In 1983, to elicit creativity from their customers, Adidas introduced
Adicolor, a collection of white sneakers sold with fast drying, vibrant hued, felt-tip markers. Concurrent with Punky Brewster‘s wildly mismatched sartorial repertoire
and color-changing neon garb (such as Generra‘s Hypercolor and Body Glove t-shirts) having passionate admirers expressing their individuality by adopting a colorful display was a prevailing casual style in the ’80s. Inevitably, Adicolor caused a frenzy. Two decades later, Adidas is hoping to replicate their success by reissuing the footwear line.
Liad Krispin, the company’s head of trend & lifestyle marketing for the US, says, "Today, Adidas Originals is all about celebrating originality. The Adicolor project is about customization, personalization, and self-expression; the timing couldn’t be more perfect." This March, the White Series rolls out: mostly available in limited editions, the line includes six models with customization tools including markers, aerosol paint, and acrylic paint.
For such a blockbuster brand, any old reprisal won’t suffice. In staggered releases from March to May, Adidas is also introducing the Color Series, a large-scale collaborative project with modern creatives and iconic brands to re-imagine a specific shoe from the White Series. Their concoctions, based on a single color from the original markers (pink, yellow, blue, red, green, or black) resulted in an arresting collection, otherwise known as the crème de la kicks of Adicolor’s second coming.
Claude Closky, a recent recipient of the Prix Duchamp, masterminded Claude Closky for Colette (exclusively available at the Paris emporium), applying a "very low-tech approach," by scribbling over the three-striped Adidas logo with black ink. To a fashionista, this is minimally chic, but an artsy type might read it as Closky’s critique of the restrictive notion of branding. Peter Saville, the legendary graphic designer who is the creative director of Manchester, also worked by subtraction, "taking away the (Adidas) stripes" and "surface detailing" from the shoes to produce an "anonymous" high-top with a faint green sole. Jim Lambie, a 2005 Turner Prize nominee, created an entry for the Hideout. Exclusive to that London store, this low-top model is eerily engulfed by printed eyes. Jeremy Scott used previously unseen work by Keith Haring with a "naïve, junior high school quality, like someone drew it on a notebook" and created his Color Series entry by transferring the images onto leather high-tops. Cey Adams, a contemporary of Basquiat, conveys street-meets-rap allure in his blue suede shoes, while Surface to Air uses red and black prints of butterfly wings on satin.
Sneakers were also canvases to project the endearing ethos of some
familiar pop-culture icons: Pucci‘s psychedelic prints as Adidas
stripes; the silly and jovial countenance of Sesame Street‘s Kermit on a green Stan Smith model; an image from a Panini trading card of Carlo Parola striking a ball midair; the porcine come-hither look of Miss Piggy on a pink shoe’s sole; retro-futuristic graphics from the groundbreaking ’80s film, Tron hiply adorn a low-cut version; and the proverbial optimist, Mr. Happy from the "Happyland" series of children’s books charmed his way onto canary yellow shoes.
Since most of these models will only be available in limited edition — from 1,000-5,000 — consider yourself anointed if you can secure a pair. But for mere mortals, there’s an "Ode to NYC" series by the multidisciplinary artist Bill McMullen available at select Foot Locker stores worldwide.
Adidas Adicolor White Series
3-4 Adidas Adicolor Color Series
6-7 Adidas Adicolor Color Series