Michael Jordan and Nike might be synonymous with each other now, but before the former embarked on his basketball career, he was a rookie, who famously wanted to sign with either Converse or Adidas. Nike was never on his radar; Jordan didn’t rate the brand highly and considered it a step down from its two sporting contemporaries.
Jordan’s long-time agent David Falk was the man responsible for convincing him to sign on the dotted line back in 1984. “I thought Nike was the hungriest for Michael – that they needed him the most,” Falk revealed in an episode of ESPN’s The Boardroom that recently aired. The US$2.5 million (S$3.6 million) Nike dangled in front of Jordan certainly helped.
The brand created the Air Jordan 1 (AJ1) sneaker specifically for him to wear on the basketball court. A month later, the National Basketball Association banned the kicks. Instead of lamenting its illfortune, Nike capitalised on the ban with a marketing campaign revolving around its rebellious nature.
Thirty-five years later, and in spite of Jordan’s retirement from the game, the Air Jordan 1 has become a fashion icon. It has been re-interpreted countless times by luxury and streetwear designers alike, capitalising not only on the cultural and social cache the AJ1 has built for itself, but the loyal following it has garnered as well.
History has demonstrated that the release of a limitededition AJ1 tends to incite a frenzy one would normally associate with a visit from the Pope, and extremely rare or coveted pairs can fetch an average of US$2,000 to US$3,000 on the grey market. The most expensive AJ1s ever sold was a black and gold variant; only 12 pairs were produced in 1985 for the Asian market and went for as high as US$25,000.
It was only natural then that Kim Jones, the artistic director for Dior Men chose to collaborate with Jordan Brand. “I love mixing different worlds, different ideas – Dior and Jordan Brand are both of absolute excellence in their fields. To bring them together in this special collaboration is to propose something exciting and truly new.”
The result is the Air Jordan 1 High OG Dior sneaker – predicted to be one of the most expensive pairs of Jordans ever made – that celebrates the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the debut of the first Dior Men’s collection in the US. It was officially unveiled at Dior’s prefall 2020 show at Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida.
Made in Italy, it is crafted from fine calf leather and dressed in the signature Dior Gray. The iconic Nike swoosh, virtually omnipresent in almost every AJ1 iteration, is executed in Dior oblique jacquard – a simultaneous representation of both brands.
Jones has subtly remixed the Jumpman Wings logo, replacing Air Jordan with Air Dior, and stamping it on both the soles of the sneakers and on the side of the leather uppers.
The Peak worked with Dior on this exclusive set of savoir faire images that shine the spotlight on the creation of the Air Jordan 1 High OG Dior sneaker.
“I LOVE MIXING TOGETHER DIFFERENT WORLDS, DIFFERENT IDEAS.”
To ensure the safety of all during the Covid-19 pandemic, the international launch of the Air Dior capsule collection has been postponed.
TEXT FARHAN SHAH PHOTOS VALENTIN HENNEQUIN SNEAKER PACKSHOTS DIOR