Two Of A Kind: The Cassette

Did Philipp Plein think that without Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta, we would forget?

Philipp Plein has released images of his pre-fall 2022 womenswear collection. No news there if it isn’t for this bag that is eye-catching—not for its exceptional beauty, but its similarity to one that many, many women (and men) have come to love: the Cassette. Bottega Veneta’s intreccio weave, even oversized (and especially so) is the object of intense desire and is a design very much associated with former creative director Daniel Lee. The German label’s version is not only imitative; it is a cheap-looking, floppy version of the original. What is especially shocking is the similarity of the colour too—not the Bottega Green, but this pale teal. Plonking the hideous logo right in the centre-bottom of the flap does not indicate that this bag is a work of total newness.

Now, Philipp Plein is not exactly the embodiment of rigorous originality or good taste, but you’d think Mr Plein would at least wait till the shock of Daniel Lee’s departure from Bottega Veneta has died down before attempting such an indiscreet stunt. Did he think that by next year, BV would phase out the Cassette so that his bag would be a timely stand-in? (Someone pointed out that his, pictured above, comes with a gold-chained shoulder strap. BV’s padded Cassette is available in gold-chained versions too!) Or did he believe that amid the collection’s garish, tacky, vulgar clothes that’s Luke Leitch called “arresting (he used the word twice in a para!)”—think sequinned tracksuits or animal-print anything—women are not going to notice? Then, Philipp Plein is operating in the absence of shame.

Photos: (left) Philipp Plein and (right) Bottega Veneta

Heels For The Field

The soccer pitch, that is! Trust Comme des Garcons to think of that

By Shu Xie

Just as you thought that heels are facing retirement, Comme des Garçons has collaborated with Nike to release a pair of football boots—of all shoes—with, yes, heels! Nope, these are nothing like Balenciaga’s spindly-heeled Crocs. Far from them. Based on a silhouette guys would be familiar with, the Nike Premier, these kicks now look like they have been taken out of a Victorian shoe cabinet for airing! No fellow today, I suspect, will tell you these are sexy (unless he is into cleat and heel!). Yet, there is something intriguingly appealing amount them that I can’t quite describe. The blockish heels won’t be the object of some people’s fetish or the instrument of crime, but they could help elevate a footballer to have a better on-field view!

Women have probably played football for as long as a ball can be kicked around. But as competitive sport for lasses, it took form only in the 18th century. These days, women’s football leagues and matches would be considered progress for the equity of sports and the popularity of the game attests to how far women have come with sporting pursuits. Would Comme des Garçons X Nike Premier, then, be considered having a go at this admirable progress? If anything, CDG’s Rei Kawakubo has, through her work, shown that women need not be hindered by conventions and traditions, with heels or not.

Launched in Dover Street Market London early this week, the shoes are mostly sold out, proving that women do not consider the heeled, all-leather Premier anything but desirable fashion footwear. What’s interesting—though not surprising—is that these Premiers are attracting the interest of guys. One of them, told us, that the largest size is too small. Another, for whom the heel is the immediate draw, said they are, “a bit too masculine”. It is rather surprising that CDG didn’t offer them as non-binary footwear, with larger sizes. Or is that Nike’s conservative decision?

According to DSM, the shoes came about “at the suggestion” of Ms Kawakubo. Nike, always the willing CDG partner, then “updated the classic Premier football boot to feature a built-in heel”. The Premier, launched in 2013, is itself an improved version of 1992’s Tiempo Premier, then already considered to look “timeless”. Now, even rather ungulated, the heeled version looks set to be grailed. It is not certain if Rei Kawakubo is a football fan, but I think, with her Premier she has scored a gold. Sure, no footballer will execute a scissor kick in these, but she could be watched and cheered on by those wearing them, on the bleachers.

Comme des Garçons x Nike Premier, SGD990, is available in limited quantities at DSMS and CDG. By the time you read this, they could be sold out. Product shots: CDG. Photo: CDGfan. Photo illustration: Just So