New Balance may be known as the progenitor of the dad sneaker, but its latest collaboration with luxury menswear brand Casablanca proves the sportswear company knows how to generate multi-generational appeal, catering to hypebeasts and their parents alike. Launching tomorrow, it may be the most stylish sneaker of this summer.
The French après-sport fashion house, which was recently named a winner of the LVMH prize, is known for its hand-painted prints, sumptuous silk shirts and effortless terrycloth leisure suits. Launched in 2018 by Charaf Tajer, a Virgil Abloh acolyte and co-founder of streetwear brand Pigalle, Casablanca quickly garnered a cult following. It’s also the first brand to collaborate on New Balance’s 327 sneaker, a brand-new silhouette culled from the athletic retailer’s archive of 1970’s running shoes but tweaked for today’s sneakerheads and athletic aesthetes.
The two brands teamed up on a design that features a white perforated leather upper, inspired by vintage Italian sports car interiors, combined with an enlarged leather ‘N’ logo and luxe suede paneling in Casablanca’s signature colors—vibrant green and zesty tangerine. The shades are inspired by Tajer’s dual French-Moroccan heritage, meant to evoke his sun-dappled memories of crisp tennis uniforms and ripe North African oranges. The sneaker is completed with a sculpted sole unit and heel wrap done in that same verdant green, giving a streetwear edge to the classic, chunky New Balance shape.
“It’s an honor to partner with New Balance on this exciting new style as Casablanca’s first design collaboration,” Tajer said of the partnership. “I know the brand works with few fashion houses, so to be chosen to do this with a new silhouette is so special and unique for me. The design perfectly matches the aesthetic of Casablanca, it’s the ultimate leisure shoe.”
The sneaker made its first appearance at the brand’s Fall 2020 runway show during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in January and was originally set to launch on April 4th. However, due to concerns over Covid-19, the release was pushed back to April 18th. So, after a long wait and much anticipation, the design, priced at $150, will finally become available on Saturday, April 18 via New Balance’s online store and select online retailers.