The Return of the Chic Sneaker
The Return of the Chic Sneaker
When McCallan Stringer goes into the studio with artist Adam McEwen, things tend to get messy. “I’m always dripping glue everywhere, so I can’t exactly wear my candle-wax Rodarte heels,” says the model, laughing. Not to mention that she has to shuttle between McEwen’s art space in Queens and casting calls in Manhattan, so sneakers are undoubtedly her preferred mode of transport. “Prabal always teases me for wearing them, but I think he likes the ease of a woman who is comfortable in her own skin,” says Stringer who has played muse to Gurung since his first collection. “There’s something quite glamorous about that.” Besides the obvious practicalities, Stringer’s shoes import the right amount of downtown cool to Gurung’s uptown polish, and she has no qualms about wearing one of his simple long satin skirts with a sleek Y-3 running shoe or a white pair of Keds. Unlike the eighties-inspired high-top that’s been popular in recent years, the new sneaker chic recalls a distinctly nineties minimalism—think Stella Tennant in a pair of Adidas Gazelles. Consider what we’ve been seeing on the runway, that counterintuitive elegance feels particularly current. Inspired by the Parisian women he saw on their way home from the gym, Nicolas Ghesquière paired office-appropriate cigarette pants with low-top sneakers for Balenciaga’s pre-fall collection. And it’s hardly surprising that Phoebe Philo took her end-of-show bow at Céline last month, dressed in a slate-gray turtleneck, black slacks, and a pair of Stan Smiths.
When Corinne Day passed away this past summer, I started looking at all her old editorials in British Vogue,” says Vogue.com Contributing Photographer and DJ Rachel Chandler. “She never wanted a girl in a fashion shoe; she always had her completely natural, in a very basic trainer.” Chandler broke her ankle last year tottering across a cobbled street in the Meatpacking District in five-inch YSL heels, and comfortable footwear has been on the agenda every since. Chandler has been stocking up on streamlined Nike sneakers—a fresher, younger alternative to the ballet flat, that take her just as comfortably from day to night. At a friend’s birthday party in Chinatown last week, for example, she road-tested them with leather leggings and a Céline shell top and the look was a celebratory hit.
Downtown art aficionado Jen Brill loves a sneaker too, although she’s more inclined to put on a simple plimsoll than anything remotely athletic. “White Chucks in the summer and black Chucks in the winter,” says Brill flatly. “All other sneakers are strictly for the gym now.” Back in the nineties, Brill would customize her Adidas Campus sneakers with a chunky striped platform sole not unlike the elevated brogues of Prada’s Spring 2011 collection. She recently went back to St. Marks Place to repeat the treatment with a pair of classic Chucks. Will the heeled sneakers be replacing her Miu Miu platforms this season? “Not likely,” she says. “I’ll keep wearing my regular Chucks, of course, but the platform sneakers will stay in my hallway. Every time I have a visitor, we take turns in trying them on, just for laughs.” Clearly the new sneaker is light and nimble—not clunky or clumsy—and that’s true whether you’re clocking in miles on the treadmill or on the street.
Regards, Velvet Magazine