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.