Alaïa’s First Sneaker Collab Ain’t What You’d Expect

Azzedine Alaïa built his namesake label into a low-key fashion powerhouse that garnered a following not for its overt branding but exquisite craft and unmistakable silhouettes. Who needs a logo when your dresses do all the marketing for you?

That was then and this is now. In September 2022, Alaïa is introducing its first-ever sneaker collaboration, a surprise partnership with Italian footwear label Superga.

Alaïa x Superga comprises four distinct silhouettes, each a unique hybridization of the maison’s ideals and Superga’s approachable shape.

Azzedine Alaïa did it all on his own terms. He focused entirely on handmade couture-level garments, inviting well-heeled admirers to exclusive fittings in his Paris studio and eschewing the fashion calendar entirely if his schedule didn’t allow for it.

Alaïa was clothing first, clients second, business third or fourth or maybe not even at all. Not that he wasn’t a savvy salesman, mind you, but a true artist puts art above profit.

The minute designer’s uncompromising ethos won fans as varied as Naomi Campbell, Rei Kawakubo, and Peter Lindbergh. But times are changing.

With Raf Simons’ right-hand man, Pieter Miulier overseeing Alaïa since a few years after the eponymous founder’s passing in 2017, the house has kept to its core beliefs while cannily expanding its reach.

Maison Alaïa now has a renewed focus on ready-to-wear, a slick website, a full collection of handbags and accessories, adapting to the changing world with a fresh direction.

But if a house as inimitable as Alaïa is going to enter the sneaker realm, you might expect it to partner with a brand at least as big as itself; the Nikes and adidas of the world.

Nope! It’s the humble Superga receiving the Alaïa touch, which kinda makes sense given Azzedine Alaïa’s personal predilection for humble appearances — the designer’s perpetual uniform was a black suit of silk Chinese jacket and pants with black cotton slippers.

Mulier’s Alaïa x Superga 2750 and 2790 sneakers are the house’s first delicate step into the world of sneakers.

I won’t call it streetwear since these are not typical sneakers: pairs begin at $460 for a white canvas shoe embellished with a satin Alaïa tag, double-“A” stitches, and leather insole, topping out at $730 for a black platform pair fitted with an embossed leather upper.

A normal Superga 2750 retails for about $65, mind you. These are the daily drivers of Italy, making this Maison Alaïa team-up a delicious exploration of contrasts.

It’s a brave new world for Alaïa, which will continue issuing ultra limited edition Superga sneakers on the Alaïa website and stores through the forthcoming seasons.

This is as accessible as Alaïa gets, which is to say not very accessible. But that’s Alaïa for you.

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