Une of the most surprising aspects that Virgil Abloh bequeathed us belongs to pop culture and is the possibility (seen as an absolute opportunity) to connect apparently unrelated worlds. The main rule of his grammar was to masterfully mix subcultures, genres and linguistic registers. By subverting many self-imposed rules of the fashion system, he was thus able to open a new gateway, full of infinite possibilities. That of Virgil Abloh with Louis Vuitton and Nike, for example, it had been a highly anticipated project that now, despite the designer is no longer here with us, is finding its own realization. That’s how.
Louis Vuitton and Nike: the collab
Flashback: June 2021, Spring Summer 2022 fashion show. Louis Vuitton unveils the new collectible sneakers designed by Virgil Abloh in partnership with Nike. Models that, as soon as they appear on the show, feed the fever of all sneaker collectors (and not). That’s why many today are ready to bet that they will sell out within minutes of launch. Could not, in fact, tell us better the new Air Force 1 sneaker by Louis Vuitton and Nike: with a exhibition, an exclusive launch and a charity project to support the cause.
“Many people expected all of this from Virgil’s first show – explained to wwd Michael Burke, President and CEO of Louis Vuitton. – I remember people regretting not having seen a sneaker like this in his first fashion show. Virgil, however, always said he didn’t want to run. He did not want to indulge that part of the clientele that was already ready for all this. She wanted to start first with fashion and ready-to-wear, with drapes, cuts, fabrics. And she wanted to find out more about the use of leather ». And perhaps, in hindsight, she wanted her genius to speak about her posthumously as well. “We knew it would happen someday. He [Virgil] had a special relationship with Nike. We knew we would do it and that he would dictate the timing anyway …“.
The collectible sneakers
“An object of art”. So we read in the caption of the launch on Instagram. Made one by one as if they were masterpieces from savoir faire of Italian artisans in the atelier of the maison in Fiesso d’Artico, in Veneto, the Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh of Louis Vuitton and Nike they blend the original sneaker codes with the Maison’s finest materials and features. But why did Virgil choose this model? Perhaps because it is a true emblem for an entire generation. So he himself had confided in 2021: “It is an iconic shoe, it was created long before me, but it took forty years before we could only think of combining it with a t-shirt or a dress …”.
Today, each model (nine in all) has been presented as the collection’s flagship sneaker Louis Vuitton men’s fashion Spring Summer 2022, it is available in Nike sizes, has different colors and textures and prices will vary from 2,000 to 2,500 euros. These are real objects of desire made both in the high and low versions, in white leather, in black suede or in two-tone (white / green, white / red, white / blue).
As if it were a hymn to the colors of the rainbow so dear to Virgil. Furthermore, the golden sneaker is intended as a special tribute to the late designer and to his first fashion show created for Louis Vuitton.
The exhibition and the auction
Good news, the launch of sneakers is near and is scheduled for next June on digital platforms. But that’s not all. The nine masterpieces will be the subject of a physical and virtual exhibition – together with other 47 unique models – which will be set up in New York, from 20 to 31 May at the immersive spaces of the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse. Plus, sneakers they were also the subject of a charity auction.
Last February, lucky buyers won 200 exclusive pairs sold only at Sotheby’s auction. They were thus collected 25.3 million dollars to be donated to charity al Virgil Abloh Post Modern Scholarship Fund. As Michael Burke commented, this is an absolute record, both for the amount achieved and for the interest achieved globally, from all over the world. Needless to specify, ça va sans dire, who is responsible for this success. We will quote only the words of the CEO of Louis Vuitton: “Which individual today manages to create such a feeling of global belonging? “.
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