Chanel's $4,000 Sneakers: Pumped-up Kicks or Fashion Disaster?
Step aside, Nike. Iconic fashion designers have just discovered the power of the sneaker, and rubber soles may never look the same again.
On Monday at Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris, Dior debuted several pairs of upscale sneakers that resembled aqua socks — footwear typically reserved for kids playing at the beach. Athletic brands like Nike have recently created similar foot-skimming shoe styles using high-tech fabrics like mesh and neoprene, but Dior's shoes were embellished with beads.
They may not be the most practical athletic footwear, but that all depends on the occasion. Dior designer Raf Simons actually paired the rubberized footwear with modern, laser-cut gowns.
The very next day, Chanel took perhaps an even riskier move. Designer and creative director Karl Lagerfeld outfitted every single model in a pair of chunky running shoes. According to the Chanel press release, Lagerfeld was "play[ing] with the House codes by mixing the ultimate feminine symbol of couture, the corset, with the ultimate symbol of sportswear, the sneaker."
Each look, from edgy black cocktail attire to prim pastel tweed separates, was accessorized with traditional running shoes. For the grand finale, model Cara Delevingne closed the Chanel show in a semi-sheer, embellished white wedding gown paired with sneakers.
According to Style.com, the bespoke sneakers in the collection were crafted out of materials like python, tweed, lace, and pearls by Massaro, an atelier owned by Chanel. Each pair of luxury kicks took a minimum of 30 hours to make and will apparently cost over $4,000. (Yahoo Shine reached out to Chanel to confirm these details but had not heard back at press time.)
These intricate incarnations may be just the thing for some brides, but the question remains: Will chic women really shill out for a crafty sneaker? In the peacocking street-style world, where every shoe must be Instagram-worthy, this innovative-yet-bizarre design is sure to gain some stylish fans.
When French designer Isabel Marant created her $760 Willow wedge sneakers in 2011, she did the impossible — she made the stiletto-obsessed ditch their heels for comfier fare. It didn't hurt that fashion-conscious photo-sharing was on the rise — Instagram had just launched the year before. After Marant's success, it wasn't long before other designers jumped aboard the luxury sneakerbandwagon. Maison Martin Margiela's metallic high-tops with a mirrorlike finish made waves in both the fashion and the music world. Missoni launched several collaborations with Converse that quickly sold out. Meanwhile, influential editors began flocking to fashion week in Givenchy rubber-soled slip-ons.
So perhaps it's about time Chanel and Dior, two of the biggest and oldest French fashion houses, stepped into more comfortable shoes.