The silhouette which released in 2006, celebrating New Balance’s 100th anniversary, is as iconic as it is understated.
Although production stopped in 2010, New Balance introduced its first ever retro run in 2020 – which was sold out immediately in April.
New Balance has stood strong with its manufacturing bases in the United States and United Kingdom when others have moved abroad. Their unique positioning has led them to become favourites of people from all backgrounds.
Most notably is perhaps the late Steve Jobs – often seen wearing his Grey pair.
In 2003, Paris hosted the “White Dunk: Evolution Of An Icon” – the art featured on the overlays was in collaboration with French painter, Bernard Buffet. Although the pair was supposed to be released at the event, Nike claims that fervent demand meant that the public release was delayed and the rumored 202 limited bespoke pairs were circulated through select accounts.
At the Palais de Tokyo Exhibition Space, where Nike held their “White Dunk: Evolution Of An Icon” exhibition. Although initially meant to be released at the event, there was far too great a crowd attending to facilitate the drop at the event. Instead, Nike SB sold their pairs through exclusive partner stores throughout Paris in the following days – most notably Opium and the now closed-Colette.
What is most iconic about this pair is the fact that each pair has a different print from the French expressionist artist. Buffet, who committed suicide in 1999 due to his degenerative condition Parkinson’s, saw the majority of his success during the 1950s and 1960s. Truly prolific, it is said that Buffet created over 8,000 paintings and prints over his lifetime and even has an eponymous museum – the Bernard Buffet Museum – in Japan. The museum holds 2,000 of his works from his early years all the way through to the end of his artistic life.
“In a poll realised in 1992 for the French magazine “Beaux-Arts”, French people declared preferring Bernard Buffet to Vermeer or Andy Warhol.”
MUSEE BERNARD BUFFET
The limited availability and the insane story behind the release have ensured that these are perhaps the most recognizable dunks in existence. Since no two pairs are the same, due to the way Nike cut the canvas, there are some pairs that have much higher desirability. For example, the sample pair featured above, which failed to sell during Sotheby’s Cult Canvas Auction, features Buffet’s famous ballerina and clown – both famous motifs and symbols in his pieces – in their entirety. The pair was estimated to be sold at $70,000 – $80,000 but the auction was closed before a sale.
The Sotheby’s “From the Archive” auction which opened July 21st, included rare collectibles from the worlds of sport, film, music and fashion – also featuring a series of extremely rare sneakers.
One that caught the eye of sneakerheads around the world was a prototype of a Nike Air Yeezy “Zen Grey” co-created by Kanye West and Mark Smith in pristine condition with the original box.
HypePlug had the extraordinary opportunity to participate in the auction, and this size 9 pair, equipped with Nike’s Feng Tay factory tag, arrived to our headquarters.
“The Air Yeezy was developed from a strong relationship between West and Nike. Partnering with Nike Creative Director, Mark Smith, the creative duo of Smith and West’s talents as designers yielded a unique Nike Sportswear sneaker worth the wait.”
Nike, April 6, 2009
“Kanye West is known for his non-stop energy both on the stage and off so the Air Yeezy had to support and sustain West from start to finish. An almost obsessive focus was put on delivering supreme comfort throughout the development of the shoe. Equipped with debossed ankle collar pods for added support and protection, extra-thick sock liners, a forefoot support strap, original functional tension lace loops, and Phylon tooling taken from the 1987 Nike Air Assault for added performance and comfort—all developed and integrated with one goal in mind: to keep Kanye on lock down in cushioned comfort during his performances during his many notoriously strenuous artistic live performances.”
The sneaker initially caused commotion when the rapper appeared in his 2008 Grammy performance of “Stronger” wearing this silhouette.
It is said that the Black/Pink colourway was predominantly Mark Smith influenced, the Net colourway being Kanye influenced, and the Zen Grey being the true collaboration between the two creatives.
This footage shot of the HypePlug Air Dior collection was shot by Paris based photographer and videographer Christiano Gioacchini. It is clear to tell that these shoes, although aligned with the Jordan brand, are not alike any other pair in terms of quality, craftsmanship, and attention-to-detail.
HypePlug has long been moving behind the scenes but for the past few months, the team has been working hard to bring even more sneaker communities together.
Now having more than 100 verified vendors across continental Europe, North America, and Asia – HypePlug will be able to offer an incredibly wide variety of sneakers at real vendor prices. We hope to broaden the sneaker landscape of Europe and really bring authentic sellers to the forefront.