Archive deep dive
Last weekend marked the global launch of Vivienne Westwood’s first ever collaboration with Asics. A total of five limited editions trainers, released over the course of 2019, begins with two styles: the GEL-MAI Knit and the GEL-KAYANO 5 OG.
Despite operating at different ends of the industry, the collaboration marries the archetypal heritage of each brand in way that mutually elevates both. The sports-driven innovation and technical trainer nous of Asics brings a performance element to the world renowned prints of Westwood, cherry-picked from the runway.
The GEL-KNIT for instance, adopts the iconic Westwood archive Squiggle print, first seen in 1981 with the Pirate Fall-Winter collection. Even the lacing reflects Westwood’s signature asymmetric tailoring and fastening details, while an external sock and robust external structure speaks of Asics’ expertise in athletic footwear.
Meanwhile, the GEL-KAYANO 5 OG offers an opportunity for Asics to dig through their own history books. First released in 1999, the shoe was relaunched last year and selected for this collaboration due to its celebrated history and classic shape. With a distinctive Westwood colour palette of red and orange (that also echoes the Squiggle print), and her unmistakable orb embroidered onto its heel, the shoe is an exemplary demonstration of functional high-fashion.
As noted by Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood’s creative director, “We love the look of their [Asics] trainers because they are form following function – which attracted us to this collaboration. We wanted to create something real. They are not just decoration or a fashion statement- they are functional. With this collaboration we wanted to bring together both.”