Artsy-Fartsy Ruse

adidas Raf Simons by Three in the 6

As unpalatable as paying $420 for a pair of Stan Smith shoes might sound, we can’t help but be tempted by this clever artsy-fartsy ruse perpetrated by Raf Simons.

Raf Simons, a long-time adidas collaborator and fan of the Stan Smith, has used – with cheeky irony – the classic Stan Smith profile as a canvas to create the illusion of other classic adidas sneakers. The result, which is named the Trompe L’oeil Pack, is a collection of faked shoes that span a three decade period of adidas history.

For those who aren’t versed in art world terminology, trompe-l’oeil is a painting technique that tricks the eye into seeing something as a three-dimensional object. In this case, the trick is a non-existent sneaker. The shoes represented in the pack were photographed and then 3-D modelled to work the Stan Smith shape. To add more realism to the effect, patina from wear and imperfections such as exposed glue were added the images.

In chronological order, the five shoe collection starts off with the 1962 to 1967 version of the Samba. It’s easily our favorite of the bunch, but we dislike the use of painted eyelets; the designer could have used real brass eyelets in place of the existing black ones and avoided the distracting double eyelet effect that ruins the overall effect.

The reproduction of the L.A. Trainer sold during 1979 and 1980 is equally intriguing, in particular the recreation of its distinctive sole unit.

Having been used often as part of the recent Never Made collection, the Micropacer (1984 to 1988) seems to be everywhere these days, which arguably made it a perfect candidate for this special pack.  

Conversely, the recreation of the 1985 Peachtree was a very uncommon choice; however, its light colour palette also makes it the least inspiring and convincing option of the group.

Another controversial choice was the use of the Torsion Conquest Super, originally produced from 1990 to 1992. The result is an almost messy effect that lacks the sleight of hand some of the other models achieve.

From the perspective of the average sneaker buyer who likes to rock shoes rather than display them, we have to wonder about the durability of these crafted designs. Will these treatments actually survive the rigours of daily wear? Regardless, we absolutely love this collection – even if we lament its fashionista pricing.

Hardly a shock given its poor track record, adidas Canada didn’t offer the entire pack to Canadians. Fortunately, Consortium retailers such as Haven can be relied upon for the full selection (inexplicably the shoes are also $20 cheaper too). Of course by the time you read this many, if not all of the models will have sold out.

The adidas by Raf Simons RS “Trompe L’oeil” Pack launched 12-April-2019, in sizes 8-12US.

adidas Raf Simons Stan Smith Peachtree Micropacer Torsion T-6