Saturday, 20 March 2010

Trainer Spotting

A long time ago I found that, despite my love of high heels, my flat feet and dodgy knees weren't as keen so I turned to trainers. I'm not talking about the ugly, practical kind you wear to the gym, I mean the quickstrike, tier 0, limited edition, prized finds you scour the world, or at least eBay, for then wear like a badge of honour.

Adi Dassler is my homeboy, Jeremy Scott my
wingman and I worship at the altar of the goddess Nike. It's a whole other world... I'm not a collector -my kicks are strictly to be worn and appreciated - but for anyone who's thinking of getting involved, these sites are a great start: Hypebeast, Sneaker Freaker, Kicks On Fire, High Snobiety, and oki-ni.

Whilst big fashion labels' sportswear has been incredibly successful, their own trainer lines have often been the stuff of sockless eurotrash nightmares (Prada's much copied mens hybrid trainer-shoes being a notable exception) but no more. Now everyone's at it, they're putting the effort in and they're even making it luxe.

Collaborating with one of the sportswear titans is a surefire way to grab yourself some market share and create buzz shoes that sell out almost before they drop but some of the international fashion houses are bypassing these well established megacorps and going DIY.

Check out Christian Louboutin (who's rumoured to be dropping a shoe collaboration with hip hop producer Swizz Beats later this year) for gorgeous 'Louis' studded hi tops in white and black (pictured right) which come with the signature red sole; Dior Homme, Raf Simons and Givenchy indulge in some light bondage for S/S 2010 while Viktor & Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela keep it clean with almost clinical minimalism.

Louis Vuitton has also put together
its' own more wearable range of kicks for s/s 20010 inspired by the Kanye West x Louis Vuitton 2009 designs, some of which looked a lot like a spendy, luxury version of his Nike Air Yeezys.

For the ladies, Jimmy Choo has announced its first ever trainer range which launches in spring 2010. View the collection here and join the wait list by emailing: They're pretty sexy and the star eyelet detailing is a nice touch but at £325-£395 although these will be better for your feet - and your back - than their trademark 10cm stillies, clearly your bank balance may not escape so lightly.

Elsewhere, fashion giants like Gucci and Lanvin have been teaming up with smaller, more street smart brands before putting trainers out eponymously. The Lanvin x Acne ranges are simple and fresh, while the Mark Ronson x Gucci sneaker range, which scored a success in 2009 with its' colourful, preppy shoes, continues with more muted 'English' designs (which aren't immediately obviously trainers) for 2010 (these are London exclusives scheduled to arrive instore in April).

The sports big boys are still fighting their fashion corner despite of this 'influxe' of competition; Nike's recent collaboration with Beatrix Ong (pictured right) made the Harvey Nichols' 4th floor Hub sneaker wall. adidas' 2010 fashion offerings come from animal lover Stella McCartney whose relaxed, easy to wear sports shoes are all vegan [insert your own Heather Mills quip here], there's the quirky, limited releases for the german label's Originals line from Rihanna's favourite, Jeremy Scott , and the Y-3 range by avant garde Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. Puma's Creative Director, the influential fashion designer Hussein Chalayan has another 'urban mobility' range out for 2010 in addition to Puma's premium Black Label and further collaborations with other cutting edge designers inc. Alexander McQueen and Yasuhiro Mihara. Reebok also warrants a mention having recently secured a deal with Emporio Armani to produce their EA7 athletic line.
While the sports brand collaborations carry much more reasonable price tags than their high fashion counterparts, they are also, generally, more widely available - you're paying for the exclusivity as well as the premium quality and the name. So, whether you decide to kick it old school with the sports brands or nu skool with the fashion pretenders, whatever you do, remember to scotchguard.
Pics - top to bottom - part of my adidas collection (S/S 10 Jeremy Scott x adidas JS Wings shown), part of boyf's Nike collection, Louboutin 'Louis's, Jimmy Choo Tokyo's, Beatrix Ong custom Blazers for Nike.

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