When Nike Air Force 1 hit stores in 1984, no one would have imagined the basketball shoe becoming a fashion staple and eventually one of the most recognisable and best-selling sneakers among Nike’s portfolio. When Virgil Abloh became creative director at the Maison, he captured the essence of the Air Force 1s that influenced so many artists to start modifying them into new creations by applying colours and materials.
Louis Vuitton x Nike debuted during LV’s Spring-Summer 2019 fashion show – The Amen Runway, revealing 21 new Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1s with vibrant, wild, and heavily monogrammed uppers. Today, Louis Vuitton is collaborating with famous auction house Sotheby’s to auction 200 special edition pairs of Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh sneakers with Louis Vuitton pilot cases.
The Sotheby’s sneaker auction marks the first-ever release of the Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” created by Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Louis Vuitton and Nike for the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2022 Collection. Prior to his passing on 28 November 2021, the Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director was involved in the early organisation of the auction and its surrounding events. The auction will take place in association with his family.
Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh
The 200 pairs of the special edition Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh will be made available in a range of sizes, from 5 – 18, with a starting bid of $2,000. Virgil Abloh’s Air Force 1 sneakers are made entirely in precious calf leather and detailed with Louis Vuitton’s iconic Monogram and Damier patterns and then embellished with natural cowhide piping. Each pair will be sold with a Louis Vuitton pilot case, also from the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2022 collection, which was reinterpreted from the Maison’s archive in an iconic orange colourway and made of Monogram Taurillon Leather. The pilot case features Louis Vuitton’s classic S lock closure in white metal finishing and includes a luggage tag in the shape of the Nike Swoosh. The pilot case adapts to every shoe size, based on an internal cushion system, and will be exclusive to the auction.
Abloh’s masterful blending of streetwear and luxury has lead Louis Vuitton to unprecedented levels of cultural relevance not seen since Dapper Dan started bootlegging Gucci accessories and apparel; inspired by the early practice of “Hacking”, luxury designers have created an aesthetic language of their own by combining signature elements of both collaborating brands. These Louis Vuitton Nikes reiterate the vision and perpetuate a legacy of luxurious streetwear collaborations that began when Kim Jones’ was still at the helm, beginning with the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection.
The auction is a link in a string of related Louis Vuitton events to take place from January through 2022. Proceeds will benefit The Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, which in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund, supports the education of academically promising students of Black, African American, or African descent.
Louis Vuitton Community, Air Force 1s Exhibition and Store Launch
From 19 January 2022, as a lead-up to the auction, select individuals who inspired Virgil Abloh and the collaboration will receive pairs of the Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh. These pairs will be in unique colourways, and will not be on auction or later commercialised. The gesture honours Abloh’s view of the original sneaker as a cultural symbol of the hip-hop heritage that nurtured him growing up.
Louis Vuitton will open an exhibition featuring the original 47 pairs from the Spring-Summer 2022 Men’s Collection, with details to be announced at a later stage.