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Houston sneakerheads can kick it at this serious shoe festival

kickin' it

When it first started in 2004, the H-Town Sneaker Summit was held was a sports bar, where sneaker enthusiasts in and around Houston bought, sold, and/or traded the coolest kicks. But, over the years, with more and more attendees and vendors flocking to the convention every year, there have been spacious summits held at Toyota Center and NRG Park.

Since we're still basking in the afterglow of the Astros winning the World Series, this year's summit, happening Sunday, July 22, will be at Minute Maid Park. Event coordinator Tasha Sanders hopes this summit will be just as good as the Summit held last December, which drew in nearly 4,000 people. "December was a great turnout," she says. "I feel like that was one of our better shows. We had a lot of people. We had D'wayne Edwards, who used to be a lead designer at Jordan last year. Summer's always the bigger show, because a lot of people don't have work and school and whatever."

Sanders is hoping for double the attendance at the upcoming summit, which will have 100 or so vendors, specializing in shoes, accessories, apparel, and more. All the biggie shoe brands are scheduled to be represented, including Adidas, Reebok, and Jordan. Other Houston-area sneaker boutiques, like Premium Goods, Active Athlete Inc., and Proper will have their own tables. Local celebs are also scheduled to appear, like rappers Bun B, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug (who will most likely be hawking his BossLife clothing line). And since, in the past, rappers have also done impromptu freestyle performances, don't be surprised if some might hit the mike during this.

The Sneaker Summit has became such a major event in sneaker culture, it has spawned Sneaker Summits in New York, Los Angeles, Austin and — coming next month — Kansas City. Sanders feels that while those events have their moments, nothing beats the genuine article. "Ours is more like a production and whatnot," she says. "The other shows are great. It's like we're great at what we do, and they're great at what they do. It's a different demo, you know. Houston's like its own country."

According to Sanders, the Houston show is where she has seen sneaks she'd never thought she'd see up close. "I've seen some Mags, some Nike Mags, from Back to the Future," she says. "I don't know if they were for sale, but that would probably be the most expensive that I know of. I mean, you can't even get those. Like, you had to, I think, bid on those though charity. So, those are really, really rare."

This is a special weekend for Sneaker Summit. On Saturday, July 21, the Sneaker Summit store on S. Shepherd will celebrate two years of business. So, expect them to also show off some unique, hard-to-find footwear the following day. "We have a Kobe," says Sanders, referring to the retired basketball great's line of Nike shoes. "There are only 81 pairs in the world, so we have a couple of those. So, yeah, you'll see a lot of shoes that, like I said, you'll probably never see in your life — or thought you'd never see in life."


The H-Town Sneaker Summit kicks it on Sunday, July 22, at Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford St. 3 pm to 8 pm. $20-$150. For more information, visit this site.

Sneaker Summit organizers expect double the crowd from last year.

Sneaker Summit Houston
Courtesy photo
Sneaker Summit organizers expect double the crowd from last year.

Where to Shop Now: Pop-up stores, new Victoria Beckham and Karlie Kloss collections, and more

Where to Shop Right Now

From home décor, beauty store openings, and collection launches, we have something for every shopper to indulge in this month. We figure since yu are doing a little spring cleaning, it is only fitting to replace those items with new shiny ones!

Kate Spade Launches Wall Décor

Kate Spade New York has debuted a collection of wall décor featuring an array of colors, photographs, patterns, and sayings that are sure to add a splash of sass to any living room, bedroom, or office wall. Wendover Art Group is the collaborator of the cheeky 60-plus piece collection. The flirty and trendy fashion brand already features home décor items such as rugs, bedding, lighting, and cookware. There are pieces that I am adding to my shopping cart to hang in my office as we speak. Prices range from $150-$1,495.

Express Announces Karlie Kloss x Express Collection

Supermodel Karlie Kloss has teamed up with Express to launch a limited-edition collection that features more than 100 looks for the fashion-forward woman on the go. The collection features an array of maxi dresses, embellished bomber jackets, and vibrant tees. "This collection is made for everyday women—the strong, dynamic, on-the-go achievers among us," said Kloss. The Karlie Kloss x Express Collection ranges in price from $24.90 - $168.00 and is available online at express.com and in stores.

