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Vivienne Westwood’s New Asics Sneaker Is Inspired By Her Infamous 1974 ‘Sex’ Collection

It’s easy to look at Vivienne Westwood’s new Asics Gel Kayano 27 as just another futuristic-looking shoe. But the sneaker (the latest from her ongoing collaboration with the athletic brand) actually takes inspiration from the past — specifically, the designer’s iconic “Sex” collection from 1974, a groundbreaking line designed with then-partner Malcolm McLaren that included provocative items such as leather bondage and latex stockings.

Westwood used the stockings as inspiration for the sneaker, which has a sock-like upper, done in rubber with stocking-like seams, a translucent hue and a statement zip detail on the side. Underneath, a neoprene upper that resembles the classic Asics sneaker.

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Asics x Vivienne Westwood Gel Kayano 27 in citrus.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood

For the new capsule, Westwood added other elements from the original “Sex” collection (which she and McLaren sold out of their famous London shop of the same name). The original collection also had T-shirts with zips, rips and holes, which channeled the punk rock music scene of London at the time ― an aesthetic Westwood and McLaren are credited for conceptualizing. All are apparent in a new video celebrating the collaboration, directed and choreographed by Holly Blakey.

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Asics x Vivienne Westwood Gel Kayano 27 in black.

Though this sneaker is not a running shoe, it has some of the same technologies found in Ascis’ regular Gel Kayano 27, which was designed to endure long distances. The Asics x Vivienne Westwood Gel Kayano 27 is complete with the athletic brand’s signature gel cushioning which is part of its Impact Guidance System Technology.

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Asics x Vivienne Westwood Gel Kayano 27 in vapor.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood

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Models in Vivienne Westwood’s new Asics Gel Kayano 27, in a film directed by Holly Blakey.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood

Previous collaborations between Asics and Vivienne Westwood include versions of the Gel Kayano 26, the Hyper Gel Lyte sneaker and a version of the Gel Mai, in recent years. The partnership comes at a time when more designers are turning to performance footwear, clothing and accessories for inspiration. Always ahead of her time, Westwood is among the trailblazers in fashion who continue to translate her vision to the comfort and athletic category of footwear.

The British fashion designer has also partnered with Vans in the past on a series of sneakers that utilized elements of both the retro subculture of punk and her timeless futuristic designs. Westwood’s collaboration with Asics continues this synergy, creating a shoe that’s edgy and fashionable, yet comfortable.

The Asics x Vivienne Westwood Gel Kayano 27 is available today, March 20, on the Asics website as well as via  Viviennewestood.com and at select stores for $240.

Want more? Click through our gallery of Vivienne Westwood Spring 2021 Collection At Paris Fashion Week.

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