Leo assures us that “this collaboration is richer and more meaningful because it is not a question of putting a logo on the product, but rather of telling stories, reaching together a wider audience and building a meaningful partnership” . He adds: “Without a doubt, I knew the story [of Charles and Ray] would be amazing to tell through sneakers. Each pair passed the Eamesian test, which Carla describes as “the collaboration, attention to detail, iteration and the way it should be to name a few.”
Functional versatility is at the heart of every shoe’s design, but it’s the unassuming presentation of the product that stands out. As Eames explains, his grandparents firmly believed that “the role of the designer is that of a good host anticipating the needs of the guest” and instilled this into every design they created. “[Charles and Ray] weren’t icons of monitors, they were incredibly curious people, ”he says. “They always asked us what intrigued us… That spirit really defined their approach.
Erin narloch, a senior executive at Reebok, points out how the “maturity and studied nature of [midcentury-modern] the design highlights an essential, refined, organized and thoughtful approach to the human experience and our environment. Charles and Ray deeply understood that aesthetics could be part of function, and when the world built and designed reflects a human-centered experience, we can all relate to it as it is an integral part of everyday life.
“I feel like the shoes and the design have a long-standing love affair, a flirtation or at the very least an affection for each other’s work,” says Erin. “Furniture, interiors and design, like shoes, reflect identity, status, lifestyle and aesthetics. In the shoes and in the design of the Eames era, I would also dare to say [there’s] an undercurrent of accessibility, innovation and commerce… This approach is a nod to the hype, excess and lavishness that can be a hallmark of sneakers. As a result, Eames’ design message gets through. It is an honest and integral message which calls for “the best, the more, the less” and an approach which then becomes the Grail. “
Prior to running the Reebok Archives, Erin spent over a decade working in museums. As someone with an affinity for furniture, art, culture and design, this collaboration was for her the ultimate passion project. (Erin’s favorite Eames pieces are the Kazam! Machine and Aluminum group chairs.) “I organized an exhibit over 10 years ago called ‘It’s Herman Miller Time’ in Wisconsin where I had the opportunity to research the lives of Ray and Charles and their impact on design today, ”she adds. “From that moment on, I got hooked. Working on this project has really been a dream.