Man's Patent Leather Sneakers
Designed by Rei Kawakubo, Japanese, born 1942. Worn by John Cale, born 1942, Garnant, South Wales.
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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.