The launching of the Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” designed by the men’s artistic director, Virgil Abloh will be marked by a series of events. Nine editions of the sneaker will be released globally in June 2022 as part of an inclusive digital activity, with members of the Maison’s community first dibs on ordering the shoes. The 47 variations of the “Air Force 1” conceived by Virgil Abloh will be on display in the Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh presentation in New York City from May 20 to May 31.
Each design mixes the sneaker’s original codes with the Maison’s best leather, materials and insignia, as well as Virgil Abloh’s distinctive visual grammar, and is manufactured in the Maison’s Manufacture in Fiesso d’Artico, Venice, Italy. 200 pairs of the sneaker designs were auctioned off in February 2022 to support The Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund.
The rainbow pattern is central to Virgil Abloh’s work at Louis Vuitton, and two-tone editions in white with green, red, or blue accents nod to it. A glittering gold shoe pays homage to the designer’s first collection for the Maison, while patchworked multi-color versions highlight his distinctive graphic language. Finally, a Damier edition features a Ghusto Leone-created “Louis Vuitton” graffiti design.
The inspiration behind “Air Force 1”
The Nike “Air Force 1,” which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, is one of the most popular shoes ever made. 47 bespoke “Air Force 1” editions were worked on by Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike for his Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2022 collection, fusing the sneaker’s classic codes with Louis Vuitton insignia and finest materials. The cover brilliantly encapsulates the early hip-hop habit of fusing high fashion and athletics. DJ E-Z Rock was immortalised on the record It Takes Two in 1988, wearing Nike “Air Force 1” sneakers redesigned by Harlem designer Dapper Dan with a Nike Swoosh decorated with the Louis Vuitton monogram.
The 47 expressions of The Amen Break, a little-known drum break of a B-side created by the funk-soul group The Winstons in 1969, would be sampled and go on to underpin the hip-hop and jungle genres, and splinter into thousands of the pop tracks most familiar to us today, inspired the Nike “Air Force 1” for a Louis Vuitton collection.
“The ”Air Force 1” is a sample like the Amen Break. A t-shirt is an ‘Amen Break’, a suit is an ‘Amen Break’. We’re all iterating on the same ideas. But, in my canon, the ”Air Force 1” puts the edge on the blade. This object happened way before me, but to get to a context where it’s adjacent to the t-shirt and the suit, its logic has been forty years in the making,” said Virgil Abloh.
A look inside the exhibition
Virgil Abloh’s exhibition Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” takes a close look at the sneakers he designed in the summer of 2021 via his own unique vision. The show, which will take place at Green Point Terminal Warehouse in Brooklyn, will be coated in bright orange and decorated with a logo that combines Louis Vuitton and Nike. Guests passing through the exhibition will see a massive rendition of the logo reflected in a mirrored ceiling.
The show is a spatial experience based on Virgil Abloh’s dreamlike sentiments. From 2018 until 2021, the designer served as the Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton, challenging his audiences to conceive a world beyond man-made boundaries. Every visual and design he developed at Louis Vuitton reflected his constant questioning of the concept of ‘high and low.’ Virgil Abloh, a high fashion designer who grew up in a hip-hop-influenced streetwear environment, blurred the lines between the two worlds and utilised his platform to honour the historical influence of Black subcultures on mainstream fashion.
They’re accompanied by 3D-printed figures reminiscent of those created by Virgil Abloh during his time at Louis Vuitton, and framed by clouds painted on the walls, as seen in his show sets and advertising photography. A treehouse perched above the city authentically recreates locations from the Louis Vuitton workshop and atelier he designed on Paris’s Rue du Pont-Neuf. It highlights the savoir-faire at the heart of his work for Louis Vuitton, as well as the artisanal excellence of the sneakers created in the Fiesso d’Artico factory.
Source: Louis Vuitton