Just when we thought we were about to fall into a coma
from the sheer volume of insipid collaborations (didn't that stuff put the nail in the coffin for colabs the first time around?), Converse
just went in with the kind of project that sets a standard. Like Vans' Vault line, Converse's First String projects are a textbook display in balancing the precarious partner act deftly. Who would have thought that Converse could make noise with a non-basketball shoe? The Auckland Racer has got us losing our minds in Missoni fabrics, looking not-dissimilar to the contemporary knit of the Nike Flyknit line?
The Pro Leather’s not looking too bad either, like Julius Erving gone even flyer and it slots into the current Blazer-as-a-bestseller climate too. Since we first set eyes on the zig-zag Missoni Chucks in summer 2009, we knew that the Milan-based, family run masters of knitwear were a good match for Converse’s iconic basics. Breaking out the deadstock materials to create tiny runs (something Vans and New Balance have done well too) of 10 Auckland Racers and 10 Pro Leathers in a single pair per size. But this project isn’t about randomly using up excess wool — those colours and patterns document 18 years of Missoni runway history.
The Auckland project has been well known since the shoes debuted on the catwalk, so it was imperative that their retail debut was delivered properly. With the inline pairs set to drop at the end of October, the Archive Project’s arrival, packaged with a book in that corresponds with the liner fabric of all 20 shoes, seems to have made the necessary impact (after all, something making a blog appearance over a year ago makes it practically prehistoric in digital time). We know that the “standard” First String Missoni Auckland Racers will be dropping at select First String spots, but these shoes are a Colette-only release that’s being promoted with a Gary Card-designed installation that mixes the star chevron of more contemporary Converse with the jagged pattern that defines the Missoni empire. If you’ve visited east London’s LN-CC, you know that Mr. Card is a serious talent.
You can pick up pairs of these from Friday at Colette. Never has first come, first served been more dramatic. Once your size is gone, it’s well and truly gone, and not even the €400 pricepoint will slow that down. 2012 is officially the year of the knitted running shoe.