Virgil Abloh-designed sneakers race to $25.3M at NYC charity auction
NEW YORK – In a highly anticipated auction that marked the first-ever release of the Louis Vuitton and Nike ‘Air Force 1’ sneakers and Louis Vuitton pilot case created by the late Virgil Abloh, the 200-lot sale achieved a total of $25.3 million — more than eight times the auction’s overall $3 million high estimate — setting multiple new benchmarks, including the highest known public records for the most valuable sneaker and fashion auctions ever staged, and the most valuable charity auction at Sotheby’s in nearly 10 years. Proceeds from the sale will benefit The Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, which, in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund, supports the education of academically promising students of Black, African American or African descent.
The blockbuster auction was highlighted by Lot 1, Size 5, which achieved $352,800 – more than 23 times its $15,000 high estimate. Lot 181, a size 11, had the highest number of bids in the sale, registering 68 total bids.
The dedicated online auction of 200 special edition Louis Vuitton and Nike ‘Air Force 1’ by Virgil Abloh sneakers were made available in a range of sizes, from 5 – 18, with a starting bid of $2,000. The sneakers, entirely made in precious calf leather, are embellished with Louis Vuitton’s emblematic Monogram and Damier patterns with natural cowhide piping. Each pair was sold with an auction-exclusive Louis Vuitton pilot case that also appeared in the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2022 collection. The pilot case was reinterpreted from the Maison’s archive in an iconic orange colorway and made of Taurillon Monogram Leather. It features Louis Vuitton’s classic S lock closure in white metal finishing, a luggage tag in the shape of the Nike Swoosh, and adapts to every shoe size, based on an internal cushion system.
Prior to his passing on November 28, 2021, Virgil Abloh, the Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director, was involved in the early organization of the auction and its surrounding events. The auction is the first in a string of related Louis Vuitton events that will celebrate the Louis Vuitton and Nike ‘Air Force 1’ by Virgil Abloh from January through 2022.
The Louis Vuitton and Nike ‘Air Force 1’ Collaboration by Virgil Abloh
The Nike Air Force 1, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, was designed in 1982 and is one of the most successful and iconic shoes ever created. For the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2022 collection, Virgil Abloh collaborated with Louis Vuitton and Nike to create bespoke Air Force 1s, fusing the sneaker’s classic codes with the insignia and materials of Louis Vuitton in an homage to the hip-hop culture that shaped him.
The sneakers were made with materials employed in Abloh’s Louis Vuitton men’s collections and were styled with Abloh’s signature quotation marks, referencing the written graphics he used to adorn his work. The individual styles produced for the auction were made by Louis Vuitton in its shoe manufactury in Fiesso d’Artico, Italy.
The Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund
In July 2020, Virgil Abloh created the Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund. Launched on a $1 million donation by Virgil Abloh and partners Evian, Farfetch, Louis Vuitton, New Guards Group and Nike, its mission statement is to foster equity and inclusion within the fashion industry by providing scholarships to academically promising students of Black, African American or African descent. Virgil Abloh named the fund “Post-Modern” to signify that recipients will receive not only funds but also ongoing career-support services and mentoring through the FSF. “Post-Modern” Scholars are selected each year from FSF’s network of more than 66 colleges and universities across the U.S., including eight HBCUs, through the annual FSF Scholarship Competition.