The LV Trainer sneaker is meant to pay homage to vintage basketball shoes, and is nowadays used as a real white canvas to give space to some of the writers of the New York scene to express their creativity. Over the years, the Creative Director made some variations of the original, designed for the Spring-Summer 2019 fashion show: a model entirely covered in rhinestones gives way to eye-catching graphics in pop colors or more classic proposals such as the use of the emblematic Monogram Denim canvas. This year the French Maison has made the sneaker entirely the protagonist of a project called “White Canvas – Sneakers in Residence”, which sees three American artists engaged in redesigning the exclusive model that has now become a classic accessory of the brand. The shoe, which has also already been involved in the collection in collaboration with Yayoi Kusama, is being used to provide space for artists from the Big Apple to explore their own artistic universe by making their own significant elements directly on the LV Trainer, emphasizing the contemporary character that contradistinguishes the sneaker.
Lady Pink, the first artist in question, is known as the only woman capable of competing with men in the art of graffiti: the artist of Ecuadorian origin began her career as a writer to give vent to the anger and sadness due to the separation from her boyfriend, writing his name on walls around the city. She then continued by painting entire subway stations, and soon was able to make her passion her job, becoming a key figure in the city’s hip-hop subculture. Vivid colors are a hallmark of his murals: in fact, the red is used in the customization of the Louis Vuitton sneaker in the details of the sole, on the laces, and to recreate small bricks, reminiscent of New York City walls, the real canvases where the artist has learned to capture his identity. Lady Pink’s signature, on the other hand, is stamped on the sole of the shoe and made with a spray can for an even more authentic result.
Lee Quinones’ LV Trainer, on the other hand, is a set of abstract gold lines that resemble the effect of a paintbrush splashing color, leaving some space at the tip for a graphic of a stylized hand crossing its fingers as a symbol for good luck. Indeed, the Puerto Rican artist stands out in the mural scene for his compositions enriched by lettering that carries a provocative socio-political message. “Earth is hell”, “Heaven is life”, or “Stop the Bomb” echo through New York streets and give the viewer a way to reflect, feeling like an active participant in Lee’s work. “Sneakers are part of you” the artist confides to us, “I was concerned about color, and about mood. Gold is always relaxing!”. Lee’s work revolves around the concept of less is more, every work must be able to speak for itself as well as each of its distinctive aesthetic elements. Through experimentation with color and three-dimensionality, the lines that compose his own name are camouflaged, blending into the work with extraordinary artistry.
“The way you walk tells a lot about you, it’s an attitude… If you for example see Obama’s walk, he’s sexy, it has a charme and substance. The shoes are the first thing we notice, and the walk always have a movement, a pace, that is part of your identity.”
Rammellzee is the third American artist to take part in the project with the French Maison. From a South American mother and father of Italian descent, he defines his stage name as an equation where the letter M stands for magnitude, the two Ls for longitude and latitude respectively, and the Z for zinc bar. The artist is considered a pioneer not only in the field of graffiti, but also as a forerunner of the Afrofuturist philosophy and as a key figure of hip-hop influence in 80s Italy. He is obsessed with Gothic iconography and from an early age with the alphabet, wanting to use letters in different scenarios besides writing, giving them broader meanings even in mathematics, hence in fact the choice of his stage name. Nowadays his research on the letter emerges as a necessity dictated by a society that focuses more on the visual aspect. Rammellzee’s LV Trainer is recognizable by a black background on which images and lettering appear in neon colors, including the word “SOS” shown several times on the upper.
Louis Vuitton wants to make the sneaker designed by the incredible flair of Virgil Abloh, a symbol of the brand, repurposing it as a totally empty painting where artists are free to express themselves and give vent to their artistic world. The three writers create as different models characterized by elements that are fundamental to them, which accompanied them from their first experiences with murals to their actual careers, making them key figures in the American pop scene.
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