Tag Archives: presto

UNNECESSARY GREATNESS

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I seem to stack up sportswear related ephemera to the point where it’s going to be the cause of my Collyer brothers style demise. There’s been plenty of curiosities that bear the swoosh or the three stripes throughout the years (foodstuffs, torches, jewellery etc), but the recent NikeLab ACRONYM Presto Mid release instigated some solid tie-in gear with the assistance of the excellent Kostas Seremetis, whose artistic vision is as prone to occasional aggression and disruption as Errolson Hugh’s design. Continue reading UNNECESSARY GREATNESS

ROCK STAR FOOTWEAR

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Late last week, Twitter was awash with incredulous reactions to commentators who were mostly social media comedians claiming that Kanye West had put Macca on with his out-of-nowhere track, Only One. This is because click baiters picked up on the tweets in question minus the context of their timelines, and because many Paul McCartney fans are often fundamentalists who can’t fathom that anyone into hip-hop could utilise sarcasm or a deadpan joke. After scanning conversations, it became apparent a couple of people genuinely did seem to be oblivious to McCartney’s work. As somebody who’s barely interested in the Beatles (though in Paul’s defence I prefer Jet to most of his old band’s work) because of the preciousness around them, the silly horns and their influence on some right old shit, I envy them and respect them as the unsuspecting nemesis of the old order. I’m more likely to listen to Guess Who’s Back or Two Words than Yesterday and what I liked about one of my favourite Beatles recordings (Phil Spector’s production on Let It Be) was what McCartney hated about it. He’s undeniably talented though and, like many other rich white rock stars, his Nike game was ahead of its time.

You folks associating Beatles with Tretorns (Lennon wore the Stan Smith in black and white nicely though) are missing the stranger stuff — Paul rocked Footscapes several years ago too (as the image above, right-clicked from the glory days of the CT forum attests). I know that ol’ Slowhand, Enoch Powell-loving Eric Clapton, was on Footscapes early too — did Clapton introduce Paul to them? Was it during a Japanese tour? I’ve never fully known. Even Cliff Richard, renowned square, was on a bus full of honeys with a pair of Jordan IVs on his feet back in 1989, Steven Tyler wore all kinds of rare neoprene runners during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and we know that Mick Jagger has a pair of Kid Robot AM1s in his stash somewhere. I’m surprised that a McCartney Nike SMU hasn’t made an appearance (maybe it’s down to that 1987 Apple Records Revolution ad beef?) yet, seeing as Rod Stewart, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Devo and Jefferson Starship all had some shoes made for them. Even Clapton got a couple of Nikes — the Presto from 2001 and the mysterious Air Max 95 (check out that Nike plane’s markings too) with his logo on the tongue. All that was before Kanye got his 180s, and it was way ahead of the Yeezy. Beyond the mansions, the royalties and owning their masters, even when they’re not trying, these ageing rock stars have a better inadvertent trainer collection too.

HIGHER LEARNING

This blog has kind of fallen off, self-sabotaged by its attempts to not be a sports footwear-centric WordPress, but then dwelling on the subject matter a little too often. But self-indulgent talk often echoes the day job and in that job shoes figure heavily. Right now, the heat and a lengthy flight from the west coast to the UK has killed my creativity stone dead, but I was energised by a trip to Nike’s WHQ for some work. From my early teens onwards the notion of visiting the Nike Campus sounded like some Willy Wonka business, minus the sinister wig outs on boat rides or bi-polar freak outs that Gene Wilder unleashed on Charlie and his benefit fraud grandfather and having been a few times now, it’s a fun place to visit that seems to deify the same kind of nerdery I tend to celebrate here.

Of course, the work and what lies behind doors remains secret, though the Innovation Kitchen, Nike Sports Research Lab and archives are impressive — in fact the archive is basically a geek ground zero that proves, no matter how much you think you’ve swotted up, you’ve only seen the tip of a dusty, yellowed, PU and nylon based iceberg. Having been lost on campus twice (to get from the Michael Jordan building to the canteen involves walking by a 7 minute saunter by a lake, football pitch and over a bridge), been chased by a goose and slashed my nose open on a low hanging metal lampshade in the archives these last few days, I’ve suffered for my art.

