favorite characterized by its commitment to wabi-sabi and generally elusive quality.

Even in its heyday, this Japanese brand from designer Seisha Tanaka was as hard to spot as a Siberian tiger. And in the last couple years, we had begun to suspect it had crossed over from endangered species to extinct one.

But you never know, right? A lot of people probably think we're dead too, and yet here we are, still as vital and full of life as Jackie Stallone. So we decided to contact to TST HQ directly and ask if it is still producing shoes. Here's the response we received:

"Thank you for your contact to Tanaka Universal. Yes, we are producing TST brand shoes as well as Maccheronian, CEBO and CEBOG. We sell only shops and are not selling to end customer. If we can be of any help please do not hesitate to contact us again."

Alas, our follow-up inquiry regarding what shops it sells to has been met with eerie silence so far. We don't know what CEBO or CEBOG are, but they sound a little like something an organization staffed entirely by robots might produce; we think perhaps that initial email response we received came from the last human employed at the company, just before the final coup. If we learn otherwise, we'll let you know.

In the meantime, we have seen a few more models pop up on YOOX lately, including a pair of snogues that we're especially fond of. Alas, the largest size they're available in is 11. If, like us, you're a true fan, you'll spend the next half hour debating how necessary your toes really are. (They run nearly a full size small.)

Ask the MB: TST Sneakers

Ask the MB: TST Sneakers
Q: Do you know of any retailers (online or otherwise) that stock the TST sneaker collection? Apart from YOOX (which only offers selected items of previous collections) and (which seems to be a Spanish-based site not directly affiliated with the company) I have a hard time finding any retailer that sells those shoes.

It's nice that you recommend them but I can't seem to find them anywhere (except for small sale stock)

Editor's note: This is one of many emails regarding finding TST shoes. Good luck.

A: Jeff, finding TST shoes can be as hard as finding a stripper with real breasts, which is definitely part of the appeal that goes beyond their artfully disheveled styling. We used to see them at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, but frankly YOOX has been our supplier of late. No, they're not going to be the latest versions but YOOX has lots of options at discounted prices.

If you're looking for the 2011 F/W collection — which is terrific, BTW — we've discovered that part of it is going to be available later this week at LA retailer Qio which specializes in clothing, footwear, and accessories from Japan. They've ordered the 2039F (top), the 813L (middle), and the 3039L (bottom). They won't be available on the Qio web site so email or call Masako at 310-979-3555 to get into a pair. (They run small so add a size.)

Ask the MB: Chukka Boots

Ask the MB: Chukka Boots
Q: What's the best chukka out there?

A: Our favorite chukka at the moment is from MB fave TST, available here. In the waning days of summer, even the casual, laid-back feel of a classic chukka boot feels too fancy for us, so we turn to the TST 2229s, which add some sneaker genes (rubber sidewall, fat cotton shoelaces) to the classic chukka's DNA. Like all TSTs, the 2229s look like they were crafted by master artisans with an awful hangover — their lines are graceful, perfectly proportioned, but undeniably shaky. We love the effect.

Even with a debt ceiling deal, at current exchange rates these are going to run you $250. Which if you ask us is actually a pretty good value for shoes you can wear at work (if you're a "creative" or a professional shoe model) and at leisure. And why would you want to be anything but a "creative" or a professional shoe model, especially in the waning days of summer?

On Sale: TST Sneakers

On Sale: TST Sneakers
Late last summer we crowned TST our all-time favorite sneakers, and the intervening 9 months have done nothing to curb our enthusiasm for these hand-sketched, hand-finished shoes by designer Seishi Tanaka (pictured). We now own two pairs of the sneakers, two pairs of the boots, and are putting our Chucks on injured reserve.

These are the best Japanese export since the Walkman.

YOOX has a bunch of models on sale now, and while the discount on most pairs isn't super-deep at the moment, shipping is free.

Ask the MB: Header Sweater

Ask the MB: Header Sweater
Q: Definitely digging the new header. The holidays are a wonderful time for MBs to do what they do. Alas, the sweater featured on the model in the header is intriguing. Details?

A: Let's get all the header questions out of the way at once:

SWEATER: Heirloom fisherman-knit cardigan, hand-woven in wool by Jean Cooke in Killarney, Ireland
SHIRT: John Varvatos
DENIM: Adriano Goldschmied ("Protege" fit)
SOCKS: Paul Smith
BOOTS: TST (available at YOOX)
CHAIR: Vagabond Vintage
RUG: IKEA Koldby
HOUSE: 1936 colonial
BOW: Michaels (in Green Bay)
WOMAN: 100% Wisconsin, born and bred

Ask the MB: What Color Socks with Jeans and Sneakers?

Ask the MB: What Color Socks with Jeans and Sneakers?
Q: What color socks should I wear with my white TST sneakers and dark-blue AG jeans? What's the underlying principle here?

A: John, you've got superb taste.

Where we're from, white sneakers are on about the same wearing calendar as white pants -- Pulaski road slush really does a number on them -- which means the weather almost always calls for exposed ankles with this shoe-pant combo. But don't spare the socks. Even encased in stylish Japanese sneakers, feet without socks stink worse than Van Halen without David Lee Roth.

We've worn these for years and therefore highly recommend Banana Republic no-show loafer socks. They're now discounted so if you buy 3 or more pair they're just $5.43 each. (Choose white for this use, of course.) Another option (that we haven't tried) is young entrepreneur Philip Bunting's Mocc Sock & Co.'s version (pictured), which also come in gray and are only slightly more expensive than BR.

MB Endorses: TST Sneakers

MB Endorses: TST Sneakers
When we did our 10 Sneakers for S/S 2010 feature this spring, we had no idea we'd end up discovering our all-time favorite sneaker: TST. Hand-sketched by Japanese designer Seishi Tanaka, then hand-detailed in construction, these are an obscure, more stylish alternative to Chuck, Stan, Jack, and Rod. The human element -- along with the unique and super-comfortable three-piece sole construction -- gives these shoes an organic feel and degree of wabi-sabi, which is essentially Japanese for artful dishevelment.

You can buy them online at YOOX and Six Whiting Street. They fit slightly small to size, so add one.



Mezcal Rob Roy

  • 1 oz mezcal (Del Maguey Chichicapa)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

Stir all ingredients over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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