Man's Patent Leather Sneakers
Designed by Rei Kawakubo, Japanese, born 1942. Worn by John Cale, Welsh, born 1942.
Recent preoccupation with comfort and dressing down has intensified sportswear's historically strong influence on fashion. Special athletic shoes, introduced in the 1910s, became a staple of the mid-century teenage wardrobe and were worn for every occasion by late century. These two examples dress up the casual form: the classic rubber and canvas sneaker is revamped in patent leather, while the limited edition silver athletic shoes juxtapose high-tech materials with traditional, luxurious kimono or obi brocade.