Thanks to the late Virgil Abloh, collaborations between sportswear brands and high fashion labels have never been more prominent in today's culture. With that in mind, it must be said that no sneaker collaboration has been as fiercely anticipated as Abloh's Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1s. Dubbed the sneaker collaboration to end all sneaker collaborations, sneakerheads are rejoicing in the wait finally being over as Louis Vuitton have announced a series of planned events surrounding the trainer's June release. First presented as part of Louis Vuitton's S/S 22 men's collection, the global launch will offer members of the luxury house's community early access to preorder the shoes first, all made possible via a digital activation code.
However, despite a whopping 47 designs in total, only a limited nine have been selected for a Louis Vuitton in-store release. Among them are patchworked multi-colour renditions, the classic all-white sneaker embossed with the Louis Vuitton monogram, a riff on the same design in black suede and a variety of two-tone editions in white with either green, red or blue. There is also a Damier edition up for grabs, adorned with a Louis Vuitton graffiti motif created by artist Ghusto Leone.
Additionally, Louis Vuitton will also create an immersive experience dedicated to showcasing all 47 editions of the Air Force 1 reimagined by Abloh. The event is set to take place in New York City from 20 May - 31 and is also said to coincide with several corresponding art installations around the Big Apple. Tapping into the ever-evolving creative dialogue that existed between Abloh and Nike, the exhibition will encourage a collision between the physical and digital worlds as holographic displays narrate the history of sneaker culture rooted in breakdancing and hip-hop. Feeding into Abloh's famed childlike curiosity, the space will also play home to a constructed treehouse, while exact detail spaces from the Louis Vuitton studio and atelier Abloh furnished on Rue du Pont-Neuf in Paris will also come to life.
A cultural symbol in its own right, Virgil Abloh viewed the Nike Air Force 1 as an artistic object like no other, representing a culture that fashion overlooked for too long. By paying homage to its hip-hop roots, Abloh's Air Force 1 collection for Louis Vuitton looked to a little-known drum break of a B-side created by the funk-soul group The Winstons in 1969, a sample that would go on to underpin the hip-hop and jungle genres for generations. Explaining this inspiration in classic Abloh style, the late fashion great said in a statement last year when debuting his S/S 22 collection:
'The Air Force 1 is a sample like the Amen Break. A t-shirt is an Amen Break, a suit is an Amen Break. We are all iterating on the same ideas. But, in my canon, the Air Force 1 puts the edge on the blade. This object happened way before me, but to get to a context where it's adjacent to the t-shirt and the suit, its logic has been forty years in the making'.
40 years incorporated in 47 designs; be the first to shop one of Abloh's last ever creations for the French luxury house atLouisvuitton.com in June.