Inside outsider

Times Staff Writer

Band of Outsiders designer Scott Sternberg has hopped on the footwear bandwagon. Or should we say "sailboat"?

Sternberg has updated the classic Top-Sider created by avid sailor Paul Sperry in 1935. The quirky look is a tribute to the shoes that Sternberg has been wearing his whole life. "It's about looking at my past and reinterpreting it to make it cool for now," Sternberg says.

So he deconstructed the preppy style and reworked the shoe from the inside out. Instead of the standard leather and rubber, Sternberg used gym-shoe nylon and ditched the laces. Now the slip-on -- in black and white, brown on brown and other combinations -- has the "Made in China" tag on the outside, a high-tech rubber sole and a young-Hollywood-in-club-land look.

On another version, Sternberg worked his fashion magic in cream or black grosgrain -- think Top-Sider as tuxedo accouterment. The style feels like "formalwear for the '50s," he says. "A Havana, Cuba, vibe."

Can a Top-Sider really be tuxedo worthy? Maybe not. But it's definitely an improvement on the sloppy slip-ons that have become standard menswear. Let's hope they don't turn up in a black-tie buffet line anytime soon.

Band of Outsiders Top-Sider shoes are $225 at Opening Ceremony, 451 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 652-1120; and eluxury.com.

SALE

LDC Sample Sale: Today: Some of Los Angeles' best-kept shopping secrets have turned into paparazzi playgrounds. Regain some insider status at this sale of more than 50 designers. Trina Turk, Vivienne Westwood, Mike & Chris and Lamb are just a few of the wholesale-priced names to be found. Current and past season goods include shoes and accessories too. Don't forget to hit the ATM, pre-shopping spree: This sale is cash only. Farmarni Gallery, 844 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 657-5756. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

TRUNK SHOWS

Club SkinnyJeans Wednesday: Apparently size 0s have wardrobe woes too. Tiny gals who have trouble fitting into regular-people jeans can see the complete line from this denim maker, which caters to a 23- to 27-inch- waist clientele. Baggy Sleepover jeans ($175) look like they came from your boyfriend's hamper and offer the svelte a casual, easy look. ClubSkinny claims that its jeans are cut low to show off self-discipline, so on-hand treats from Wonderland Bakery are probably out of the question. All profits from the event will be donated to juvenile diabetes research. Karizma Boutique. 2908 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar. (949) 219-0023. 5 to 8 p.m. www.karizmaboutique.com.

Neil Bieff Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Spring is on the horizon, which means that events and weddings are about to take your weekends hostage. Neil Bieff, the New York-based formalwear designer, will keep you well-wardrobed with his collection of gowns, suits and evening separates. Standouts are found in Bieff's beaded and sequin pieces, each done by hand ($2,500 to $5,000). Alley Boutique. 8465 1/2 Melrose Alley, Los Angeles. (323) 655-1357. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

EVENT

On Sunset Spring Trend Report Saturday: Lauralee Bell isn't just a soap opera star and shopkeeper -- she's a fashion educator too. "The Young and the Restless" actress is hosting her own hourlong version of Style 101, turning dressing dunces into fashion buffs along the way. Duduzile Mkhize will lead a discussion on the do's and don'ts of this season's most popular colors, prints and shapes. Bell serves as visual aid by modeling garments from Valentino, Barbara Bui and Moschino. Refreshments will be served, and three students will walk away with store gift certificates. You can leave your No. 2 pencils at home. 8711 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 289-8711. Begins at 11 a.m.

OPENINGS

Oscar de la Renta: Uptown has arrived down the coast in the form of this fashion master's first Orange County boutique. The 2,600-square-foot space may be in a mall (the horror!), but it still serenely showcases De la Renta's complete ready-to-wear and accessories collections. Among the goods found only in free-standing De la Renta shops are the leather "Audley" bag ($1,990), which will gain a shiny alligator twin ($19,950) in the coming weeks. A brown tie-dye caftan ($2,090) is elegant and exotic -- enough to make you forget that you're shopping among mass retail. South Coast Plaza, 333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. (714) 754-9044. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. www.oscar delarenta.com.

Halsea: Travel is daunting enough without the boring black bags that get lost in baggage-area crowds. Veteran accessories designer Sally Bartz has opened her first boutique, allowing her to move out of the garage she has been calling her office. The entire Halsea collection of nautical-inspired totes are available, including a roller suitcase complete with sea horses ($335) and a crab-patterned tennis racquet case ($88). 409 31st St., Newport Beach. www.halsea.com.

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erin.weinger@latimes.com

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