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Haute flip-flops; beer with a twist


The Great Pretender
Even if imitation isn't sincere, it's still flattery, so the Fendi sisters should be feeling pretty good right about now. LeSportsac's new Kiki bag is a sequin-speckled nylon take on the high-priced baguettes that celebrities, socialites, fashion editors, and the generally fabulous have been guarding with their lives against errant cigarettes and glasses of wine. Sterling-silver buckles, hand-stitching, beading, and embroidery aside, the real difference is on the price tag: $68, compared with up to $5,000 for a Fendi. The Kiki has already been spotted dangling from the arms of Kate Hudson, Marisa Tomei, and Andie MacDowell -- proof that even those who can afford the real thing may not be able to afford the dry-cleaning bills.

Lime Aid
Globetrotters with a taste for the tartier things in life have already sucked down France's panachés (two thirds beer, one third lemonade) and England's half-beer, half-lemonade shandys. Now regulars at Cafe Habana (17 Prince Street; 212-625-2001) are quenching their thirst with the chelada, a Mexican beer-on-ice drink that's mixed with a shot of lime juice and served in a salt-rimmed glass. Most are throwing back the Corona-spiked concoctions just after breakfast -- that's how light and Sprite-like the cocktail is. "Cheladas remind me of Mexico," says one enthusiast, who drank them growing up south of the border. "And who would have thought you could get vitamin C from alcohol?"

Footing the Bill
While the rest of the city is clopping around in rubber thongs from Old Navy, there's a group of flip-flop cognoscenti for whom only Ultrasuede, denim and ribbons, and python-embossed cottons will do. "Two-dollar flip-flops look like $2 flip-flops," sniffs Ria Jeon, the 27-year-old Daryl K marketing executive who created a higher-end version of the ubiquitous summer shoe when she wanted a polished compromise between her wintery Michel Perry stiletto boots and the Chinatown slides she shuffled around in last summer. Jeon's flip-flops, which sell under the label Mella at Henri Bendel, Mayle, Hedra Prue, and Scoop, run $44 to $62 -- which means there's not quite as much left over for pedicures.

Metal Heads
Even if you've already filled your closet with pleather pants and airbrushed Chloé tank tops, no Chrissie Hynde wannabe's wardrobe would be complete without some studded rocker gear. The metal years are being revisited at Kooba, where studs are stamped on an otherwise dainty leather bag ($250 at Language); at H&M, where they're scattered across eagle-print tube tops ($17); at Cynthia Rowley, where they adorn leather thong sandals ($145); and at DKNY, where they decorate neon belts ($48). If only you hadn't chucked those Fiorucci belts from high school.


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