Accessories Headlines

Vaultier7 Takes Stake in Cult Sneaker Brand Axel Arigato

LONDON — Axel Arigato, the cult sneaker brand that drops new styles every week, has secured a $7.5 million investment from the new specialist fund Vaultier7, WWD has learned.
Albin Johansson, chief executive officer of the Sweden-based label, said the investment will be put toward consolidating the brand’s multichannel approach, strengthening online and wholesale, scaling internationally and building on the success of its London flagship in Soho, a “cultural hub” of music and art events, and collaborations with other emerging brands.
“The idea is to expand the retail network, and continue with the already-proven store concept in cities and areas that fit the brand values. Primary target cities at this stage are New York, Paris and Copenhagen,” said Johansson, adding that the overall aim is to “develop and evolve with customers, and build a culture around the brand.”
The investment — the brand’s first major chunk of money — will also be used to ramp up the clothing and accessories offerings. Axel Arigato, whose creative director is Max Svärdh, has already tested ideas and concepts and plans to build on them, with the first extended clothing collection set to launch for fall 2018.
The business partners are in Paris selling the first full clothing collection,

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Résonances de Cartier High Jewelry Exhibition Arrives in Shanghai

SHANGHAI — The Résonances de Cartier high jewelry exhibition opened its doors to clients on Saturday at Fosun Foundation Shanghai, a new art and cultural center wrapped in a golden, rotating bamboo curtain facade, located at the city’s waterfront Bund area.
The exhibition encompasses more than 400 high jewelry items, including a royal pearl that once belonged to Queen Mary, which has been preserved and fashioned into a platinum and diamond necklace.

The pearl that once belonged to Queen Mary that has been reimagined as a necklace in the Cartier exhibition.

The selection of high jewelry pieces arrived here after stretches in London and New York, and will go on to make appearances in other Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, before returning to China for a Beijing showing in the latter half of 2018.
Cartier first opened an exhibition to the public during a half day showing at the first high jewelry exhibition on the Mainland in November 2016. The aim of the public viewing was to share the brand’s DNA. This year the company continued the tradition and extended the public opening to a full day.
“We had a very diverse crowd and a lot of young people who were here actually

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Ugg Collaborates With Sacai, Looks to Move Beyond the Basic

When thigh-high Ugg boots walked down the runway of Y/Project’s fall show on Wednesday, for many it signified the latest piece of footwear to receive a chic overhaul.
Following in the footsteps of Teva, Birkenstock and Crocs, Ugg is using irony to regain the good graces of fashion elite.
Their work is not over. Today, the brand will unveil a collaboration with Sacai at the label’s fall men’s runway show, an Ugg spokesperson confirmed. Follow-up women’s designs will also grace the Y/Project women’s shows during Paris Fashion Week in March, they noted.
For Andrea O’Donnell, president of fashion lifestyle brands for Ugg holding company Deckers Brands, fashion represents a larger opportunity for the company to reposition itself and expand overseas.
“We are doing many things at the moment on a macro level — building our spring-summer business, men’s is incredibly important. We want to protect what we have, which is a special classic franchise, but we are also doing a lot to focus and reimagine Ugg with a fashion spin,” O’Donnell noted.
While often regarded as its mea culpa shoe, Ugg only attributes 20 percent of overall sales to its classic boot franchise: The very styles that rendered it a fashion wet blanket and helped

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Nike Tests Accelerated Design Process for The 1 Reimagined Release

Nike’s release of The 1 Reimagined women’s sneaker collection retooled plenty for the sports firm, from the revamp of two of the firm’s most iconic styles to a reengineered design process.
In the end, when the 10-piece collection launches Feb. 7 in New York, it’s not only a signal of how the company is looking at its women’s business but how it’s bending the playbook on the design process to move in step with the market.
“At Nike, our design approach always starts with the athlete insight,” said NikeWomen senior creative director Maria Vu. “It’s athlete with an asterisk, the everyday athlete, and we really felt that we had an interesting opportunity for women and sneakers really untapped. So having that insight in mind, this project came together with just the idea of ‘Hey, why don’t we do something unique and different for women that really addresses the dimensions of what it means to be a woman.’”
Unlike other design processes for a collection, Nike pooled 14 individuals from across disciplines: 10 designers, two material designers and two color designers. The collective was sent to London to focus solely on the task of creating a collection for the female consumer via refreshed versions

