The place that sneakers hold in pop culture has recently achieved an unheard of degree of importance. This is because some of the sneaker world’s most pioneering shoes have started to be readapted as collaborations, which are those that are most sought after. Emblematic collaborations where streetwear names meet couture ones for collector’s pieces made to be showcased on one’s feet.
Sneaker Collaborations: Cult Pieces
The age of sports sneakers, made especially for this or that sport, seems eons away. For a few years now, sneakers sit on the throne of desirable objects, inciting riots when they’re not breaking auction records.
Indeed, a few iconic pieces have made the sneakers realm rise to the on which they sit today; from the Chuck Taylor to the Air Jordan and, recently, the world famous range of Dior sneakers, they transformed fashion as well as luxury, in a broader sense.
Although they already shine in their original state, the real power of these sneaker collaborations is the way they sell for astronomic prices as soon as they fall into the hands of an artist, a sports celebrity, or a designer. A sophisticated and complex world which unravels in this beautiful book.
Naturally, the first one to come to mind is the Chuck Taylor. Created in 1921 and destined to be a simple basketball sneaker, it transcended its original status to, in turn, become the symbol of the renegade’s shoe, in tune with all times and always cool. The world’s most universal and versatile shoe has, over the years, has been subject to numerous reinterpretations now become legendary. The latest, and far from being the least, is a LGBTQIA+ rainbow stamped iteration of the shoe, in honor of the movement; a positivity drenched rainbow, the symbol of the diversity of gender and sexual identities.
The Chuck Taylor also serves as a basis for one of the more experimental houses; its long lasting partnership with Comme des Garçons Play is one of the most robust ones in the collaboration world. Here is the new opus of the mythical Chuck Taylor under the influence of Comme des Garçons Play.
The other sneaker unquestionably thrones over the collaboration pantheon is the Air Jordan. If its important history, which makes half the legend, is explained in this book, the myth of the Air Jordan and its various collabortive iterations can also be understood by looking at the shoe as the cultural, aesthetic and sports phenomenon that it is.
” It’s by far the most accomplished shoe in the history of sneakers.” Nike’s Chris Van Dyke once proudly declared.
Just as there only ever was one Coco Chanel, there will only ever be one Michael Jordan. His athletic capabilities, his charisma and his showmanship have left a permanent mark on the sneaker world. And the Air Jordan represents that mark. A legend that began in March 1985, when Michael Jordan stepped onto the court wearing his Air Jordan 1s for the very first time. A shoe that now exists in countless variations, to be discovered and purchased here.
The Adidas Superstar, another giant of the collaboration realm. The first ever collaboration between a sportswear company and an artist, that of Adidas and Run-DMC, built around the Raising Hell and the “My Adidas” hit song. “A proud ode to the joys of the Superstar”, are the rappers’ words about the song.
Since 1969, the year the Superstar was launched, the plain sneaker has become a cult classic in the fashion universe, and a style icon in general.
Collectors’ Sneakers: The New Outline Of The Luxury World
Beyond collaborations between companies and celebrities, the sneaker universe also has another realm, that of luxury collaborations between the biggest and finest brands and the most avant-garde artists. The obviously incomplete list of collaborations is available here. It seems as though every release surpasses the previous release’s creativity.
Among these huge collaborations between fashion and sneakers, we can find, for example, the name of Raf Simons on a pair of Puma shoes. Comme des Garçons on Chuck Taylor’s and on Nike’s Air Max 180. From Virgil Abloh to Sean Wotherspoon to Travis Scott. The most sanctified names of the streetwear world grace those of the cultural myths that have become these same shoes.
In 2020, a new milestone is passed with the Air Jordan 1 OG Dior. In a white and iconic Dior Montaigne gray combination, the Air Jordan 1 OG Dior marry the French house’s oblique canvas and the iconic Swoosh. Obviously, they are stamped with Air Jordan’s Wings logo.
Both these brands are symbols of absolute excellence in ther respective fields. To bring them together is to offer something quite exciting and new.” specified Kim Jones, the current artistic director at Dior Homme.
Both drenched in Air Jordan’s cool aura and Dior’s sublime couture hritage, these sneakers naturally drove people crazy at their first introduction on Dior’s 2019 runway in Miami, and they still do today.
Thus, the sneaker realm flirts with a new one, one where avant-garde designers also make a show of strength to give an unheard of version of these icons.
The bold approach of Korean designer Juun J meets the icon that is Reebok’s Pump Omni Zone II from 1991. A sneaker that became legend at the feet of Dee Brown at the 1991 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, when he achieved a mythical dunk, made possible by the sneaker. A story to discover here.
More inspiring and inspired eben, the Reebok x Maison Margiela Classic Leather Tabi. Inspired by japanese slippers, Martin Margiela wanted, with the Tabi Boots, to create shoes that would give the impression of a naked foot standing on a heel. The Reebok x Martin Margiela Classic Leather Tabi flirts with an unkown universe, that of 1983’s Classic Leather, THE streetwear shoe, which now meets Antwerp’s avant-garde.
Icon-Icon has put together, in this new section, the collaboarations that make sneakers embark on towards new, more original and sophisticated horizons. A selecton of ready to wear pieces. A selection that is also understood when reading these beautiful books about the subject.