Off-White™ x Church’s Collab Burwood Oxford Shoes: Shop Online
It should come as no surprise to anyone that even months after Virgil Abloh’s passing, his impact continues to be felt in the fashion industry. That’s why this Off-White™ x Church collaboration deserves at least a moment of quiet contemplation.
While it’s the kind of team that would likely be considered another worthy feather in Abloh’s cap if he were still around, the collection takes on new relevance in light of his death.
You see, this church collaboration is one of the last that Abloh has personally overseen. Product aside, that’s saying something.
But the product itself is, of course, a classic Abloh.
First seen at the Off-White™ Fall/Winter 2022 show – again, the last he had direct jurisdiction over – this first drop (there’s another one on the way) features a single style of genderless footwear, anchored by Abloh’s overt sass and a subtle riff on heritage.
Abloh’s deft revision of conventional elegance is, as I said, obvious and subtle.
The church itself is almost 250 years old – it was created in 1873 – and its Burwood silhouette was first seen in 1953, so it follows that Abloh would leave this piece of heritage intact. No wild or wacky top sole here.
Instead, Abloh affixed a leather version of its trademark tag to the shoe and dressed it in cotton laces (printed with “SHOELACES,” naturally) rather than the usual leather laces. He also screen printed the text “SPECIAL EVENTS” on the lateral side of the shoe.
Therein lies the clever underpinning of past and present: you have Abloh’s usual playful preoccupation with textual interaction, but there’s also a quieter undermining of tropes.
For example, the full brogue that adorns the upper of his Burwood is relatively unusual for a dress shoe – most suit-type dudes prefer a non-brogue derby as their daily driver – so the text “SPECIAL EVENTS” doesn’t just mean that this are fancy shoes: he also plays with the idea that it’s rare to wear fully brogue oxfords normally.
Plus, sneaker-style laces completely undermine all notions of menswear.
Speaking of which, apparently more posthumous Abloh shoe designs are currently in the works. Nothing as dressy as this or Church’s next team, of course.