The late Virgil Abloh brought hip-hop to high fashion, inspiring a new generation of dreamers. That legacy is realized in the Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” Exhibition—a sneaker symposium of sorts located in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse.
Free of charge to the public and open from May 21 to 31, the “Dream Now” exhibition is like a love letter to Abloh, melding his passion for music, architecture, engineering, and streetwear. Within the exhibit are 47 styles of bespoke Air Force 1 shoes. Abloh left his mark, combining Louis Vuitton’s classic Monogram and Damier Ebene (checkerboard) patterns. On some, classic Vernis leather is used in punchy color combos, while others have an unexpected neon sole. Abloh’s signature ploy of spelling out words in Helvetica fonts and encapsulating them with quotation marks is seen on laces and midsoles (e.g. “AIR” and “LACET”). And an homage to France, Louis Vuitton’s headquarters, is seen in mini flags and the use of French words like the aforementioned “lacet,” French for lace.
Abloh’s love of the literal is also honored on the facade of the warehouse, which has been painted bright orange to mimic a Nike shoe box. You can’t miss the towering statue of a break dancer either.
The shoes are affixed to the walls, with projectors casting clouds on the ceiling and lights lending a blue-purple hue over the room. Specially placed mirrors lend a whimsical feel to the exhibit, as does a monstrous treehouse in the back—a physical representation of childhood dreams—and the pursuit of them. Within that interactive space, you’ll find a mood board, turntable, and a short film featuring Abloh.
Quotes on the walls are apropos of Abloh’s ethos and design doctrine that anything can become a new design if you simply change the original by three percent. Aphorisms include: “Who did it first? Where did they get the idea? Is it new?” and “Are you a tourist or a purist?”
Some of the 47 shoes in the show will be up for sale next month. You can also find several globes peppered around the city in Brooklyn’s Domino Park, Grand Central Station, and Columbus Circle. If you’re in the area—or close enough for a jaunt to Brooklyn—this is a must-see.
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