Vans & MoMA Release Limited-Edition Artist Series


I don’t know art, but I know what I like: this Vans & MoMA collab.

The iconic shoe brand (established in 1966) and the equally iconic museum (established thirty-seven years earlier in 1929… Does that make it more iconic?) have joined forces to create a two-part, limited-edition footwear and apparel range featuring and celebrating prominent artists MoMA’s collection. The series kicks off with Salvador Dalí, Vasily Kandinsky and Claude Monet clobber (drop two will feature Edvard Munch, Jackson Pollock, Lybov Popova, and Faith Ringgold this November), and I’m going to tell you about each artist and the shoe/apparel they inspired… NOW.

Salvador Dalí (1904—1989)

Dali was an amazing artist, and I’d brief you on his life and career, but you really should already know that from high school. Instead, I’m going to tell you a Dali story told to me by my old friend, Hewy, who lived in NYC in the 80s. A friend of Hewy’s was a PR guy for MoMA and was chaperoning Dali who was visiting New York for his career retrospective at the museum. ‘Hewy!’ said Hewy’s friend. ‘I’m taking Dali to lunch tomorrow at noon. If you happen by and say hello, he will almost definitely invite you to dine with us!’ Hewy arrived the next day at the appointed time, acted surprised to see his friend, was introduced to Dali who, of course, insisted Hewy join them for lunch. Incredible. After lunch, they left the restaurant and were crossing the street when an errant taxi slammed in the brakes, slid on the wet road (it was winter) and knocked Dali to the ground. Hewy and his friend rushed to help him up, and the indignant Dali shooed them away. He brushed the snow off his coat, straightened his moustache, walked to the taxi driver’s window and tapped on the glass. The driver wound down the window and Dali handed him a crisp one-hundred-dollar bill. ‘Thank you for not killing The Great Dali,’ he said. True story. Now the shoes.

‘The Persistence of. Memory 1931’ has been wrapped around the Vans Old Skool Twist. The construction of the footwear model has been twisted to go beyond the perception of reality and is finished with a gum sole and distorted foxing stripe. Let’s face it, Dali would’ve preferred these shoes were made of glass or something, but I’m sure he would’ve dug ’em.

Wassily Kandinsky (1866—1944)

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky was a Russian painter who I do not have a cool anecdote for, so I’ll have to give you a bit of history about him. Kandinsky was a pioneer of abstract art, which was a movement that appeared when regular make-it-look-as-real-as-possible painting was superseded by the camera. That’s probably a bit cynical, and no doubt there’s an army of fusty boffins out there who’d like to take strips off me for saying it. But I digress (damn, I feel smart when I say I digress). Wassily, or Wazza as he would’ve been known in Australia, believed that both colour and form evoked their own power and emotion independently from images and objects. He also believed that artists were, in many respects, prophets, but I wonder if he ever imaged his work would appear on the feet of someone rolling at high speed on a plank of wood with wheels? Probably not. Now the shoes:

Using ‘Orange 1923’—a print Wazza made while teaching at the German Bauhaus school of art and design—Vans’ Classic Slip-On celebrates this investigation into abstract forms and signs, meticulously covering the canvas uppers. Gorgeous. Abstract. Better than a photograph.

Claude Monet (1840—1926)

You could be forgiven for not knowing much Vasily Kandinsky, but you should have at least an inkling of who Monet is. Come on, dude, were you sniffing glue in art class? Oscar- Claude Monet was a—if not the—driving force behind the impressionist movement of the late 19th century (indeed, the movement took its name from the artist’s ‘Impression, soleil levant’. Impressionism was more about depicting the passage of time with special consideration given to the way light appears in ordinary life. It wasn’t very popular with the traditional artists at the time, but it went on to become extremely popular and, nowadays, completely unaffordable—until now. Here’s the shoes:

The collaboration between Vans and MoMA showcases Water Lilies 1914-1926’ (works made in Monet’s later years at his home in Giverny, France) atop the classic Vans’ Authentic. If I know Claud—and I don’t—these shoes would have blown his beard right off. Shame he can’t have a pair. We can though!

Also included in the range: MoMA branded footwear, featuring the classic b/w checkerboard interspersed with bold colours take the Museum’s newly expanded and reimagined identity. The collection features Vans and MoMA logos across the latest ComfyCush Old Skool and Era silhouettes. Available Sept. 30, and followed by the aforementioned second instalment in November. For more info head to vans.com.au

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