Before Vuitton, Ghesquière handled the creative duties at Balenciaga where he established himself a designer capable of launching trends and shifting the direction of women’s fashion. When other designers went classic and romantic, the Frenchman went futuristic and hard. He made punk clothes luxe, schoolboy blazers cool again, and created best-selling bags and shoes that flew off store shelves. His clean-cut, slim-tailored menswear for Balenciaga was practically a precursor of the skinny-guy silhouettes Hedi Slimane would show at Saint Laurent, while the Arena sneakers launched under his reign have remained a fan favorite for years (now creative director Demna Gvasalia is having no problem creating standout footwear of his own). Additionally, his “Join A Weird Trip” tee is the single piece that Off-White founder Virgil Abloh cites as aha moment that led him to starting his own label.
Ugly sneakers aren’t entirely new in the Vuitton universe. Kim Jones, the brand’s menswear designer, has celebrated thicker-soled sneakers in both of his previous two runway shows (including the one featuring his blockbuster collaboration with Supreme). But for his Spring 2018 women’s show, Ghesquière turned up the volume with a style that’s best described as a cross between a pair of Salmon Hiking shoes and a Nike Air Presto. Their unusual shape and construction makes them hit all the right “ugly” notes, while their silver color scheme and Louis Vuitton logo hit the markers of any good L.V. product (they’re beautiful and more than likely expensive AF).
Despite the fact that they were presented on female models in a womenswear context, these outdoors-y futuristic sneakers actually look more unisex than your average women’s footwear. In other words, you’ll find ’em in the women’s section next spring, but like Céline’s Vans-inspired slip-ons before them, they’re ripe for any forward-thinking sneakerheads out there. Plus, invoke the name Nicolas Ghesquière with any womenswear fan, and you’re sure to earn some instant respect.