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Christie’s Launches New Sneaker & Streetwear Division With 2 Rare Pairs of Nikes Designed by Kanye West

Christie’s is expanding its sneaker and streetwear offering with the launch of “Department X – Sneakers, Streetwear & Collectibles,” a new division focused on these emerging collecting spaces, led by a team dedicated to auctions and private sales.

According to the famous auction house, Department X offers rare collectibles across a number of genres: music, fashion, art and sports history — from “history-making footwear” to pieces of “hype culture.” Christie’s added that Department X will hold online auctions, with live previews in New York, as well as private selling exhibitions throughout the year.

Christie’s newest division will be led by downtown New York native Caitlin Donovan, serving as head of department. According to Christie’s, Donovan spearheaded this division at the company, introducing this new category over the course of three years of specialized sales. Prior to this, Donovan was also a founding member and current head of department of Americas for handbags & accessories.

“With exciting sales that will cross several genres of popular culture and collecting — music, fashion and sports history — I am excited for new and existing clients of Christie’s to embark on this journey with us,” Donovan said in a statement.

To mark the launch, Christie’s will present a private selling exhibition of two rare pairs of sneakers titled “Ye Walks.” According to the auction house, this exhibition focuses on Kanye West’s impact in the landscape of design and sports iconography.

Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototype, Christie's
Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototype sneakers
CREDIT: Courtesy of Christie's

Featured in the sale is a pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototype, the first sneaker West designed with Nike creative director Mark Smith and designer Tiffany Beers in the Nike Innovation Kitchen. The original Yeezy design features notable elements including Air Tech Challenge II, with the midfoot strap along with the midsole tooling inspired by the Air Jordan 3.

Featuring a glow-in-the-dark outsole, a translucent red “Y”-shaped lace lock and soft leather, this shoe’s design was the origination of the now-common features of the Yeezy design. “This model was the first of what would become a historic part of West’s design legacy,” Christie’s added in a statement.

Worn during West’s emotional performance at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008, this pair was the first Air Yeezy 1 prototype seen in a public arena, a significant moment for sneaker culture and the birth of West’s career as a designer and brand.

Nike Donda West Air Jordan VI, Christie's
Nike Donda West Air Jordan VI sneakers
CREDIT: Courtesy of Christie's

The second item in the sale, the Nike Donda West Air Jordan VI, was created in memory of West’s mother, Dr. Donda West. The classic silhouette features lyrics from West’s song “Roses” and is outfitted with his mother’s name on the sock liner. The toe box and upper panels are decorated with intricate lasered roses throughout. The heel and tongue are beautifully finished with embroidered roses. The Air Jordan VI was a favorite of West’s during this era of his career.

These Donda Jordan VIs were never released for public sale, instead created for West and a few of his close friends and family. There are only four to six official pairs in existence, one of which Christie’s is proud to bring to market.

This sale and Department X builds on Christie’s focus on luxury and popular culture, following the recent success of “Six Rings – Legacy of the GOAT,” featuring rare Michael Jordan sneakers and collectibles.

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