Nike makes a habit of associating itself with the best and boldest in the fashion world from around the world, and the new bond they have formed – one that is somewhat of an unexpected but remarkably compatible relationship – with Japanese fashion label Sacai has translated into a duo of incredibly exciting designs that have braced the early part of 2019. Chitose Abe who founded Sacai in 1999 has been able to develop a style formed out of what she saw as a necessity, attempting to create a range of products that were comfortable enough to wear on the school run but wouldn’t be out of place on the runway. Sacai’s primary strength is its ability to seamlessly transition between fashionable and functional, with this versatility being the most significant factor in them becoming such a snug fit with Nike, and holds the key to the success of the collaboration.
Nike x Sacai
The capsule in question, which was due to drop in the early months of 2019 (although has experienced a number of delays) contains two hybrid Frankenstein style silhouettes; consisting of a mashup of four classic Nike designs. The first a blend of the Nike Waffler and LDV, and the second an amalgam of the Blazer Mid and Dunk High. This pair of patchwork creations are as close to Siamese twins as you are going to get in the trainer world, coming equipped with double tongues, double shoelaces, and double swooshes the models are abstract, out there, and very, very unique. The multi-functional ethos designer Chitose Abe has always aimed to achieve has filtered into the fabric of this collection. The desire to deliver to her audience two designs for the price of one has led to an aesthetic that M.C. Escher would be proud of, only with the added element of vibrant colour which elevates these pieces beyond the realms of just streetwear to that of an art installation.
First Look Sacai x Nike Blazer Mid
The staggered release of the Sacai x Nike collaborated footwear only elevated the level of anticipation surrounding the models, and after the Sacai x LDV Waffle was met with almost resounding acclaim in the middle of May, it was time for the Sacai x Blazer Mid to take centre stage a few weeks later. Dropping in to distinctive colourways a black/blue and a yellow/navy ensemble, both designs share a luxurious and premium feel that is atypical of Sacai, producing a collection that brimming with contemporary flair and that is all thanks to the Japanese brand’s influence. The dual layered affect is the stand out component of these designs just as it was with their LDV Waffle creation. The delicately woven fusion of mesh, leather and suede adds to this makeshift collection, and the use of colour enhances the visual impression that these shoes could be handmade like the source material has been cut and sewn together to make somewhat of a patchwork doll. The connotation that perhaps they are all uniquely formed, even though it’s not the case, gives this release a very charming feel to it.
A lot of the themes explored in the project are not entirely new to Nike, with Virgil Abloh previously examining similar ideas with his ‘The 10’ Collection which also included contemporary takes on classic Nike silhouettes, using a combination of material and deconstructive motifs to achieve a prototype style to great success. Nike has also experimented with the concept of a hybrid trainer, without the help of a collaborator, releasing a whole range of crossbred creations, transplanting an Air Max Plus upper onto the sole of an Air VaporMax; so, for the Swoosh what might be seen as an odd move is actually as calculated as ever. With great risk comes great reward, but when you dissect the elements of this project it actually makes a lot of sense, reworking nostalgic silhouettes in new an innovative ways is always something that is going to go down well with Nike and its fan base. The flair in which this pair of creations have been crafted makes their aesthetic just as impressive as their writeup, and although they might not be for everyone, if you are a trainer enthusiast you can surely appreciate them, trainers are the art worlds newest canvas, and I for one am excited for what the future holds.