Reebok celebrates the creative legacy of Charles and Ray Eames, the design world’s original power couple, by dropping the Reebok x Eames Club C ‘Monotone Pack’ sneaker today.
There was a time when mid-century modern furniture was the stuff you found at your grandparents’ house in the suburbs, often stashed in the basement or garage. For a long time, it was considered too retro; too kitsch to be taken seriously with its surfboard-like, aerodynamic shapes and sci-fi movie-worthy designs. Sometime in the 1990s, however, pieces by designers like George Nakashima and George Wilson, all of whom had cut their chops in the post-WWII design arena, were being sold at auction for sound barrier-breaking prices.
There was probably no other single designer or, in this case, design couple, who set off the nuclear bomb of creative change in the period more than Charles and Ray Eames. Charles, an architect and disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, met Ray Kaiser, a painter, at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1940 and moved to Venice, in Los Angeles, California, where they launched their own design office. There the creative duo worked on projects including furniture design, films, and architecture that would have a profound impact across the design world, creating a signature American style that lasts to this day. A documentary on their sometimes troubled lives, The Architect & The Painter, premiered on PBS’s American Masters series last year.
They are perhaps best known for the Eames Lounge Chair, a bent plywood and black leather creation as suitable for Captain Kirk as it was for dear old Dad to enjoy his evening paper and a full pipe, yet they are also known for a potato chip-shaped fiberglass chair that was the definitive choice for airport waiting areas for decades, as well as for a ribbed leather conference room chair that is the must-have seating for tech companies from Palo Alto to Brooklyn.
Inspired by that now-classic design legacy, Reebok has partnered with Eames Office to create a shoe that’s for design junkies and sneakerheads alike, but which the rest of us will probably wear just as stylishly. It’s the first footwear range developed with the design firm, currently run by the Eames family’s third generation. Based on the Club C, Reebok’s own classic silhouette, The Monotone Pack features a subtle Eames logo on the side and as a pattern on a pair of optional shoelaces. Available in a crisp clean white or true minimalist black, like the Eames approach to design, the shoes are both playful and purposeful. They are, perhaps, the perfect shoe for our post-pandemic world where handsome style and ultimate comfort rule the sartorial roost. The box itself is based on the couple’s Pacific Palisades home, “Case Study House No. 8,” which offered colorful graphic design married to industrial innovation. (The house, a National Historic Landmark, is now a museum run by the Eames Foundation.)
The shoes have been an exclusive at Eamesoffice.com since October 15, but can now be found at Reebok.com, and select retailers nationwide, as of today. A second drop, the Ray Eames Signature Pack, will drop later this season, featuring reproductions of her Composition painting of 1939 and the Eames Dot Pattern from 1947.
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