Louis Vuitton has announced it will soon unveil the collaboration between the brand’s late Men’s Artistic Director, Virgil Abloh, and Nike on the Swoosh’s iconic Air Force 1 sneakers. The footwear will be available for sale in nine different colorways. The French fashion house also released a brief video and image gallery showing everything that goes into how a white version of the kicks is created.
Michael Burke, CEO and chairman of Louis Vuitton, spoke with with WWD for an exclusive interview about the team-up. “Many people were expecting this in Virgil’s first show,” he told the fashion mag about collaboration. “I remember some people being disappointed there wasn’t a big action put on sneakers for his first show. Virgil had always said he didn’t want to rush into it. He didn’t want to pander to the clientele that’s primed for it.”
The sneakers were originally made for LV’s spring 2022 menswear show, and 200 pairs were later showcased at a Sotheby’s auction earlier this year. The $25.3 million raised, more than eight times the amount initially expected, went towards the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund.
Starting Friday, May 20 through the end of the month, 47 bespoke pairs of the sneakers will be on exhibition at Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY. The setup will be inspired by Abloh’s LV studio in Paris.
There will also be other smaller installations in NYC running concurrently with the exhibition. Those locations include Astor Place, Columbus Circle, Domino Park, Flatiron Plaza, Gansevoort Plaza, Grand Central, and South Street Seaport. Large globe sculptures are going to be encased in glass boxes, and they will be thematically tied to the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 collab, too.
A select few Louis Vuitton clients will have early access to purchase the shoes starting this June. Sale of the sneakers will then made open to the general public at a later date.
“For the Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force One project, Virgil wanted to reference the customized versions that popped up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which often incorporated Louis Vuitton fabrics repurposed and applied to the Swooshes and uppers of the shoes,” Fraser Cooke, head of special projects at Nike, told WWD.
“The idea of sampling ran through Virgil’s work, so to take the AF1 and create it officially with LV — finally making this clash of icons legitimate — was a uniquely personal and culturally inspiring initiative,” he added.
Check out our gallery below for more close-up photos of the Nike x Louis Vuitton Air Force One sneakers and exhibit.