NYX Professional Makeup Grand Opening in Houston

Matte lipstick and contouring has become just as important as the perfect peep-toed pump. To make your makeup needs even more accessible, NXY Professional Makeup has opened its fifth store in Texas at The Galleria, offering beauty shoppers an exclusive interactive makeup station featuring custom video tutorials, a trend-based Lip Bar, and Shadow Bar.

NAMU SHOP Hosts Pop-up in Houston

Houston based retailer NAMU SHOP will host a pop-up event on April 29 at Myth & Symbol located in Rice Village. The Japanese and Korean-inspired retailer is founded on the idea of regional modernism. The name echoes their timeless design that can be seen in an array of their pieces. NAMU SHOP is a creation of men’s and women’s clothing focused on casual yet refined styles for everyday wear.

First Ever TOOTSIES Pop-Up Shop

Luxury retailer Tootises has launched its first-ever pop-up shop located across the street from the West Ave flagship store. Tootsies Takes Off features exclusive labels and prices to entice the on-the-go tastemaker looking to make an impact on the Houston fashion scene. It's open Wednesday-Saturday from 11 am - 6 pm and Sunday from noon-5 p.m., and offers new selections each week. Labels like Diane von Furstenberg, Trina Turk, Lafayette 148 NY, Joie, and Alice + Olivia, are featured.

Victoria Beckman for Target

Designer Victoria Beckman has teamed up with Target to launch a capsule collection featuring over 200 items, including sizes for all body types as well as children’s apparel. The collection features floral prints, scalloped trimmed tops, and vibrant colors that are sure to catch any eye. As can be expected, certain looks were sold out within moments. However, the majority of all items remain available online and at various Target locations. Prices range from $25-$70.

Topshop Takes On Bridal

British fast-fashion retailer has launched a bridal collection, available online and at the Galleria store. It features five limited-edition bridal gowns, 25 bridesmaid dresses, and various pieces with ruffle, satin, and cap sleeve ascents. The gowns have an airy carefree vibe, while others have a more traditional flair in a range of pastel and nude shades. The collection also includes an assortment of shoes, hair accessories, and lingerie to complement all of the featured dresses. Prices range from $150-$1,500.

Tommy Bahama Baseball Collection

Island-inspired retailer Tommy Bahama has unveiled its 2017 Major League Baseball premium apparel collection, including camp shirts, dugout crewnecks, palm print polos, and league shirt styles in various styles available for all 30 teams. I already have my eye on a couple of Texas Rangers shirts to wear to Globe Life Park in Arlington. The line of officially licensed MLB apparel was introduced in 2009 with the launch of the first "Collector's Edition" shirt to celebrate the World Series, followed by the first collection of team shirts for the 2010 MLB season. Shirts range in price from $58- $158 with collectable MLB bandannas coming in at $32.

Launch Pop-Up

Houston First Corporation and fashion influencer Sydney Dao have extended the LAUNCH pop-up shop through the end of the year. LAUNCH showcases 10-12 local designers that will rotate each month. Located on the ground floor of Houston Partnership Tower at 701 Avenida De Las Americas in a 2,000-square-foot space, LAUNCH showcases 10-12 Houston designers, including Kimono Zulu, Purple Cactus, Steve Guthrie, and Katherine Zeren, whose designs rotate each month.

Kiehl’s Celebrates Earth Month

In celebration of Earth Month, Kiehl's will donate $1 to Recycle Across America for every empty jar, bottle or tube from the natural skin products retailer brought to a Houston-area store. Spend $100 at a Kiehl’s retail stores or Kiehls.com through April 26 and receive a reusable water bottle filled with four deluxe samples of your choice. On Kiehls.com, enter code EARTH at checkout.

Victoria Beckham launches capsule collection with Target.

