There have, of course, been wide-soled ‘ugly’ trainers before. As a skater myself back in the Nineties – and by ‘skater’ what I really mean is I owned a skateboard and subscribed to Thrasher magazine rather than being any good on a plywood ramp and four wheels – I remember a brand named ‘Nose’. They marketed their shoes as something a punk would play golf in: huge, barge-wide white soles that made the wearer look like a children’s entertainer, or a cross-country skier. The ‘Triple S’ is also a hybrid: part running shoe, part hiking boot, the sole appears to be made from three separate sneakers, all having been ‘melted’ into one multi-layered puddle of rubber. The effect is of a trainer that appears to be multiplying from the bottom, down. It’s a mille-feuille of a shoe. A shoe that comes ‘pre-scuffed’ – how’s that for trainers as high art?
When the trainer finally dropped in September 2017, the style junkies went tonto: so much clamouring hasn’t been seen over men’s shoes since Saint Laurent (under Heidi Silmane) introduced the high-heeled ‘Wyatt Harness’ boots in black suede. Those looking into the reasons for such stylish hysteria would be wise to note that Cedric Charbit, now CEO of Balenciaga working alongside Gvasalia, was someone key to the reinvention of Saint Laurent under Silmane. Designers can design, of course, but someone has to make sense of all the merchandise and make all that bonkers creativity shoppable. The Balenciaga ‘Tipple S’: a cultural indicator whose significance will reach as wide as the sum of its many, layered parts.
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