Nike and Virgil Abloh have had a longstanding relationship and are cementing it with a book titled ‘Icons’ that explores how the partnership works to unify all the intangible cultural threads connected to sneakers.
Underpinned by The Ten, a design project where Virgil collaboratively explored 10 Nike footwear silhouettes, establishing his now respected reconstructed design language.
The book traces Abloh’s investigative, creative process through documentation of prototypes, original text messages from Abloh to Nike designers and treasures from the Nike archives showing the 50 shoes that Virgil has designed for Nike. Readers will find Swooshes sliced away from Air Jordans and reapplied with tape or thread, Abloh’s quotation marks trialed on Nike Air Force 1s and Converse All Stars cut into pieces.
The book builds upon Abloh’s printed matter practice — archiving, documenting and storytelling through books and ephemera in service of preserving important cultural stories. It will be available from today (Jan 22nd) via Nike SNKRS in America, and through Off-White and Canary Yellow, before a wider release globally on February 5th.
This is what happens when Mercedes and Off-White founder and Creative Director, Virgil Abloh team up. This project used the G-Wagen as a basis of disrupting future perceptions of luxury and created the least likely version of a G… a race car.
Taking the iconic shape of the G-Wagen and lowering and widening it, said to give it a sportier effect, has lost its charm. The indicators that were said to have caused designers headaches to keep have now been removed as have the door mirrors and bumper bar. Fitted with what looks like Monoblock rims on exaggerated tyres is said to “exude the G’s inimitable charisma.” Furthermore, the paint is partially sanded by hand to create a sense of timeless simplicity. Craftsmanship takes centre stage, so welds are celebrated rather than hidden away.
Inside, things gets a lot more interesting. As with some of the Off-White collabs we have seen with Nike, elements have been stripped back to their purest substance. Safety is key here so the safety frame takes centre stage. The dashboard has been replaced with something a lot simpler – with analogue dials and simple toggle switches. That simplicity is then heavily contrasted by the steering wheel and seats which look like they have been borrowed from a GT racing car.
The hardest thing to understand about this collaboration is the point to it all? Will this push the Instagram generation to get involved with car design? Virgil Abloh says: “My ultimate goal in this project with Mercedes-Benz is inspiring young artists, engineers, designers to question the status quo, in addition to experimenting with my own design abilities,” said Abloh. “For me it’s all about providing opportunities for those coming after me and giving this next generation a foundation for success, both here with Mercedes-Benz and through my own Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund.“
A replica of the Project Gelandewagen will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated, with all proceeds going to charity. Advanced bidding is set to start on September 14th.