Chitose Abe — founder of Japanese luxury brand Sacai — was given the reigns for Jean Paul Gaultier’s next couture collection in early 2020. But thanks to the pandemic, Abe’s temporary takeover was delayed, giving Nike just enough time to commemorate the collaboration with their own. Now, a modified Nike VaporWaffle sneaker bears both Sacai and Gaultier’s names.
Couture companies are beginning to realize that they too can cash in on hyped collaborations. After Nike and Dior’s Air Jordan 1 practically broke the internet and resold for thousands more than it already retailed, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton — aided by head hypebeast Virgil Abloh — created co-branded Air Force 1s. Sacai is no stranger to Nike partnerships either, having crafted a stacked Blazer Low alongside the Swoosh (and KAWS) just this year. But the addition of Jean Paul Gaultier — a couture brand best known for its unconventional designs — brings Nike’s collaborations to a new level. In a market where exclusivity means everything, this three-way partnership is sure to be as limited as it gets.
A rich remodel — Under the influence of Sacai and JPG, Nike’s VaporWaffle has been elevated beyond its original blueprint. The low-top sneaker now sports a mid-rise look, supported by layers of nylon, leather, and suede that make up the shoe’s upper, including its stacked Swoosh. A thick cross stitch reminiscent of those seen on baseball gloves bonds the multi-texture panels together.
Two sets of laces — one classic and one ribbon-like — further the stitched-up look as they both lace up the sneaker. Peeking out are layered labels on the tongue featuring Nike and Sacai co-branding, while Jean Paul Gaultier’s signature stripe motif covers the shoe’s insole. The VaporWaffle’s sole remains virtually unchanged to allow for some Nike design elements to shine through the shoe’s modifications.
Pre-orders are already sold out — So far, two iterations of the Nike x Sacai x Jean Paul Gaultier sneakers are rumored to be releasing. One features a tan base accented by hits of yellow, orange, green, navy, and white, while the other simplifies the design down to a black and white color scheme. Each will be just as desirable as the other, however, thanks to the names attached to their production.
Pre-orders of the pairs, which launched on a collaborative Sacai x JPG website, have already sold out despite the sneaker retailing for £198 (roughly $273). With deliveries of the shoe expected by September — likely to coincide with New York Fashion Week — it’s unclear whether Sacai and JPG plan to launch more stock later in the summer. Your best chance at copping the shoe will presumably be through a Nike SNKRS release, but when that’ll be has yet to be announced.