Thursday, May 25, 2006

Shoes by Santana?

We all know what they say about a "jack-of-all-trades," right? Master of none. You'd think that Carlos Santana, of all people, would settle for being a master of one --that is, playing his guitar like a fiend-- and leave playing shoe stylist to the experts. Apparently not.

While I was tooling around Macy's, looking for a picture of the beautiful silver and white Alfani slides I recently purchased, 'Breathless,' these shoes caught my eye:

They're a neutral shade, casual enough to walk the mall or beaches in, and attractively 'different' from those staid metallics and wedges everyone (including me) is walking around in. Plus, I predict they'll last past the season's trends. So I was pretty much into these shoes when I managed to notice that they're Carlos, by Carlos Santana. What? Obviously my mind flashed to the many, many lines of clothing, purses, shoes, and makeup (I'm looking at you, Britney Spears, Kimora Lee, J Lo -- just stop, please!) by celebrities. Sometimes you just wonder why a girl who doesn't wear her own line (Jessica) and a girl who wears what... Britney... wears... (or doesn't wear) can dictate or sell to you. At least the Olsens and Sarah Jessica Parker have in fact managed to be style icons for years, and are therefore justified in their respective lines, and they haven't yet lost their credibility by marrying someone who's scraggly and looks like he's perpetually auditioning for the live-action Nightmare Before Christmas and might drink my blood (Lopez).

I'm sure I'm way, way late on this bandwagon. Santana started his own line in, what, 2001? Just, please tell me whose bright idea it was to market fashion suggested by a guy who's public image is as such:

Fragrance is one thing. But I just don't see how Santana can convincingly sell women's shoes. A music legend does not a designer make. Not that I believe he's sketched or conceived of a single shoe himself, but he has loaned his image to make the label, and I disapprove. An article from covers the Santana line and elaborates on the trend of using star names to push merchandise:

"On the other end of the 15-minute fame and money cynicism charts, some artists, such as Carlos Santana, leverage licensing and branded products to fund philanthropic causes. Carlos and his wife Deborah Santana together with his River of Colors licensing division teamed with Brown Shoe Company in 2001 to create "Carlos by Carlos Santana" women's shoes. Available in mainstream department stores and niche boutiques, the line, targeted for women ages 18 to 55, is sexy seventies inspired with lots of colors, unique prints and high heels—reflective of Santana's eclectic Latin rock music."

To explain the Santana shoe phenomena, the article offers:

"According to [Caryn Hartsock, brand manager for River of Colors], "[The shoe line] kind of goes hand in hand with Carlos' career in terms of you would never say this is the traditional route a musician would take."

Michael Jensen of Jensen Communications (the PR company behind Santana) says, "We realized [with the success of "Supernatural" in 2000] that Carlos had become more lifestyle than just him alone."

The entire article can be found here and is worth a read.

But what gives you the right to tell me what to put on my feet, Carlos Santana? I shop at Macy's, I'm in your target age, gender, and financial audience range-- I've even seen you perform live-- but how does your "lifestyle" relate to mine? I do not know. Ah, well. You're lucky those brown ones are cute.

Some more shoes by Carlos Santana can be found on, such as:

[UPDATE: In related news, Beyonce expands her line to include Juniors' apparel. And I ran into Ashlee Simpson's jewelry at Claire's but I actually surprised myself and found some of it cute! And I approve because it totally coincides with the punk image she's perpetuated from the start, skulls and kitsch glam.]

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