COMME des GARÇONS
Over-proportioned silhouettes, an emphasis on anti-fashion and a whole heap of gothic energy, these are the main elements that help make up the COMME des GARÇONS universe, and more specifically the French named Japanese native high fashion streetwear hybrid labels work in the context of what we put on our feet. COMME des GARÇONS which translates in English as “like boys” has been a long term collaborator with footwear tycoon Nike, and the partnership has already seen some of the most outrageous and peculiar designs to date. Translating the brand’s ethos into a footwear context has never been a necessarily smooth and seamless transition for the more progressive and ‘out there’ brands for several reasons. COMME des GARÇONS has always managed to write their own rules in terms of what is regarded acceptable in the footwear landscape, and their continued success speaks volumes for the greater state of play in the fashion world at the moment, people like different, and the shoes COMME des GARÇONS produce for Nike are undoubtedly different.
Supreme x Comme des Garçons x Air Force 1 Low ‘Black’
Whether it is a bashfully attached and undeniably comical amount of sole applied to the bottom of a Nike Cortez in a platform-esque manor, or a childish dinosaur mould applied to the front end of an Air Force 1, COMME des GARÇONS does the thing you wouldn’t think of doing. Even creating a variant on the classic Nike Air Presto that best resembles a one-man tent rather than a popular running shoe. From the strange to the sublime, it is safe to say for all the eyebrow-raising designs to come out of the Japanese labels trainer portfolio, there is an equal number of jaw-dropping ones also. A prime example of this would be the three-way collaboration on the Supreme x Comme des Garçons x Air Force 1 Low ‘Black’ which dropped in late 2018 and was met with widespread critical acclaim due to its simple yet refined design that stayed true to the original silhouette while still delivering a shoe and that very much improved the collaboration.
Comme des Garçons x Air VaporMax ‘Black’
Designer Rei Kawakubo has actually brought an interestingly diverse range across his footwear catalogue, presenting a Jekyll and Hyde-like night and day between the weird and the wonderful. Another example of his minimalist and overwhelmingly successful approach comes from the brand’s work with another one of Nike’s most prized possessions, the Air VaporMax. The laceless Comme des Garçons x Air VaporMax ‘Black’ just like the Air Force 1 I just mentioned is an exercise in restraint from the designers and one that has been very well received since it dropped in 2017. COMME des GARÇONS does a lot of things well, and it is that aesthetic diversity that makes it so exciting every time an announcement is made about a potential trainer collaboration because quite simply it is complicated to predict what you are going to get from the brand.
COMME des GARÇONS x Nike Shox TL
The latest project to come out of the ongoing partnership between COMME des GARÇONS and Nike is one that takes a silhouette that perhaps isn’t everyone’s first choice, the Nike Shox TL, and attempts to push it back into relevance with an innovative and contemporary reimagining. The resulting creation comes as a two colourway pack in triple white and triple black is something that I find very appealing for a lot of reasons, but I can acknowledge it isn’t for everyone. The Nike Shox TL silhouette, in general, isn’t the most widely loved in the Nike archive, it’s cylindrical pillar sole system is one of the most unique features in the footwear universe but has never been one to be met with consistent acclaim. The COMME des GARÇONS x Nike Shox TL imprints a high dose of seemingly DIY elements and chain-ornaments to the bulky Nike Shox TL in order to create an aesthetic that speaks to the source material of the silhouette while presenting something that can genuinely elevate it for 2019. Opting against the hardshell uppers of its predecessors that almost could be said to resemble that of the Nike TN, for one of a soft mesh, while an embroidered swoosh comes backed with layers of the fluffy synthetic while extra piece frill off at the edge of the seams to help promote the unfinished and somewhat deconstructed aesthetic. This soft in comparison iteration of the Nike Shox TL definitely falls on the minimalistic side for COMME des GARÇONS, and although perhaps for a lot of people, the choice of silhouette might be a head-scratching one. You can’t deny that the brand as a whole stands on the front line of all things fashion and it is very possible that a design of this nature is just what the Nike Shox TL needs to reposition itself at the top of the trainer world.