The fall ’20 season of shows featured significantly fewer sports shoe collaborations than in seasons past. Still, despite a market that’s reaching peak sneaker fandom or simply favors a more sophisticated silhouette, there were three partnerships presented during Paris Fashion Week guaranteed to keep going the distance.
Just what does it take to enjoy continued success in a saturated and evolving market? If Off-White x Air Jordan, Rokh x Asics and Patou x Le Coq Sportif are any indication, it’s a mastered balance of brand power, significance and synergy.
Off-White x Air Jordan 4
Virgil Abloh debuted his latest collaboration with Nike on his Off-White runway. The Off-White x Air Jordan 4, worn by several of the cast, comes in a “Sail” colorway and features both brands’ signature hang tags. The iteration blends nubuck uppers with transparent rubber caging and Off-White’s Helvetica font across the laces and midsole. Abloh began his partnership with the sport’s giant in 2017 with “The Ten”.
Rokh x Asics
The LVMH Prize-winning designer Rok Hwang began his unisex collaboration with Asics for spring. The design had a really personal significance for Hwang with the knotted lattice of climbing rope drawing inspiration from family hikes across the United States. During Men’s Fashion Week in January, he launched an exclusive capsule with Dover Street Market and the latest iteration appeared on his fall ’20 runway, teamed with androgynous oversize tailoring.
Patou X Le Coq Sportif
For fall, Patou teamed up with fellow French label Le Coq Sportif on a neat white sneaker. Made in French shoe district, Romans, it comes in vegan leather and embellished with exaggerated lace keepers in hammered gold. The signature of Patou’s founder can be found on the side. Patou was actually the athleisure label of its day, creative director Guillaume Henry told FN — more about movement than actual sports. “I really wanted to do our own sneaker but figured it was better to join forces [with a specialist] and there was no better brand for us than Le Coq,” he said, citing their shared origins and mutual focus on sustainability. The new shoe is a rework of Le Coq’s Blazon sneaker, based on the Arthur Ashe shoe it launched to celebrate the U.S. tennis champion’s Wimbledon win of 1975. Ashe was the first player of color to win the tournament and the original shoe featured his signature on the side. “The mix of sports and luxury felt spot-on,” enthused Le Coq artistic director Frédéric Pertusier.
LVMH launched French label Patou last season under creative director Guillaume Henry, formerly of Carven. The heritage house was launched in 1919 by the eponymous Patou and enjoyed fierce competition with Chanel in the 1920s. It’s since been helmed a roster of big name designers from Karl Lagerfeld to Christian Lacroix before shuttering in 1987.
Henry partnered with Le Coq last season on an embroidered boxing shoe blending the couture atelier with the ring. Done in six colorways, the style drops on Tuesday March 10.
For fall, however, Patou also launched its own label footwear. “I wanted our shoes to look like little characters,” he said of his pom-pom-embellished platform espadrilles and quirky pumps with “bunny ear” bows. Patou’s evolution into footwear makes sense. After all, new CEO, Sophie Brocart, was formerly CEO of the LVMH-owned Nicholas Kirkwood.
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