Photo by Hoyoung Lee

Texas Stylemaker launches sweet new subscription art service

Mail-Order Art

Monthly subscription services are hardly novel, but the latest iteration from Russian-born Dallasite (and 2016 CultureMap Stylemaker finalist) Ekaterina Kouznetsova shows promise. ArtMail is built on Kouznetsova’s desire to “make it effortless to buy incredible art and discover international artists.”

Like a personal curator, the service scouts exclusive museum-quality prints from a variety of international artists and then ships them to members’ doors.

Kouznetsova — a recent University of Texas at Dallas grad with bachelor’s degrees in marketing, global business, and art history — first had the idea after realizing the intimidation factor that often comes with shopping for original art.

“I noticed many of my friends outside of the art world felt intimidated by art, wanting to explore it and collect, but not knowing where to begin.”

To bridge the gap, she spent more than a year developing ArtMail, culminating with the website’s launch earlier this month.

“Placing art in a comfortable setting allows the art-curious to learn and grow at their own pace without pressure or inconvenience,” she says. “I included curated preferences, making it easy for [people] to discover great art from around the world.”

A resource for “the culturally curious, the unorthodox art collector” and “interior designers” alike, ArtMail relies on “art-watchers” in cities — Moscow; Paris; and Glasgow, Scotland, to name a few — across the globe. The goal is to create a “diverse and dynamic” selection of prints that can’t be found anywhere else.

Featured artists hail from more than 20 countries, with styles ranging from impressionistic to abstract. Artists receive a commission on every print sold, along with “increased awareness and promotion of their work, especially in the U.S. market.”

ArtMail members receive an exclusive 8-by-10-inch art print either once a month, once every two months, or once every three months (depending on what you choose), and prices start at $54. Pieces can be professionally framed for an additional charge and always come matted. To ensure each piece is in keeping with their aesthetic, members are asked to set preferences at sign-up. Not in love with the print you receive? Return it within two weeks for a full refund.

In mid-2017, Kouznetsova plans to hold an ArtMail Masters show, where art can be purchased directly from the artists.

"We're continuously working to expand our selection of sizes, frames, and artists," she says. “ArtMail has the potential to become a household name, to bring art and joy into everyday life while supporting talented artists."

Ekaterina Kouznetsova is the founder of ArtMail.

Ekaterina Kouznetsova
Photo by Hoyoung Lee
Ekaterina Kouznetsova is the founder of ArtMail.
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The results are in: Oil and gas attorney with panache is Houston's top Stylemaker

Houston Stylemaker

CultureMap readers have rendered a verdict on their favorite Houston Stylemaker and it wasn't even close.

In September, we introduced you to the 12 semifinalists in our second annual CultureMap Stylemaker Awards, celebrating the Bayou City's most stylish, as nominated by our savvy readers and selected by a judging panel. From those semifinalists, six finalists emerged: Alfredo Rojas, Travis Cal, Kavya Pernankil, Gregg Harrison, Michael Pearce, and Chiara Casiraghi Brody.

Before they moved on to the final round of public voting, we treated each to a photo shoot with noted Houston fashion photographer Jay Marroquin. We also scooped up some style secrets from the bunch that you can read here.

At last, the voting has ended and a clear favorite emerged: Our readers selected man-about-town Michael Pearce, who garnered more than two-thirds of all votes cast. Pearce has a unique sense of style, which voters noted, and an extensive social media network of supporters. We caught up with the winner and here's what he had to say:

CultureMap: How does it feel to be the Stylemaker Award winner as the most stylish person in town, as selected by CultureMap readers?

Micheal Pearce: Humbling. Getting nominated was an honor, especially with Houstonians I admire and respect, but I was truly taken aback to see so many people and organizations sending out emails and posting on Facebook asking others to vote for me. You never realize how many lives you touch until something like this happens. I once heard “a man who has friends is never poor." Well, today I feel like the richest man in town.

CM: You are senior legal counsel for an oil company — a conservative industry that isn't usually associated with style. How do you dress for the office and stay true to yourself?

MP: I don’t know about that. The oil industry has come a long way from the Beverly Hillbillies days of black gold and Texas tea. There are a lot of Houstonians working in oil and gas I consider fashionable. While it is true I don’t typically go to the office dressed the way you see me about town, on TV or at events, even at the office I will wear a bold tie and snappy shoes.

