Sneakers!

Brussels woke up to a springlike May Day but – quelle surprise! – it had rained the previous night and parks were not exactly picnic ready. So I slipped into something sporty and, instead of sloshing through paddles of mud to pick up flowers for the traditional Mayday wreath, I hip hopped with springlike excitement to a fun exhibition at La Médiatine.

La Médiatine is the exhibition hall of the Cultural Centre of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert (one of Brussels’ more prosperous municipalities), devoted to the promotion of French Community artists; yet, these days, their entire space is taken over by Sneakers! – a cool exhibition arranged by the Centre Albert Marinus, featuring, well… sneakers.

From the 1930s heavy leather football shoes, to the latest feather-light, anatomically cushioned, high-tech innovative designs and all the most extravagant, bling, ridiculous and bizarre models in-between – with a glimpse of the latest ultrahip, high-fashion designer interpretations – they are all here.

A few models were conceived especially for the exhibition (mainly by French-speaking artists born or working in Brussels) but most are actual shoes produced by various multinational brands, both widely available and limited editions, all lent by private collectors.

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Inspired by the iridescent scales of the Xenopeltis snake of Southeast Asia, Adidas XENO is shining brightly when hit with a flash…

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… rather unassuming in natural light

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This is how artist Catherine Versé interprets globalisation, grotesque and heavy on the feet

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A Rick Owens for Adidas: my favourite

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Even though I don’t follow NBA, I would love to wear this LeBron X Cork by Nike, made in 2013 after popping a few champagne corks to celebrate the 3rd NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) title won by LeBron James. He won a 4th since.

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Sneakers in Natural Science :: Nikeosaurus Airmaximus, 2014 by Phil van Duynen

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Sneakers in Natural Science :: Lacosteosaurus Tennis, 2014 by Phil van Duynen

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Some vintage models: from left to right, cycling 1975, football 1960, football 1955, football 1935, mountain child’s shoe 1950

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Converse All Star Chuck Taylor: they’ve come a long way since the first ever All Star was launched in 1917

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One pair, endless possibilities: that’s how Sneakers Waz publisized their idea to use sliding plates that change the patterns to match the outfit or mood. Created by two young guys from Brussels, in 2013. Very ’80s don’t you find?

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Collectors item: Nike Jordan Miro. Created in 2008 for the Olympic Games in less than 1000 pairs. The shoelaces represent the colours of the Olympic rings.

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Air Mag, Nike 2011. Made popular with the film Back to the Future 2. Nike launched 1500 replicas sold on eBay with proceeds going to Michael Fox Foundation and the fight against Parkisons disease.

There is a whole room filled entirely with shoes from the private collection of Daddy K, the Belgian rapper who obviously lives in a Tardis, i.e. his place is bigger on the inside, or else I don’t know how it could fit in his collection of 5000 pairs; which, I understand, keeps growing, for – according to our guide – when Daddy K goes shopping, he always buys 3 pairs: 1 to wear and 2 for his collection.

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An ingenious 2-in-1 concept: Praying mat and Nike Air Force One by Mehdi-Georges Lahlou, 2015.

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Inspired by Iron Man. Sneaker mask (#45) by Freehand Profit, created in 2013 from a single pair of Air Jordan “Fire Red” IVs. Gary Lockwood / Freehand Profit

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Another sneaker mask (#69) by Freehand Profit. Created in 2013, released in 2014, from a single pair of Nike Lebron 11 “King’s Pride”. Gary Lockwood / Freehand Profit

More from Daddy K’s Tardis:

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Reebok Kamikaze with its distinctive retro look

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Adidas Superstar RUN-DMC

Could have been Daddy K’s step-in wardrobe but it is only a room, tattooed by Jean-Luc Moerman, 2015:
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A message against child labour and slavery, by Monk, 2015:
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Hawking sneakers, Rombaut, 2014

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Beast Shoes, 2015 by Pierre-Yves Renkin

 

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Sacred Sneaker, 2015 by Rosmorduc

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Air Kool Koor, 2015 by Kool Koor

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The Haute-Couture version:

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Dior Fusion 2014

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Dior Dorsay, 2014

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Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, ready-to-wear collection 2014 in lace…

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… and tweed

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Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, ready-to-wear collection 1986

Sneakers! is still on, until 02nd June 2015

La Médiatine
Allée Pierre Levie, 1
1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert

opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12:00 – 17:00hrs.

Free entrance

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Saboosh, François Curlet

Shared credits for  images (Lia & Konstantinos)

Brussels, 1st May 2015

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7 thoughts on “Sneakers!

  1. A classic that should be in EVERYONE’S closet?
    ChuckieT’s (Coverse Chuck Taylor – All Stars…)
    or a pair of Run DMC Adidas clamshells. XO
    😀

    • Yeah, maybe Nike should think about producing them clogs – I’d buy them too. Oh, I don’t know about these Chanel – I can more or less take it with the tweed ones… but what’s with the wedding fruit cake lace, might I ask?

  2. Can i have them all? Ok, maybe not all but i would wear most of them! 😀 I love sneakers! This looks like an awesome exhibition, with many weird items!

    • It’s striking to see all of them under one roof. I had no idea that some of them even existed, like those teddy-bears – but I do now! And I like sneakers more and more, I think soon I won’t be wearing any other shoe ever 😀

      • 😀 Hehe! The teddy-bear ones are quite famous…i knew of their existence but they don’t seem very practical…i just imagine all the dust they would gather 😛 I guess if you have loads of money to burn you could buy a few just for the fun 😛 I think i only have sneakers…I can’t buy “lady” shoes since i wear a size 43…ahahaha…So i can only buy shoes from the men section…

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