Blue, Black, Beribboned

Is this what happens when you apply couture sensibility to sneakers?


Dior B24 Runtek

By Ray Zhang

It is hard to find exceptionally new forms in sneakers put out by fashion houses. Of course, there are Louis Vuitton’s Archlight and Balenciaga’s Triple S, but I think they are rather uncommon. Many luxury brands are happy to just base their kicks on what sports brands have been doing forever—just look at the astonishingly persistent lazy replication of Adidas’s Stan Smith or Superstar. I guess some sneaker styles are so repeated that they have become a classic, just like the five-pocket, straight-leg denim jeans—any brand can have their own. Innovation be damned.

Dior for men under the watch of Kim Jones has released the B24 Runtek. The blue/black/white colour story here caught my eye recently for not trying to be the next over-the-top shoe with humility issues. I like that the ripstop upper is not overly complex or excessively panelled. There is the black ribbon that zig-zags the middle, and appears to secure the lace guard. Another strip (with branding), emerging from the toe cap, stretches parallel to the midsole and wraps the heel like a handle (before continuing the other side), just above the heel clip. Is this the couture touch that Mr Jones talked about in his men’s wear?

To be sure, B24 Runtek looks like an amalgamation of all the sneakers you’ve loved before; the best bits in a new whole. To me, there’s a strong whiff of the Karhu Fusion 2. Or should that be the Nike Air Max Triax? Or maybe the New Balance MS850 Tre? Well, you know what I mean. But at least it isn’t the Converse wannabe: Mr Jones’s first for Dior, the B23 High-Top and Low-Top.

Still, the shape of the B24 Runtek feels rather new to me. Or perhaps it’s because it doesn’t try to be a father figure. When worn it has enough bulk without looking like it’s trying to outdo Shoes 53045’s and yet it feels slender enough without seeming to make Nike Tailwind appear to be on a diet. If the four-figure price won’t make you choke on your avocado toast, I say this is the kick to have when you need a break from the bombastic.

Dior B24 Runtek, SGD1600, is available at Dior stores. Photo: Zhao Xiangji

(2019) Winter Style 1: The Graphic Sweater-Knit Dress

A knit dress not only travels well, it lends a touch of elegance in what would otherwise be too casual a travel wardrobe


Uniqlo X Marimekko dress

Packing a dress for a winter holiday is not a thing many women consider wise for the luggage. A store buyer told us that a dress is not preferred when it comes to those that can shield against big drops in temperature: “A dress worn here daily won’t be useful when temperatures go below ten. One that can be worn in Seoul, for example, at this time of the year won’t be suitable here.”

But a dress is always a stylish (not to mention, feminine) addition to any practical winter wardrobe. The one-piece that we are drawn to this season is this almost maxi-length wool sweater-dress from the Uniqlo X Marimekko collaboration. You’ll agree that the simplicity of silhouette will ensure that you could wear it for many more winter holidays to come.

Admittedly, we’re not really a fan of this particular collab. Marimekko’s prints and shapes tend to attract women of a certain age and carriage (as seen in the horde that flocked to Uniqlo’s flagship this morning). Sure, we do think fashion should be inclusive—it’s good that Uniqlo caters to a certain demographic, but certain associations sometimes diminishes the sartorial appeal (or edge) of a brand, no matter how creatively the designs are executed.

Yet, we’re still drawn to some of Marimekko’s item if the visuals used aren’t so self-consciously cheery. Such as this fine-gauge merino wool-blend sweater-dress that would carry you from day to night if that transition is important to you. It scores big with the thick, windy black line that meanders down the body as an S-shape or an F1 track, depending on how you see things.

The dress is cut to swing away from the bust. With the fully-fashioned, slightly wide crew neck, it means you can layer it over a shirt, for example. (Layering is key, Uniqlo will tell you.) Over that, a slightly oversized puffer jacket, we think, will look just swell.

Uniqlo X Marimekko merino-blend long-sleeved dress, SGD79, is available from today at Uniqlo, Orchard Central. Photo: Uniqlo