I’m not going to lie. I do respect Jed Clampett’s commitment to always wearing jeans and a blazer, so maybe I am still a little Jed — just with better shoes. Please note before you take back my title, I did let go of the tattered hat and rope belt.

CM: How would you describe your style outside of the office?

MP: Much like my years in college I will have to go with “experimental.” I’ve transformed several times since college: coming out of rehab for alcohol addiction; moving to a state where I didn’t know anyone to start law school; coming out of the closet; and most recently, going through a mid-life crisis and losing more than 100 pounds.

Those transitions taught me to take risks and not to be so serious. A large portion of my life I worried too much about fitting into a role or perception of who I should be. I hid behind my clothes. Now, in my 40s, I’m not hiding anymore. I’ve walked the red carpet with a champagne glass glued to my butt a la Kim Kardashian (my hashtag was #TheInternetWasUnharmed) and done a faceplant a la Amy Schumer, all to promote charitable causes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been told those risks don’t always pay off. I’m sure there are people wondering if a sighted person picked out my outfit on occasion. That’s okay. I’m wearing my clothes for me, not anyone else.

CM: You are so busy with work, husband, kids and a busy social life. How do you stay stylish?

MP: It’s taken me a while, but I’ve learned I don’t have to do it all. Instead, I find time for the things that matter to me. Now I am drawn to things that include my children. The same is true with fashion. My daughter is very involved in picking out not just what she wears, but also what I wear. More than once she’s clocked me getting dressed for a night out and remarked, “No daddy, not that tie!”

I love that she’s found her voice. I hope she does the same with her fashion and doesn’t wait until she’s in her 40s to listen to it like I did.

CM: Where are your favorite places to shop in Houston?

MP: If you asked my husband, he’d list some pricey boutiques and department stores, but honestly I’m not that fancy. I don’t spend a lot on staples like jeans or dress shirts. I spend my money on accessories (ties, shoes and belts). A white T-shirt doesn’t have to cost $100.

Houston has a lot of remarkable choices for men’s clothing. It’s no secret I’m a Lucho devotee. I won a Tie of the Month Club at a charity fundraiser a while ago and have been smitten with them ever since. I also love The Webster, M Penner, Festari for Men, as well as Zara and H&M.

For the record, I just checked my bank account to see what clothing stores I shop at the most, and it seems most of my money goes to Starbucks and Home Depot. Now that’s telling.

CM: What makes a person stylish?

MP: Abraham Lincoln once said, “Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it.” Well, to be fair, I read that on the internet. While you can’t always believe what you read online, Honest Abe was right. The people I think of as stylish don’t look like anyone else I know. They aren’t buying entire looks off the runway like Garanimals. Stylish people have a clear voice and fearless devotion to it.

CM: Who do you think has style - both in Houston and nationally?

MP: There are a lot of people in Houston that could make that list. I don’t dare try and list them all. Instead I’ll just go with the first five that come to mind: Fady Armanious, Vivian Wise, Nick Florescu, Staci Henderson, and Beth Muecke. They are most definitely Stylemakers to me.

Nationally, I’m going to go with Stewie Griffin from Family Guy. That guy has more looks than Kanye West’s mirror.

Michael Pearce is overwhelmed to be named the top Stylemaker as voted by CultureMap readers as he is crowned by the reigning Miss Houston Logan Lester.

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Gigantic 50-foot shark's jaw-dropping debut tears into Houston's top stories of the week

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Gigantic 50-foot shark dives into Houston museum for jaw-dropping new showcase of Earth's greatest predator. Visitors can meet these fin-tastic friends via a 360-square-foot virtual “shark tank,” where sharks of all shapes and sizes swim by.

2. Esquire toasts Heights watering hole as only Texas spot on 2023's Best Bars in America list. The bar takes its inspiration from classic dives like Alice's Tall Texan and the Shiloh Club.

3. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo makes history with election of first female chairman of the board. She takes over for departing chairman Brady Carruth..

