Last year, GQ published a definitive guide to the 50 greatest Nike collaborations in the Swoosh’s 50-year-history of industry-shifting designs. When we update the list for the next half-century, it will probably start here: the Nike x Tiffany & Co. Air Force 1 1837.
Images of the sneakers, which release March 7, leaked over the weekend, prompting both brands—and Tiffany executive Alexandre Arnault—to tease images of a Tiffany Blue sneaker box on Sunday. Though the sneakers had been long-rumored, the official look inside the box contains a few surprises. Besides the black suede AF1s, which come with sterling silver badges affixed to each heel, there’s an entire kit of sterling sneakerhead essentials, too: a shoe horn, a shoe brush, a whistle, and a dubrae (that metal shoelace ornament thing commonly found on AF1s).
Since joining the LVMH family of high-wattage French luxury in 2021, Tiffany has engineered moments of explosive cultural and commercial hype with the likes of Supreme and Patek Philippe (not to mention Jay-Z and Beyoncé). But this new release, while similar, represents a step forward. Those collaborations brought iconic brands into Tiffany’s world: save for a requisite box logo tee, the Tiffany x Supreme tie-up re-worked Tiffany classics, and the Tiffany Blue-dialed Patek Philippe Nautilus was a maximally flashy piece from a long-standing partnership. The Nike release, though, marks the first time the Fifth Avenue jeweler has lent its name, hue, or hardware to a shoe. (Previously, the closest Tiffany and Nike got to each other was that scene in Funny Face when Audrey Hepburn struts in front of the Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre. That, and the so-called “Tiffany” Nike Dunks, which were in fact a collab with Diamond Supply Co. and not the jeweler.)
Could Tiffany be testing the waters for a broader entry into the fashion world? Well, why not? Louis Vuitton used to be a luggagemaker, while Thierry Hermès made saddles. A couple hundred years later, both houses do brisk business in ready-to-wear. Like those heritage French labels, Tiffany can legitimately claim to be a lifestyle brand, one that both makes just about everything besides clothes, and which has an instantly recognizable mark and color—one that looked pretty good on a one-off varsity jacket the brand made for Cody Simpson in 2019. And like, say, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany represents a distinct strain of American image-making (thanks, in part, to Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany’s).
If any further proof is required that Tiffany’s imprimatur carries weight beyond the world of engagements and I-got-a-promotion cufflinks, the sneakers, which are set to retail for $400 at Tiffany’s two NYC flagships, select Nike retailers, and on the Nike SNKRS app, are expected to sell out immediately.
See the full release below.