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Safilo Group Inks Distribution Agreement in Paraguay

MILAN – Safilo Group has inked an exclusive distribution agreement for the Paraguayan market with local eyewear company Cepal, established in 1981.
As part of the partnership, Cepal will distribute Safilo’s eyewear collections, designed and manufactured for a range of labels, including Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Max Mara, Marc Jacobs, Polaroid and Carrera and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.
The deal marks a further step in Safilo’s expansion in Latin America, which is part of the company’s strategy of strengthening its presence in emerging markets.
“With Paraguay, we add another market to our Latin America business, that already counts on Brazil, Mexico, Argentina/Uruguay, Colombia, Chile and the Caribbean,” said the company’s chief executive officer Luisa Delgado.
The executive said she was “pleased with the region’s growth, that confirms its potential for quality branded eyewear development, and responds particularly positively to our leading brands Polaroid and Carrera.” Delgado concluded by lauding Cepal for its “local industry leadership and proven commercial capabilities.”
Listed on the Italian Stock Exchange, Safilo registered net sales of 1.25 billion euros in 2016.

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Accessories From Milan for Fall 2018

MILAN — Accessories brands showing in Milan did not shy away from presenting powerful designs in sync with the fashion trends on the runways. Think plaid or herringbone details, sports elements, and sophisticated embroideries and materials.
Here, a roundup of the presentations.
At Tod’s, men’s creative director Andrea Incontri updated the Chelsea boot with elastic bands in contrasting colors and a new sturdy, military-looking rubber sole. Saddlery stitching embellished lace-up ankle-boots with Prince of Wales or herringbone inserts – both patterns a strong trend in Milan this season. The British vibe also was reproduced on Tod’s staple pebble-soled gommino moccasins in the same fabrics. On the clothing side, the collection comprised parkas, aviator and ultralight down jackets in boxy shapes and with toggle fastenings in a range of ocean blue hues.
Versatility was the watchword for Giuseppe Zanotti’s fall men’s collection. He drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Key models featured biker-style midcalf boots where the top could be removed, turning them into a pair of ankle boots, while sneakers and classic loafers came with removable sock-style uppers. “I took the idea of the sock from the world of sport and 1960s tennis players,” he explained. “You can

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Jordan Brand Taps into the Women’s Market

The Jordan brand believes there’s an untapped market of women who respect the company’s legacy but want more options made just for them.
“Women have a deep passion for the brand,” said Andrea Perez, vice president and general manager of women’s at Jordan. “They are really interested in sneakers now and the spring collection is the first step of a long-term commitment to this customer.”

The women’s Air Jordan I Hi Zip.

The brand expounded on that commitment during a panel that took place at Spring Street Studios in New York on Thursday afternoon, which included Perez along with Linda Mai-Lotti, concept design director at Jordan; Jeni McDonald, product line manager of women’s footwear; Maya Moore, a WNBA player and brand partner, and Aleali May, a model and fashion consultant.
The company, which, according to the NPD Group, dropped from second to third place as the most popular sneaker — Nike nabbed the number-one spot and Adidas climbed to second place surpassing Jordan for the first time — has spent the past couple of years speaking to women to get a better understanding of what they want out of their sneakers.
“We were really inspired by true insights coming from her,” said Perez, who added that

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Luxury Watchmakers Head to Geneva Fair With New Hopes

PARIS — Luxury watchmakers head to Geneva this month armed with renewed self assurance, having climbed back into growth territory following a two-year slump.
The industry’s first gathering of the year, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, held in Geneva from Jan. 15 to 19, will set the tone for the coming months.
It takes place with the entire stable of 17 luxury watch brands who attended last year and a newcomer: Hermès. The French luxury firm, which launched series three of its collaboration with Apple Watch in the fall, has defected from rival trade show Baselworld.
Along with gawking at pricy new timepieces, fairgoers will seek clues about how the market is shaping up for the future, as the industry enters a period of tougher comparative figures. After months of retrenchment, marked by layoffs and cost-cutting, and finally relieved by the return to growth, watchmakers are jockeying for their standing in a competitive environment.
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry last month noted the uneven nature of the recovery, with key markets either growing briskly or falling moderately.
Analysts are forecasting annual growth of around 3 percent for the high-end watch sector this year and beyond. By contrast, Bain &

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Gola Expands in the U.S. Market

