Converse has launched a limited edition collection of sneakers interpreted through the artwork of world-renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The range was launched in a selected number of retailers in Brazil on 23 October 2012 as part of a collaborative effort between Converse and the Oscar Niemeyer Foundation. The Style Examiner had the opportunity to view the collection on a recent visit to São Paulo and considered it a highly successful range that deserved further world exposure.
Born in 1907, Niemeyer has had a career spanning over eight decades, having established himself as one of Modernism’s greatest pioneers. Through his contemporary use of concrete and bold approach to design, Niemeyer introduced a new way to build ‘curved’ architecture, which has since become his signature, recognised throughout the world. Niemeyer’s bold design approach and outspoken voice revolutionized the way the world looks at architecture and design. The Converse x Oscar Niemeyer collection features five new iterations of Converse silhouettes, each with a nod to Niemeyer’s legendary curve and his creative, rebellious point of view.
The collection includes a Chuck Taylor All Star Hi sneaker with an all-over canvas print featuring the architect’s famous handwritten poem about curves. Featured in a bold red, the tongue creates a reference to the entrance of São Paulo’s Ibirapuera Auditorium. The Chuck Taylor All Star Oxford model (The Style Examiner’s favourite) continues the use of the red curve, this time outlining the edge of the upper, creating a contrast to the sneaker’s white canvas. Natural leather accents on the toe bumper, tongue and midsole complete the look of this model. The collection also includes a Chuck Taylor All Star Chukka Boot rendered in rich, natural suede that was inspired by the monument ‘Torture Never More’, designed by Niemeyer in 1986. The lining in leather features the architectural illustration referencing the social movement ‘Landless’, further reinforcing Niemeyer’s beliefs. A Converse Skid Grip Oxford slip-on features the signature curve as a red outline of the upper and an additional reference to the poem of Curves on the right shoe’s toe. Red stitching and natural coloured leather patches on the heel give the overall design a textured look and feel. Rounding out the collection, a Jack Purcell sneaker features a red and white lace option and the signature Jack ‘smile’ detail as a playful representation of Niemeyer’s curve.