Playground - The design of sneakers
Basketball shoe, tennis shoe, trainer or sneaker, regardless of the name, they have influenced the way we live, and the way we dress, since the early 20th century. Worn by millions of people the world over, sneakers have, in just a few decades, become a mass-market product that transcends gender, age, and social and cultural background. But how did a simple sports shoe make the leap from the pitch to become a genuine fashion accessory seen on pavements around the world – and generate an industrial rivalry with huge sums of money at stake? With over 400 pairs, films, archive documents, photos and personal accounts, the exhibition will trace the evolution of this giant industry and showcase the sneaker in all its cultural dimensions.
First, visitors will discover a selection of several iconic models, spanning 1920 to the modern day, that are key markers of the history of the sneaker. Worn by sports stars, demonstrating breakthrough technological innovation, promoted by famous rappers or skaters, or produced by major fashion designers, stylists or iconic artists – each of the selected models has a story to tell. They reflect a moment in time, an era or a social phenomenon.
In the second part of the exhibition, visitors will discover the story behind this rise. Long the preserve of the sporting arena, sneakers gradually expanded beyond this field to play a major role in urban culture and fashion. The transfer from sport to street is closely linked to emerging counter-cultures in the United States and Europe in the 1970s. Symbols of rebellion against conformity, tools of distinction for hip-hop and break-dancing icons, or of social and cultural affirmation for certain minorities, sneakers could soon be found on everyone’s feet and became the archetypal democratic object of the 1980s. Films, photos and personal accounts will chart this dazzling success story.
The third part of the exhibition will look back at the key innovations that have shaped the history of the sneaker industry since its inception, and shine a spotlight on the research carried out by major brands’ dedicated departments that, for many years, have been engaged in a race to bring new technologies to market. This trend today addresses the imperatives of ethical fashion and sustainability and inspires the imagination of students at leading fashion schools.
Key figures in the world of sneakers will take centre stage, including collectors (so-called “sneakerheads”) and designers who have contributed to the biggest successes – names like Jacques Chassaing, designer at adidas since 1981 and the brains behind the Forum basketball shoe, among others, and Tinker Hatfield, the designer of the Nike Air Max 1 and the ultra-famous Nike MAG from the film Back to the Future Part II.
Opening : Thursday 9 April at 7pm
Information: Opening hours, prices, guided tour
In order to provide the expertise and knowledge of specialists and collectors in this field, an artistic committee has been constituted, under the coordination of Constance Rubini.
- Jacques Chassaing, footwear designer at Adidas since 1981. He is the designer of several iconic models such as the Forum basketball shoe.
- Pierre Demoux, author of L'Odyssée de la Basket (Éditions La tengo, 2019) and journalist at LesÉchos since 2009.
- Coralie Gauthier, communication consultant for Yohji Yamamoto, the Institut Français de la Mode, Silencio, Wanderlust and the Centre Pompidou.
- Thibault de Longeville, sneakers specialist, author of the documentary Sneakers, le culte des baskets (2006) and founder of the 360creative art agency.
- Samuel Mantelet, expert in sneaker culture, consultant in marketing and communication and co founder of the association Sneakers EMPIRE and the website www.chaussée.eu
- Teddy Sanches, designer and artistic director. Winner of the Audi Talents 2019, director of a film produced for the exhibition on the connections between Hip Hop culture and sneakers.
- Alexander Taylor, industrial designer and consultant for Adidas since 2008. He has developed the Primeknit technology and has been involved in the brand's collaboration with the environmental organization Parley for the Oceans.
The museum wants to thank
The exhibition lenders
American Library in Paris
Archives Balenciaga Paris
Bally Schuhmuseum, Schönewerd
Collection Aurélie Julien Collectible
Collection Louis Vuitton
Cnap, Centre national des arts plastiques
CND, Centre national de la danse
INA, Institut national de l'audiovisuel
le coq sportif
Musée National du Sport, Nice
Musée de la Fédération Française de Tennis, Paris
Le Musée Olympique, Lausanne
Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Paris
Northampton Museums and Art Gallery
Sneakers Museum, Marseille
Studio Alexander Taylor, Londres
Studio Marc Newson Ltd, Londres
Zuza Gronowicz et Barbara Motylinska
The exhibition partners
Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Etablissement Public d’Aménagement Bordeaux-Euratlantique
InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hôtel
Le réseau TBM
SNCF Gares & Connexions
The associative and cultural partners
Lâche-moi les baskets
Fédération Française de Basket-Ball
Formation professionnelle Rêvolution
Ligue Nouvelle-Aquitaine de Basket-Ball
The partners of the afterworksQuartiers d’été
La FIMEB (Fédération inter-associative des musiques Electroniques)
The media partners
Le Site de la Sneaker
Radio Nova Bordeaux
For their fidelity, the museum would also like to thank
Les Amis et le Cercle du madd-bordeaux
Farrow & Ball
Les Crus Bourgeois du Médoc
Les Galeries Lafayette
La société de négoce DIVA