Even if you couldn’t care less for shoes, the scale’s still impressive, but if you follow Nike history, there’s plenty to stare at at — even in the receptions of each building. Bill Bowerman’s waffle iron, the 1984 NBA letter regarding Jordan’s fines, prototype Prestos and AJ1s…it’s a lot to take in. Buying Lunar Montreals and NFL shirts by the trolley from the Employee Store was a good use of dollars too, and ultimately — for the casual visitor — the whole setup’s pretty much a sportswear theme park. For several employees, I’m sure it’s simply a place of work that’s frequently disrupted by gawping idiots like me wielding iPhones.

Because I need sleep, I’ve sold you short here, so here’s three bonus images chucked in because they look cool; one of a 1989 plea to get people on NYC’s subway post graffiti cleanup, one from a 1970s ‘New York’ article and a 1982 Timberland ad.

In the name of nostalgia (because it’s mostly either excessively indulgent or unremarkable in the rap stakes), the same person that uploaded the 1998 ‘World Wide Bape Heads Show’ has uploaded the 1999 one too. It takes me back to a time of attempting to justify wild prices, the Mo’ Wax BB, thick cotton on tees and deranged mark-ups on used gear in Camden market. Musically, I think I actually prefer the Omarion-in-the-lookbook era.

THE AIR PUMORI & OTHER ODDITIES

It’s a less sub-sub-sub-substantial update tonight because I’m packing for Paris. If you can find a twattier introduction to a blog entry anywhere else, I’ll be surprised. Normally I’ll think about a blog topic during the day, but I’ve been distracted by a presentation on sports footwear for some amassed PR folks (who rather kindly, didn’t throw rocks or bottled urine at me for my witless rambling). All I can do is loosely tie some self-promotion to a topic that was raised during said presentation during the Q&A — “What constitutes a modern classic?” All I can muster is ‘Nike Lunar Racer’ and point out that the ability to trace the lineage of an object through its reference points will null future classic status.

Anything lifestyle rather than sports orientated from the get-go is null too (we’re talking sneakers specifically there rather than a bigger picture with that one). I’m becoming quite the rent-a-quote — rant@garywarnett.com, but I couldn’t recall writing most of the 6-page article I submitted to Mr. Simon Wood for the new ‘Sneaker Freaker.’ I think it was a busy month. Maybe I blacked out. Still, I’m pretty happy with it — it’s a couple of thousand words bemoaning the truly strange product on the shelves and an excess reliance on retrospective goods. There’s probably a link between the two.

It raises the subject of the Nike Alpha Project of the late 1990s. It’s generally considered a failure in its attempts to give Nike a new identity at a point when their public relations were in an odd place when it came to some pretty damning broadsheet coverage. But here’s the paradox — it’s one of the greatest moments for the brand’s Innovation output from a fanboy perspective. From 1996 to 2000 the Nike design language went buckwild, throwing the rulebook out (and wisely for some necessary pre-millennial progression, the baby with the bathwater too). I hold the project in very high esteem, as my day job is with a company built on articles on some key Alpha Project releases (thank you to the Seismic and Kukini) made by occasionally overlooked genius designers (and all-round good guys) like Richard Clarke and Sean McDowell.

I was glad to see Woody got plenty Alpha imagery in the piece too. Beyond the Zoom Citizen, Air Max ’99, Presto, Flightposite, Vis Propensity III, Trainer Max V, Radiant RW, Trainerposite and Air Tuned Idea designs, 1999’s $200 ACG monster, the Air Pumori ACG , was a vast boot with shades of Superdome about it, but apparently made with snowboarding in mind. Just as the Zoom Force 1 takes the Uptown to the slopes, this bad boy had some Air Max Tuned ’99 and Air Max 95 to it. An Air Max (well, kind of) snowboard boot. We need this level of lunacy to become a daily operation again.

Other than that, it’s good to see some buddies like professional Frenchman Mr. Jay Smith, Mr. Alex Nash with an MF Doom collaboration and Mr. Craig Leckie contributing to issue #21 too. The design of ‘Sneaker Freaker’s stepped up a great deal too. 21 issues — where the fuck did the time go?