Where the runway meets the street

Whenever Supreme releases a new season preview, it’s usually the accessories range that creates the most discussion — it’s an ever-evolving collection of random items emblazoned with the infamous box logo, from bricks to bolt cutters, flashlights to fire extinguishers. These seemingly obscure objects in fact all have a legitimate connection to the brand and its tight-knit crew.

In this new regular column, I look into the story and influences behind some of Supreme’s most interesting new items. This week sees the release of the Supreme inflatable blimp, another blow-up novelty accessory in a similar vein to their SS15 beach ball.

So why a blimp?

A blimp is a non-rigid airship that relies on the pressure of helium gas to keep it afloat and maintain its shape. The blimp was first developed for the military as far back as 1915 but nowadays is mostly known as an advertising vessel for the rubber tire company Goodyear.

The blimp has appeared several times in popular culture, including the climax to the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill, which saw Christopher Walken and Roger Moore dueling above San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge from the cockpit of (Walken’s character) Max Zorin’s blimp.

It’s unlikely that Supreme were taking cues from 007 so let’s look at some other possible influences, such as Ice Cube’s 1993 crossover hit It Was a Good Day.

Released within months of the 1992 LA riots, the Isley Brothers sampling song saw the former N.W.A (who Supreme previously referenced in T-shirt and hat graphics) emcee rap about a positive day in South Central Los Angeles at a time when racial tensions were at breaking point. The second single from Cube’s third album The Predator (whose logo was also appropriated by Supreme in 2008 and 2010) finished with the rapper reflecting on his perfect day with the now infamous line:

“Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp … and it read Ice Cube’s a pimp (yeah).”

Far more likely, however, is the link to the Brian De Palma’s classic 1983 movie Scarface about the rise (and eventual fall) of Tony Montana, from a Cuban refugee arriving in Miami to becoming a powerful drug kingpin.

Just look through Supreme’s FW17 preview and you’ll see multiple references throughout the collection with the New Yorkers officially referencing the movie on a variety of clothing including denim/leather jackets, sweaters, hoodies and jeans. Many of these items feature the iconic phrase “The World is Yours”, which is featured in a pivotal scene within the film.

Following Frank Lopez’s failed assassination attempt on Montana, he stares through the glass walls of Elvira’s condo and up at a blimp which reads: “The World is Yours”. Montana takes that phrase to heart and ruthlessly pursues his version of the ‘American Dream’ by reaching the top of Miami’s cocaine trade at any cost.

In the movie’s bloody climax, Tony Montana lies dead, face-down in the pool below his large “The World is Yours” neon/brass statue, which he had installed in his mansion as a reminder of the mantra.

FW17 isn’t the first time Supreme has referenced the Scarface blimp, though. For its SS12 season, a graphic featuring a Supreme-branded blimp, above the slogan “The World is Yours”, was produced on a five-panel mesh cap (available in six colorways) and a quilted work jacket (available in three).

Scarface and its rags-to-riches tale has long been regarded as hip-hop’s favorite movie with multiple samples and references over the years, including those from Supreme collaborators Nas and The Geto Boys.

This week’s inflatable blimp is a neat way of Supreme to bring things full circle in its homage to the crime classic.

Next up, here’s why Supreme dropped chopsticks and a sake set.

Words by Ross Wilson

Author of Highsnobiety’s regular column “The Supreme Weekly,” Ross has been down with the NY crew since 1994 and has extensive knowledge of the brand’s influences and references.

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