4. Houston Tex-Mex institution serves up opening date for long-awaited West University location. It joins sister concept Adair Kitchen in the Kroger-anchored shopping center.

5. This is how big Houston apartments get for $1,500 a month. If you head to neighboring Pasadena, residents get an average of 1,180 square feet of space for the same price.

Meet the gifted chef showcasing authentic, home-grown Greek fare to Houston, plus hottest food news

What's Eric Eating Episode 285

On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Mary Cuclis joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Kriti Kitchen. The Pondicheri veteran opened the family-friendly Greek restaurant in January.

The conversation begins with Cuclis explaining how she entered the world of professional cooking. Prior to opening Kriti Kitchen, she trained at Bo Innovation, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong, and spent 10 years working for James Beard Award finalist Anita Jaisinghani at Pondicheri, the acclaimed, Indian-inspired restaurant in Upper Kirby.

At Kriti Kitchen, she honors her Greek heritage by serving dishes she's experienced when visiting family in Greece. Sandler asks her about the ways in which her cooking is different from Houston's other Greek restaurants.

"A lot of the Greek food I found in Houston was very delicious but very much street food. The kind of food I'm wanting to portray is more homestyle, things that I eat with my relatives," she says.

"For example, when you go to a taverna in Crete, a lot of times it's a couple running the whole thing. They invite you back into the kitchen to smell the stew. It's stewed meat and a lot of fresh vegetables with beans and lentils. I don't think too many people see that side of Greek food. I wanted to share a little bit of what I see with my family and what we eat when we're there."

Listen to the full interview to hear Cuclis explain why Kriti Kitchen offers both dine-in options during the day as well as heat-and-serve options that customers can pick up for dinner. She also discusses her goals for the future.

Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Rebecca Masson, chef-owner of Fluff Bake Bar, discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Nobie's owners Martin and Sara Stayer's plans to open a new pizzeria; Roswell's Saloon opening in Montrose; New York City's Lady M establishing a permanent presence in the Galleria; and Masson's experiences during Austin's Hot Luck food festival.

In the restaurants of the week segment, Sandler and Masson share their thoughts about meals at two new Italian restaurants. First, they recount the highs and lows of a meal at Triola's Kitchen. Then, they share first impressions of Bari Ristorante, a new restaurant in River Oaks District that serves classic Italian dishes.

Mary Cuclis Kriti Kitchen

Photo by Ajna Jai

Chef Mary Cuclis is this week's guest.


Subscribe to "What's Eric Eating" on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Saturdays at 2 pm on ESPN 97.5.

Famed luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo steps into Houston with stylish boutique in first outlet locale


Local favorite Houston Premium Outletshas exciting news for fashion-forward and price-conscious shoppers. The renowned luxury brand Jimmy Choo has recently opened its doors, bringing its signature high-end styles and accessories to Houston.

Shoppers will be delighted to find an extensive range of Jimmy Choo's coveted collection, including trendy shoes, chic bags, stylish eyewear, cute small leather goods, and other must-have accessories.

The luxury footwear brand hit the scene in the 1990s and quickly became a favorite of Princess Diana. Carrie Bradshaw and Sex in the City catapulted the shoe to a household name and the shoes became synonymous with femininity and luxury.

With more than 200 stores worldwide, Jimmy Choo is no stranger to the fashion scene. However, this outlet store marks its first in Houston, making its elevated shopping experience more accessible to a broader array of discerning buyers.

Savvy Houston shoppers will be thrilled to find top-notch designer pieces at prices that won't break the bank. Jimmy Choo joins other luxury brands at Houston Premium Outlets, such as Armani Outlet, Burberry, Tory Burch, Coach, and Cole Haan. It's the perfect excuse to make the journey to Houston Premium Outlets and stock up on summer wardrobe essentials.


Jimmy Choo

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Choo/Instagram

The Jimmy Choo boutique at Houston Premium Outlets includes shoes, bags, stylish eyewear, small leather goods, and other must-have accessories.

Jimmy Choo; Suite 955, near Armani Outlet; Houston Premium Outlets – (Suite 955, near Armani Outlet); 29300 Hempstead Rd. in Cypress.