I’m slacking on blog updates because I just got back from NYC and I’m prepping to go on a stag weekend. I’m not used to actually living an existence — I’m more adept at forging one vicariously via the internet outside of everyday working hours, so it throws my WordPress routine and makes me twitch with OCD. I had something bigger planned for today, but the ground’s moving beneath me in pulsating waves — not good Max B wavy, but weirdo body clock wavy. Still, while London Fashion Week sounds dull so far, I’m feeling some new acquisitions that do an admirable job of taking something traditional and turning it into something technical. The thing about press trips is this — you can actually polish a turd. If you fly enough journalists out, make them feel special and present the turd to them in a glossy, bombastic fashion then thank them for attending, they’ll probably write a glowing write-up of the turd. What’s good for the karma is when you go on a trip to see an unveiling and you can gush about it because it’s genuinely excellent — Nike’s Flyknit is my kind of shoe. Beyond those of us who would take a man’s life for some shoes with a space scene on the upper, there’s those oddballs I identify with, who like moments in Nike eccentricity like the Alpha Project’s Seismic, 2008’s Lunar Racer (modern classic), Zoom Havens, Mariah PRs, Duelist PRs, the Woven collection that ushered in the ’00’s, Humaras and the entire HTM line that somehow linked Nike’s CEO, Mr Mark Parker to Tinker Hatfield and Hiroshi Fujiwara in a way that reeked of mutual respect and real-deal top-tier sensibilities.
Mark appreciates design (he really loves the Haven) and Hiroshi has a knack for elevating performance eccentricity. Somewhere down the line we became bogged down in variations on a theme, but the Nike GYAKUSOU range indicated that the future was top-tier performance rather than retros. It’s easy to assumed that HTM was always about premium classics in nice boxes, but the mid-cut Woven variation that was only an HTM release, first Macropus and latterly, the HTM2 Run Boot, indicated that is was a more freeform concept than that. That the latest HTM release debuted in a significant Track & Field trial at the start of the year rather than in the pages of ‘Warp,’ and that Mark mentioned the HTM project in his address to the global media is proof that there’s a conscious effort to push things forward that slapped me out of my footwear apathy.
If you compare initial whisperings about HTM from the Hiroshi interview from a Summer 2000 issue of ‘The Fader’ to the brief Q&A I had with Hiroshi and Mark that you can read here, there’s some interesting developments. Something went wrong in other sections of the collector-targeting offerings from every brand along the way in the interim, but HTM has always been an interesting experiment. I’m infatuated with the HTM+ Lunar Flyknit Trainer+ for that densely detailed toe, the threaded Dynamic Support eyelets (the Zoom Haven’s influence runs deep in these), the flipped colours on the medial side plus the way they feel like slippers on your foot, whereas the majority of attractive Nike slimline runners leave me doing the Verbal/Keyzer Söse hobble. A knit shoe can work like the Missoni Converse effort or it can be twisted into something even more cutting edge, and I imagine that in the wrong hands it could look like it was purchased at a craft fair from an earnest lady in a tie-dye skirt. Developments like Flyknit remind me why I like shoes. Seeing a Flyknit Air Max 1 or some such merger of classic and brand new technology would be a step backwards, but I’m not mad if shoes of the Flyknit Trainer’s calibre. I’m still waiting for the time when NIKEiD will allow us to submit an image or pattern for the Knit machine to add to the upper of our iD creations. For the time being, this colourway is a fine display of showboating the technology’s visual possibilities.
Today, vast conga lines of kids with Air Max 1s on slowly advanced towards the Supreme store doors and spent some serious bucks. I like the Kate stuff a lot – sneer all you like, but that official photoshoot stuff always delivers, yet the item I was most preoccupied with this season was the Taped Seam Coaches Jacket. It’s a basic look (Eazy-E on the ‘It’s On…’ EP cover wears a coaches jacket perfectly) and as a kid, from Naf Co 54 (the fake market store Naf Naf) and Spliffy to the cheapo faux-fur lined Raiders NFL-licensed efforts from Olympus Sports, they were a favourite. Supreme like to mess with the design, whether it’s working with Champion on collections of colours or giving them animal prints inside, but delivering a triple layer technical fabric jacket in the coach format is the kind of thing that those hype-wide eyes might miss during the feverish retail of the next few days, but with the nylon versions from my childhood being somewhat limited in their protection during blustering, inclement weather, this is tweaked to perform and look good. What’s often boxy has been taken in a little, and the teal variant is a killer coat, with an economic look that makes it versatile. I particularly like the contrast between the basic drawstring mode of fastening and the precise liner lines of machine-applied tape. The Champion variation in a similar shade eluded me a couple of years ago, so salutes to Angelo and James for their kindness.