Newsflash: The sacai LDV Waffle is Already ‘Sneaker of the Year’
When I was a kid, I’d press my nose against my mother's and watch her eyeballs move across my vision like great disembodied planets orbiting earth. They would collide, overlap and disappear, existing somewhere deep in my peripheries before slowly materialising again, aligning perfectly. She looked like the primordial, one-eyed giants of Greek mythology.
Later, this interest in visual manipulation manifested as a love for Magic Eye, kaleidoscopes, hallucinogenics, the shimmering autostereograms symptomatic of chronic migraine aura and, ever since Chitose Abe’s SS19 show in Paris, the sacai Nike Waffle LDV.
Like all great artists, sacai repeatedly challenge and distort perception.
Founded in ‘99, sacai built their brand on a vast technical ability spearheaded by Chitose Abe’s preternatural capacity to fuse elements together. The daughter of a seamstress, Abe cut her teeth at Comme des Garçons before nurturing the sacai label (and two-year-old daughter, Toko) from her home in Tokyo. By the time sacai hosted its second show in Paris back in ‘09, the brand had already secured 15 international clients. In 2019, sacai have over 90 stockists worldwide, collaborating with everyone from Nike to Dr. Dre.
Chitose Abe brings two decades of handcrafted expertise to a contemporary sneaker industry inundated by the nauseating influencer-turned-artist-turned-designer narrative punctuated by blank cheques and legacy silhouettes. Meticulously constructed with suede, leather and lightweight, semi-translucent mesh, the sacai Waffle LDV somehow maintains aesthetic grace despite the psychedelic design blueprint and vintage 70s colour palette
Catwalk and street, neo-vintage and extraterrestrial – the sacai Waffle LDV truly belongs in another dimension.
'My collections are based purely on my creative instincts. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I am a firm believer that if you’re producing well-designed products at the right price that your business is destined to flourish.' – Chitose Abe
So far in 2019, no other release has better epitomised the need for patient and handcrafted sneaker design, the tripped-out interpretation of the Nike Waffle Daybreak and LDV Fusion emphasising a lifetime of careful design considerations and, ultimately, the most vanguard expression of sneaker design this year.
The sacai LDV Waffle changes the pace in an industry defined by the catch-all term ‘deconstruction’, instead opting for a careful reconstructive approach that honours two lesser-known Nike silhouettes not eternally propelled by the hype train. While we can arbitrarily flip the Swoosh on the Air Jordan 1, tag zip-tags to the Air Force 1, or glue heel tabs to a Vomero 5, Chitose Abe decided to collaborate with Nike in the truest sense of the word, effectively creating an entirely new silhouette.
'I try to create a balance between stability and betrayal'
The sacai Nike LDV Waffle doesn’t rely on app-driven clout or listless celebrity ‘collaborations’. This is a patient masterpiece born in a culture feeding off instant gratification, and while the rest of the sneakersphere suffered a series of involuntary conniptions after the progressive delays of the first two colourways, I sat there thinking – is patience still a virtue? Then sacai dropped a two-tongued articulation of design brilliance and assassination of the one-eyed perspective forever circulating and undermining the sneaker industry.
Take a holiday. Pick mushrooms. Relax.
Chitose Abe and sacai just made the rest of 2019 irrelevant. The LDV Waffle is already sneaker of the year.