Gola is growing its distribution in the U.S.
For several years, the British sporting goods brand worked with a distributor in the U.S., but about three years ago, in an attempt to increase business in the North American market, Gola took back distribution, incorporated in the U.S. and reentered the region.
“No one takes care of a brand like you do your own,” said Steven Weinreb, president of U.S. operations at Gola Classics. “The brand didn’t have enough presence here and they wanted to change that.”
Weinreb has been tasked with elevating Gola’s brand awareness. He started out by selling the shoes in specialty shops including Fred Segal, DNA Footwear and Tani. Last season the brand started to work with larger national retailers including Lord & Taylor, Zappos and Nordstrom.
“Right now the challenge is to figure out the new retail landscape and tweak the distribution so you have the right mix of accounts,” said Weinreb. “Fortunately none of our current challenges are product-related. People are embracing heritage brands.”
Collaborations have also been important. Last year Gola partnered with Engineered Garments and Slightly Alabama. This year they will partner with J. Crew on an exclusive capsule line.
Weinreb said Gola, which was founded in 1905, has

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David Tourniaire-Beauciel on Going Back to the Future With His First Men’s Collection for Robert Clergerie

PARIS — It’s the stuff of a Hollywood movie: French boy is born in the historic cradle of France’s footwear industry, Romans-sur-Isère; grows up visiting shoe factories with his father, who was a mechanic on the machines, and winds up at the creative helm of one of the city’s most iconic heritage shoe brands, Robert Clergerie.
That’s the serendipitous, back-to-roots story of David Tourniaire-Beauciel, who during Paris Men’s Fashion Week will present his first men’s collection for the house since succeeding Roland Mouret as creative director in May. (The men’s line had been put on hold for a few seasons.) He even played with one of Clergerie’s sons, Damien, as a kid.
Having designed footwear for Martin Margiela, Phoebe Philo at Chloé, Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, Stella McCartney and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga — with the latter an ongoing collaboration — the designer with his new appointment is having his first real moment in the spotlight.
Being so close to the brand’s founder — coupled with the expectations of Robert Clergerie’s new chief executive officer Perry Oosting, who joined the First Heritage Brands-owned house last April — is a delicate balancing act, he conceded. “I need to keep the DNA alive but also

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Guess, Marcolin Sign Early License Renewal

MILAN — Guess Inc. and Marcolin Group on Wednesday announced the early renewal of the exclusive licensing agreement for the design, manufacture and international distribution of Guess and Marciano’s eyewear collections. The partnership between the two companies has been extended through 2025.
Guess was originally a license of Viva International, which Marcolin acquired in 2013. Back then, the Viva acquisition expanded the Italian eyewear powerhouse’s portfolio with strong diffusion brands, adding some of the most popular eyewear labels in the American market, such as Guess, Gant and Skechers, to the range of luxury and premium brands the company operates, which includes Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Moncler, Ermenegildo Zegna, Emilio Pucci and Swarovski, among others.
As reported, starting from this year, Marcolin will also design and manufacture the eyewear collections of the Céline and Louis Vuitton labels as part of the joint venture signed with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. LVMH will control 51 percent of the venture, named Thelios, and Marcolin the remaining 49 percent. As per the agreement, the French group is taking a 10 percent stake in Marcolin.

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Tiffany & Co. Senior VP Strategy, Business Development to Depart

Tiffany & Co. senior vice president for strategy and business development, Jean-Marc Bellaiche, plans to leave the firm.
Bellaiche joined the American jeweler in 2014 to oversee the business of the brand’s non-jewelry categories, including watches, leather goods, eyewear and fragrances.
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing issued late this afternoon, Bellaiche is to officially end his role on March 31. It detailed that Tiffany does not intend to fill the role once it is vacant as, “in the interest of further aligning [Tiffany] non-jewelry categories with its core product category, the individuals responsible for such non-jewelry initiatives will report directly to other members of [Tiffany] management.”
Starting Jan. 31, until the conclusion of his work with the firm, “Bellaiche’s primary role will be to assist in transitioning his responsibilities to these individuals, and he will no longer have the duties and responsibilities of his current position,” noted the filing. A spokesman for Tiffany declined to comment further about Bellaiche’s departure, or future reporting channels at the retailer.
Prior to Tiffany, Bellaiche spent more than two decades at the Boston Consulting Group, lastly serving as the firm’s senior partner and managing director for luxury, fashion and beauty.
Bellaiche was installed at Tiffany under

