Style Recap: Sneaker Takeaways from PFW SS19
After NYC, London and Milan, everyone looks to Paris to provide a kind of omnipotent eye over style narratives. For sneakerheads, Paris was a little worrying. Brands like Balenciaga, who galvanised the scene back in FW18, exiled sneakers from the runway, favouring formalwear. Over at the Grand Palais, Maison Margiela shutdown any follow-ups to the Security Sneaker, sending their models down the runway with iPhones strapped to technicoloured boots. Gucci’s sneaker offerings were slim, and Kim Jones told us he was ‘bored of the term’ streetwear.
Still, sneaker staples arrived in Paris.
Virgil Abloh took to the runway with pace, Comme des Garçons continues to lend Nike a hand in reviving sneaker's pariahs, and Jun Takahashi stuck wings on the Waffle Racer.
Here are all the key sneaker takeaways from Paris Fashion Week SS19.
Nike tasked Comme des Garçons with resuscitating the Shox, quite the assignment given the last time they were popular was sometime during the 2000s when House MD rocked them in New Jersey. The sole looks almost skeletal, CDG feeding bling through the silhouette’s grillz and across the uppers (built with a combination of mesh and synthetic). Expect Comme des Garçons to pull this one off given the heat surrounding bulky, technical builds of late.
Undercover's Jun Takahashi took us to the stars with his seven-part lookbook, ‘The Seventh Sense’. Abandoning the runway, the Japanese designer and head of Undercover pulled references from A Clockwork Orange, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the cult anime series, Creamy Mami, and Magic Angel. But it was Takahashi’s remix of Nike’s Waffle Racers that really stuck it in hyperdrive, the heritage silhouette reconstructed with wings for all the kind of retro-futurism needed for steeze in space.
Track and field hit the runway with pace, Virgil Abloh bringing in Olympic athletes to help articulate the conceptual goals of his SS19 collection. Featuring a mix of Off-White and Nike builds, the collection presented iterations of the Nike Zoom Fly SP and Vaporfly Street, as well as radical new versions of the Waffle Racer. Track and trail looks to be a winning formula of late, a flurry of hybrid designs beginning to take shape thanks to some ingenuity from Balenciaga and a man casting a longer shadow than the Eiffel Tower.
Bella Hadid went vegan, this time in Rombaut’s ‘Protect Hybrid’ sneakers. It’s not the first time she’s been seen in Mats Rombaut’s designs, previously adopting the ‘Olov’ wingtip platforms and the minimalist Boccaccio boot. Rombaut’s been revealing some radical conceptual designs of late, including these ‘salad sliders’. How many salad sliders does it take to curb the carnivorous appetite of the hypebeast?
Balenciaga revealed … zero sneakers. After flexing on the street scene across New York, London and Milan with the Triple S and Trail sneaker, many expected Balenciaga's artistic director Demna Gvasalia to bring some real heat in Paris. Well, he didn’t. In fact, Balenciaga didn’t show a single pair of sneakers on the runway. He was not alone, Gucci trimmed their sneaker offerings, Maison Margiela opted out of any follow-ups to their designs, and Hedi Slimane’s show doubled down on formalwear.
Is high fashion's infatuation with sneakers coming to an end?