Nike/Louis Vuitton sneakers by Abloh beating auction estimates

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NEW YORK  (Reuters) – Bids for 200 pairs of Nike/Louis Vuitton “Air Force 1” sneakers designed by Virgil Abloh are running well beyond Sotheby’s initial estimates in an auction with a week to go.

The sale, which the Louis Vuitton creative designer helped to plan before his death from cancer at age 41 in November, will benefit The Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund for Black, African-American and students of African descent in the fashion industry.

“We’re currently at around $6.1 million in hammer price,” said Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, Brahm Wachter, on Tuesday, when bids ran as high as $60,000.

The original total estimate was $1 million to $3 million for the Jan. 26 to Feb. 8 auction.

The leather sneaker features Abloh’s signature quotation marks and Louis Vuitton’s emblematic patterns. Each comes with a limited-edition orange pilot case.

“On a size 5, there’s just one pair and a size 18, again, there’s just one pair. When you get to a size 10 or a size 8, there are more,” Wachter said.

The sneakers were the first official collaboration between Nike and Louis Vuitton.

“It’s really bringing together two of the great Goliaths of industry. And of course, the genius of Virgil Abloh, who so many people love and respect and miss,” Wachter said.

“Bringing all three of these worlds together is really an incredible thing, which I think is driving global interest.”

Abloh, one of the highest profile Black designers, had been the creative mind behind Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection since 2018. In July 2021, LVMH mandated him to launch new brands and partner with existing ones in non-fashion sectors such as furniture and luggage.

Photo – A pair of limited edition Louis Vuitton Nike ‘Air Force 1’ sneakers, created by the late US designer Virgil Abloh, are displayed as part of an auction preview at Sotheby’s auction house in New York, New York, USA, 19 January 2022. Some 200 pairs of the sneakers are to be auctioned started on 26 January 2022, with a starting bid of 2,000 USD/1,762 EUR, and proceeds from the auction will go to an educational scholarship fund started by Abloh before his death in November 2021. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Editing by Richard Chang)

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