Nike Sportswear fragment x UNDER COVER Match Classics Spring/Summer 2011

Remember the coloured collection of Nike Match colourways reworked by Jun and Hiroshi last summer? The orange, black and greens were the truth. It might be easy to apply a block colour to a basic silhouette, but for some reason that lettering and jagged stripe detail around the midsole makes these doubly ill, like their predecessors and the even rarer Japan-only variations that had the dirtied-up soles that arrived a year prior. It just works - it's neither regressive nor particularly forward just works. Jun Takahashi's GYAKUSOU performance creations have been strong, despite some soul-destroyingly smedium sizing and season two (dropping next week) will usher in some apparel pieces that are so defiantly functional, lightweight and space age that they verge on avant-garde. If that isn't a welcome antidote to the dead-eyed fanaticism for all things old and waxed, we don't know what is. But let's dwell on the Nike Sportswear offerings.

You know the story by now - Hiroshi Fujiwara looks through the Nike archives in Portland, spots the Match - a 1973 racket sport design with a Bruin style toe that wasn't a huge commercial success in its day despite a couple of resurrections. That minimal swoosh feels like a harbinger of things to come as a supplement to bigger swooshes a few decades down the line, but at the time it was there to keep "the man" happy and avoid disqualification or fines for offences against uniform on the court. The Wimbledon's perforations were another approach to quiet branding, and subsequent shoes like the Grandstand followed the same hush-hush approach too. After it remained obscure all those years, Mr Fujiwara clocked the potential with a market looking for an aesthetic to match their lightweight and deeply expensive bare-bones bicycles.

Which leads us to these fragment UNDER COVER follow-ups. More of that distinctive repeat midsole branding, brilliantly at odds with the shoe's intent and a new duo of shades of suede - Ocean Fog or Soft Grey. Naysayers will point the finger and say you're just paying for the name attached, to which we respond to that motherly accusation with this: isn't that the whole point? Good colours that sit alongside Jun's other Nike creations (including those ace Air Revaderchi makeups that never made it here) and high-end output, to tide us over in the warm months that build up to summertime in its momentary and proper form, plus a rare mix of comfort and minimalism makes these winners. We're reliably informed that they'll be another Dover Street Market exclusive when they're released very shortly.

Posted by, gwar on 6 April 2011