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Following the unveiling of the adidas Originals x Daniel Arsham interactive installation at KITH NYC as well as the first instalment of his short-film, Hourglass, the collaboration between the artist and adidas Originals reached its highest point this week with the reveal of a collaborative edition of the adidas New York silhouette, produced in Arsham’s distinct visual style.

One of the most iconic adidas running models, the New York is a pure product of 1980s sportswear, featuring a paneled construction and an EVA midsole with distinctive Dellinger mesh wrapping. For this release, the shoe stays true to its original blueprint with a number of stylistic updates.

As explained in a previous video interview with Highsnobiety, Arsham’s fascination with iconic artifacts of contemporary culture has played heavily throughout his collaboration with adidas Originals, from his interactive New York pay phone installation at KITH NYC to the distribution of a number of “burner” touch-tone telephones in the days that followed.

In keeping with this ethos, Arsham’s collaborative shoe pays tribute to the New York silhouette through an understated, minimalist approach, using innovative materialization and a rugged construction technique to render the classic 3-stripes model in a pure, iconic form.

Imitating the deteriorated, “found object” aesthetic of pieces such as Arsham’s ongoing “Future Relic” series, the New York is constructed from a roughly cut canvas with frayed edges, whilst disruptive elements such as laces and branding hits are kept to a bare minimum.

Like much of Arsham’s art, the collaborative shoe’s apparent simplicity conceals deeper messaging within the shoe’s design. On the shoe’s leather heel patch, the familiar phone number that we were encouraged to call earlier in the campaign appears in a tonal print, whilst an invisible print across the shoe’s midsole, reading “THE PAST IS PRESENT”, is visible only when viewed under Ultra Violet light, complemented by UV-sensitive stitching details on the shoe’s 3-stripes.

In keeping with the collaboration’s penchant for theatrics, the shoe is presented in special collector’s packaging faithful to Arsham’s “Future Relic” aesthetic – considering the popularity of the artist’s original series of editions, there’s no doubt this shoe will prove popular amongst Arsham’s own following as well as the usual sneakerhead crowd.

Arguably most notable, however, is the branding details seen on the shoe’s tongues; “Daniel Arsham” on the right shoe, and “Past” on the left. The first installment of Arsham’s short film Hourglass concluded with a “To be continued…”, and both Arsham and adidas’ previous statements on the collaborative project describe it as an exploration of past, present and future.

As a result, this offering’s preeminent focus on the past creates a notable absence of both two significant elements. With that in mind, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to assume this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of the adidas Originals x Daniel Arsham project. All I’ll say is, keep your ears to the ground. If we’re lucky, there’ll be more to come.

Watch the full Hourglass film here.

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Words by Gregk Foley

Gregk Foley is a writer based in Berlin whose work explores the intersections of style, culture, politics and identity.