Nicknamed “the smiler,” Converse’s Jack Purcell will stay true to its original details but has been updated for stability, comfort and fit and high traction herringbone rubber sole — now with oversize Comme des Garçons heart logos on silver filigree colored canvas. The latest collection by Converse x Comme des Garçons Play will mark the first time the partnership will design the Jack Purcell style since 2011.
Over the past 12 years, the Comme des Garçons signature Play line’s signature heart logo, created by New York-based graphic artist Filip Pagowski, has been seen on multiple Converse silhouettes in several iterations from being magnified and multiplied to peeking out amongst polka dots. Still, after 20 collaborations between the two brands continue to bring new energy to their duel collections.
“Comme des Garçons Play holds a special place with our brand,” said Matt Sleep, Converse global design director footwear and special projects. “It’s one that’s defined the modern approach to streetwear. To appeal to a “wide and diverse community with no borders and no labels” — as Adrian Joffe recently put it — for more than a decade is like finding lightning in a bottle.”
Its relationship with Comme des Garçons marks Converse’s longest-running partnership, and according to Sleep has served as an archetype for the brand’s approach to collaborations. In fact, the two brands came together in 2006 after Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe used the Chuck Taylor during Paris Fashion Week Men’s.
“The introduction in many ways was emblematic of the shift in how footwear and fashion brands could work together,” Sleep said. “An authentic relationship from the start [we have stayed] true to each of our values while welcoming our respective audiences into one another’s worlds. This has been the foundation of our approach to collaboration since — we help to realize a collaborator’s vision through our brand and product.”
Notably, the first collective release from Converse and Comme des Garçons utilized the Chuck Taylor All Star silhouette in 2009 — one that has continued to be tapped into for the ongoing partnership. According to Sleep, as the two brands continue to evolve, they will, “continue to work together and in addition to the beloved Chuck 70, plan to introduce new iterations of classics from our lineup of silhouettes of past and present, as well as new expressions of graphics and colorways. They’ll always retain a humble, yet refined aesthetic we believe appeals to our consumers.”
Moreover, Sleep said, the 12-year collaboration has been one of the “purest expressions of Converse and Play. We’ve retained elements of both brands’ DNA in our products but offer the element of surprise with each new iteration — all while providing a form of accessibility and exclusivity.”
Of the uniqueness of the latest Converse x Comme des Garçons Play Jack Purcell collection, Sleep told WWD it is the silhouette first and foremost.
“This is only the second time we’ve offered a take on the Jack Purcell, the first in a decade, but the first time with our new model,” Sleep said. “The Jack Purcell was recently remastered for stability, comfort and fit with a cushioned sock liner and insole, plus a high traction herringbone outsole. With its recognizable ‘smile’ on the toe, we worked to ensure the take was classic with a new canvas colorway but familiar with the quintessential Play logo elements.”
For any upcoming collaborations, Sleep told WWD, “Who knows what classic from our archive may return next.”
The new Converse x Comme des Garçons Play Jack Purcell collection will be available globally on April 1, at the Converse and Dover Street Market online stores.
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