PARIS — Dior is expanding its sneaker collaboration with Jordan Brand to a full collection of ready-to-wear and accessories, marking the Nike-owned label’s first step into the “luxury streetwear” segment.
The two brands unveiled a limited-edition sneaker called the Air Jordan 1 High OG Dior at the Dior pre-fall 2020 show in Miami in December. At a presentation in Paris on Saturday, the French fashion house unveiled the full Air Dior capsule collection that will land at a selection of Dior stores and pop-ups beginning in April.
“The clothes are based on Michael Jordan’s off-court style. He wore suits all the time — I love that,” said Kim Jones, creative director of men’s wear at Dior, noting that the collection has an upscale feel, with a palette of navy blue, white and gray. “I like the fact that we’re doing something that’s extremely unexpected in terms of clothing.”
The line includes a low version of the sneaker, which is already one of the most highly anticipated launches of 2020, with intense speculation surrounding how many pairs will be produced. The price of the high-top shoe is rumored to be around $2,000, according to specialist web sites.
Dior declined to comment on prices or provide additional details, but it is understood the range will be available in less than a dozen locations worldwide. Martin Lotti, vice president of design at Jordan Brand, would only say that the Air Jordan 1 High OG Dior will be produced “in the thousands.”
The collaboration marks the first time that Jordan Brand has partnered with a luxury fashion brand, though it has produced shoes with designer labels including Off-White, Fragment Design, Dover Street Market and Comme des Garçons. It’s also the first time it has tampered with its signature Wings logo.
“This definitely has been something that we thought about long and hard, and I think it speaks to the importance of this collaboration that we are willing to change the Air Jordan to Air Dior,” Lotti explained. “That was not an easy decision in any way, shape or form.”
He said the Dior collaboration opened up a new field for the brand.
“That wings logo, we will use going forward as kind of positioning the more luxury world for Jordan. So this is not one collaboration, in and out — it’s kind of positioning the brand also in this luxury streetwear zone, so you’ll see more of that coming in the future,” Lotti said.
Sportswear and luxury have been courting each other for a while.
Louis Vuitton, under Jones at the time, broke the barrier with its 2017 collaboration with Supreme, and went on to name Off-White founder Virgil Abloh as head of men’s wear design. In recent months, Prada has entered a long-term partnership with Adidas, and Balmain has joined forces with Puma.
Meanwhile, Vuitton is expected to announce a tie-up with the National Basketball Association at an event in Paris on Jan. 22. “It’s not like this idea is completely new. It certainly has come to the forefront now with many people seeing the opportunity between those worlds colliding,” Lotti said of the trend.
“I think there’s a Zeitgeist here that speaks to it. This juxtaposition seems right on many levels, and that’s certainly something that we’re also interested in, and it felt very natural to have Dior and Jordan, both brands that have excellent craft and design, to bring those worlds together,” he added.
It was also a natural move for Jones, who owns more than 40 pairs of Air Jordan Ones. “I always wear Jordans, so it’s my shoe,” said the designer. “It’s quite a personal thing, but you know, it did kind of break the Internet, which isn’t bad,” he said of the reaction to the Air Dior sneaker, debuted by rapper Travis Scott at the Miami show.
“It’s one of those collaborations made in heaven, in many ways, both on a personal side but also from a brand perspective,” Lotti enthused. “It comes from a genuine place. It helps ultimately to expand the dimension of each brand, which is what we’re looking for.”
Jones has worked with Nike several times on one-off sneakers or capsule sportswear collections. For the Jordan project, he opted for a combination of Dior’s tailoring expertise with an Eighties-inspired American sportswear feel.
The collection includes a gray suit with Air Dior logo buttons, and silk shorts featuring an archival CD graphic created by Marc Bohan. “We’re selling huge amounts of suits — it’s doubled — so it’s kind of nice to celebrate it. People want to look smart, they want to feel good. It’s kind of cool to do that,” said Jones.
He owns an original version of the Jordan Wings MA-1 bomber jacket, launched in 1985, so he’s created new versions with the Air Dior emblem on the back and the Jumpman logo on its sleeve.
Among the most luxurious pieces is a gray suede hoodie, handmade in Italy, with a lining featuring the Dior Oblique motif, and the Air Dior logo perforated on the back. But the line also includes smaller items like socks, silk squares, a sweatband, chain pendants, a tie, a bucket hat and four leather goods pieces.
With fake Air Dior sneakers already trading on eBay for around $400, Dior and Jordan are fine-tuning the rollout to avoid scrums. “We want to make sure that it’s done right for the consumer as well as for both brands, that it’s an elevated experience, and since it’s so hotly in demand, we need to make sure that it’s done safely too,” said Lotti.
Advance bids on resale sites like StockX indicate strong demand, so Jones wants to make sure the shoes don’t all get snapped up by resellers.
“They’re expensive anyway, so people are saving up to buy them, so I just want to make sure that there’s a chance that people can get it, really, rather than people then getting it and selling it for a ridiculous amount of money,” he said.
Neither side has confirmed if the collaboration will continue, but it’s safe to assume that if it’s a hit, the relationship will last.
“As you can imagine, both partners see the benefits and obviously like the results, so you can read between the lines as much or as little as you want,” said Lotti. “The opportunity we have here is this collision of basketball, youth culture, fashion and culture in general. I think that’s an interesting place to be.”