The best thing about this site is the ability to up missing details you forget to mention in features way, way back. In last year’s bid to blow up the adidas Gazelle I omitted to mention the impact of Laura Whitcomb’s work and Madonna’s patronage in 1993. Whitcomb ran the store Label (which used the Repo Man style no-frills, consumerist aesthetic earlier than many) in New York from 1995 to 2010 and continues to run Label in a less prominent form. Whitcomb’s unique evening gown reinterpretation of the adidas tracksuit was initially unofficial but a memorable moment in sportswear and fashion crossover. That dress and the platform Gazelle (which I assumed was a custom, but I’m not 100% certain — there were high-heel edition too) unlocked some potential for where old world athletic performance design could be taken. Eventually, adidas gave permission to manufacture the clothes, while PUMA, Everlast and Champion apparently only agreed to one-offs. Whitcomb — an LA native who worked as a stylist in London before moving back overseas — began the Label project in 1991 with her sports remixes that would include PUMA, Everest and, a while before the flips got a little overwhelming, Champion. She deserves a lot of respect for doing UPS ad uniform flips in 1993 too, seeing as lesser fashion homages been opinion-pieced to death of late. Those sporty maxi-dresses were much imitated, but it’s a moment in fashion that defined 1993 and instigated something far bigger. The Label by Laura Whitcomb blog has a lot of excellent press imagery from the time regarding those reappropriated adidas pieces, plus this piece on the Label store and its work with Playboy iconography. A fashion, streetwear and sportswear clash, the collaborations and even the Stash-designed VW-style LW monogram all seem a little bit ahead of their time. Here’s a 15 second video of a ’93-era adidas by Label fashion show from Laura Whitcomb’s Vimeo account…
Images taken from here
There’s a two-part drama miniseries on the way that’s entirely based on the adidas/PUMA rivalry. Am I the only person excited at the prospect of a three-hour film about the Dassler brothers? The apocryphal tales of a misunderstanding over the supposed “the dirty bastards are back again” remark/unsubstantiated accounts of infidelity or Barbara Smit’s more feasible history of the family feud have long fascinated me and I’m interested to see which version makes it to screen. Adi and Rudi’s post WWII contempt for each other is the stuff of legends, and this German-language production was titled Die Dasslers in its origin country and will be retitled Rivals Forever: the Sneaker Battle (I would prefer The Dasslers, but I appreciate that it probably wouldn’t draw the crowds) for its subtitled distribution. Whether it’s going to be a two-parter outside Germany or a single film (it’s even up for offer to potential distributors/broadcasters as four 45-minute episodes) is up in the air, but the trailer — which you can view right here — makes it look quite appealing. I’d likes to see more shoe related dramas in the future — a Bowerman series, a biopic of PONY founder Roberto Muller and his wild ‘80s antics, a Reebok vs Nike production and a slapstick comedy about Nike’s Steph Curry presentation starring Seth Rogan.
When I can’t think of something interesting to put here, I always chuck up a shoe page from an old issue of The Source as a distraction. There’s a brace of yellow accented greats here that evoke an era and the Reebok Apogee DMX 2000 is the champ — you NEVER see that thing anywhere anymore despite its popularity back in early 1998. A lot of great design came out of that DMX era (which, coincidentally, corresponded with the veteran MC of the same name’s ascent), but there’s very little online that catalogues it. Maybe there is some Geocities mirror site from Japan out there, but it’s been bumped down the Google rankings by a slew of new jack crap.
I’d sooner not celebrate the fact that License to Ill came out 30 years ago yesterday, which means it’s 29 years since I read The S*n headlines about them getting up to all kinds of wild things during their 1987 UK tour wide-eyed, beginning a hero-worship that lasted just shy of three decades. It’s not that I’m not in awe of their work — it’s just that being reminded that things you have lucid memories of are that old is a scary reminder of your own mortality. One day you young ‘uns will be telling kids to shut up and listen to some real music, before cranking up Lil Yachty on some kind of futuristic device that, if their current creative stalemate continues, probably won’t be made by Apple. I wrote a little retrospective of what the Beastie Boys mean to retro footwear and streetwear for complex. You can read it right HERE or by clicking that image above.
I meant to up this here yesterday, but the gloom of being too slow and old with the keyboard to buy the Zoom Spiridon when it rereleased the other day dampened my spirit. Going forward, I might post more shoe-nerd bits here in this vein, though the cult of reposting and my own laziness might stop me doing that.
There’s something about the Zoom Spiridon that two solid reissues hasn’t dampened.
Released in 1997, promoted by Michael Johnson, and named after Greek runner Spyridon Louis — winner of the first modern-day Olympic marathon in 1896 — it’s a lightweight training model and a fan favourite from a golden age of design. It wasn’t the first Nike shoe to carry that name either — around 1984, there was a gold swoosh racing shoe called the Spiridon in the line that was followed by the Spiridon Gold a few years later. Continue reading SPIRIDON-DADA: A TRIBUTE TO A CULT CLASSIC
Seeing as it’s 30 years today since My Adidas was released, and the anniversary of Raising Hell was a couple of weeks ago, my friends at MR. PORTER took my mind off pondering my old age (and subsequently, ruminating on my mortality) to write a quick homage to the Run-D.M.C. adidas deal. Continue reading WHAT ‘MY ADIDAS’ DID FOR US
These days, everyone is an expert in athletic footwear. They all seem to know what the brands should be doing and think that they could do a better job in pretty much every related field, but there’s a lot to deal with at a big company, not least those 18 month production cycles that are pretty much a lifetime when trends boom then burn out in the space of 12 weeks. Continue reading EVERYONE’S AN EXPERT THESE DAYS