For shoe designers in the 19th century, it probably would have seemed ludicrous to suggest that grooms would one day wear rubber-soled sneakers at their weddings. And yet, here we are. This unlikely evolution will be the subject of an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum this summer. “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” will look at how technical innovation, fashion trends, and celebrity endorsements have transformed the humble sneaker from a piece of footwear reserved for sport to a high-style item that actors like Robert Downey Jr. pair with tuxedos at the Oscars. Among the roughly 150 pairs to go on display are running shoes made by boot makers Thomas Dutton and Thorowgood in the 1860s, a pair of well-worn Converse All-Stars created circa 1917, and an impractical pair of high-heeled women’s sports shoes from the 1920s. The exhibit will also include multiple pairs of Nike Air Jordans as well as a pair of gold-studded roller boats designed by Christian Louboutin. (May 2015)
Another False Start for Brazilian Equities
Brazilian equities have had a volatile time of it of late. In November, stocks embarked on a nearly uninterrupted five-month decline, driven by a stalled economy and the government’s inability to find political consensus about how to promote sustainable growth. But things started to turn around in mid-March, thanks in large part to a recovery in global oil prices. Over the last two-and-a-half months, the Ibovespa index has risen 12 percent and the real has gained more than 6 percent against the dollar. But Credit Suisse’s Private Banking and Wealth Management division cautions investors not to get too excited. Over the past seven years, the benchmark index has risen more than 10 percent eight different times. Each time, the rally fizzled quickly, largely due to weak commodity prices and a lack of competitiveness. The current rally seems destined to meet the same fate. Brazilian corporate earnings are stagnant, and price-to-earnings multiples are a full standard deviation above their long-term average. Meanwhile, economic growth was flat last year, and GDP is expected to contract 1 percent this year. These are hardly the signals of a long-lasting recovery. (May 2015)
Articles first published in The Financialist
JENS ERIK GOULD
Jens Erik Gould is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News.