The Giuseppe Zanotti boutique in River Oaks District is already small, but it felt positively cramped Sunday night when some of Houston's biggest—and tallest—stars came out for the Urchin Rocks sneaker launch.
The new special-edition sneaker is a collaboration between the famed Italian luxury designer and Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, a self-proclaimed sneakerhead who told press he owns thousands of pairs of kicks.
"Sneakers for me are more than just an obsession, they're a form of self-expression, a reflection of how I feel," he said. "I've always been a huge fan of Giuseppe, and creating this sneaker with him has been a dream come true."
The collaboration, a $995 collector's item, is Tucker's updated take on Giuseppe's original Urchin low-top sneaker with 3D scales. In a nod to the Rockets' team colors, the shoe is blocked in red and black and features luxe materials like smooth leather, a suede toe, sculpted rubber, and artfully deconstructed zippers and laces.
A slew of Tucker's teammates came out to toast the unveiling, sending guests' eyes upward and collectively raising the average height in the room by about six inches (we're looking at you, Zhou Qi [7'1!]). Clint Capela, Michael Carter Williams, James Ennis III, Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, and Zhou Qi were some of the first to try on the Urchin Rocks, which they revealed from a series of bright red lockers set up inside the store. Inside, champagne flowed in Baccarat crystal; outside, guests sipped Scotch cocktails, puffed cigars, and shot hoops in an arcade-style basketball game installed outside the store. Later, Rockets stars Chris Paul and James Harden joined the celebration, posing for photos and signing shoes.
The players are known to regularly sport eccentric designer duds off the court—Harden famously covered GQ in a floral Gucci short suit this May—and Tucker, who hosted Sunday's private cocktail, was undeniably the sartorial star of the show in bright yellow Valentino pants, a Saint Laurent bomber jacket, and a sailboat-emblazoned hat.
"I've always been inspired by people who are passionate about fashion and style, whether musicians, actors, or athletes," said designer Giuseppe Zanotti. "It was great fun to work with P.J. on this special project."