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Reed Krakoff’s Take on Tiffany Continues

Tiffany & Co.’s revision under Reed Krakoff has been slow going — but more should be visible in the first half.
While named the jeweler’s chief artistic officer in January 2017, Krakoff’s first designs for the firm weren’t unveiled until November — and those were his concepts for its home collection, which he was first hired to make over in July 2016. The line was called “Everyday Objects” and received mixed reviews — with some media criticizing a tin can design cast in sterling silver for its $1,000 price tag.
Krakoff’s jewelry designs have yet to be revealed. A Tiffany spokesman noted they are due in stores in May.
While Krakoff’s approach to Tiffany has not yet been realized in full, the brand — which has struggled in the last decade to maintain momentum in the North American market — has already exhibited early signs of financial turnaround under new chief executive officer Alessandro Bogliolo and chairman Roger Farah.
For the third quarter, the jeweler’s net income rose 5 percent to $100 million, or 80 cents a diluted share, from $95 million, or 76 cents, a year earlier. Sales increased 3 percent to $976 million, although comparable-store sales slipped 1 percent. Comps were flat

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Converse Rethinks Collaborations

Converse, which will turn 110 next year, isn’t new to collaborations. Its signature silhouette, the Chuck Taylor All Star, is an ideal canvas for brands like Comme des Garçons or Missoni to recalibrate the shoe and reach a wider audience.
But in 2017 there was a marked shift in the people, places and things that Converse began to align with.
“This year we’ve been working hard to do a lot of great things that connect with our consumer and youth culture,” said Khobi Brooklyn, who was hired in May to lead the brand’s global communications team. “Sneaker culture has hit peak hype this year. There are a lot of collaborations across all kinds of brands and interesting executions and concepts. The skate lifestyle has become a big part of fashion, so it’s an interesting time.”
Nike Inc. purchased Converse in 2003, two years after the Boston-based company filed for bankruptcy, and it has grown from $200 million to $2 billion in sales. During the 2014 fiscal year, revenue increased by 15 percent, and in 2015 it grew by 21 percent. But by 2016, revenue only increased by 2 percent. This can be compared to Vans, another heritage footwear brand that was purchased by

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Catching Up With Oliver Peoples’ CEO Rocco Basilico

Oliver Peoples’ chief executive officer Rocco Basilico is settling into his role at the top, having spent his first year in office beefing up the brand’s retail operations.
For this, the 28-year-old executive has earned acclaim in business media at large, this year being named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list.
Whilst in New York to attend the list’s celebratory mixer, as well as mark the opening of Oliver Peoples’ newest store in Brookfield Place — its fourth retail location in Manhattan — Basilico spoke with WWD about the state of the eyewear industry and the continued importance of brick-and-mortar.
WWD: Oliver Peoples’ has made strides in the last year to expand its brick-and-mortar presence. Why focus on retail stores, when there is so much buzz about e-commerce?

Rocco Basilico: Right now we have about 30 stores in the world, and the idea is to double that at some point. I mean, for us, we have a very different product for sure. I really still believe in physical stores, I think it’s a way to get brand awareness out there. Look at the visibility of this [Brookfield Place] store, there are thousands of people walking through here everyday.
WWD: Why is there a focus on New York?
R.B.: In

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Amélie Pichard Introduces Basics Line to Fuel Creative Endeavors

Amélie Pichard continues to lead an independently voiced brand.
The designer — who in November 2016 announced that she had cut wholesale distribution in favor of a direct-to-consumer model where she releases new designs at her creative whim — has launched a limited line of basics to help fuel her operation. “My first value is freedom,” Pichard said of her brand.
The Amélie Pichard La Quotidienne line of three colorful suede styles — a pump, slouch ankle boot and high boot — is to retail between 295 euros and 495 euros. These prices are purposefully lower than Pichard’s typical price point, in a move to attract a wider audience.
Pichard expects that the basics line will eventually comprise approximately 25 percent of brand sales, and will accept wholesale accounts only relating to the collection. While Pichard felt that seasonally based wholesale collections limited her creativity, Quotidienne will rarely change its format. Although she said, “these designs are to be worn year-round,” a new range of colors will be issued each season.
The Quotidienne styles, all produced in Portugal, have been tested for durability — intended to be worn over the course of multiple years, and cared for by a local cobbler. The designs’ curt heels

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Mr. Bags Unveils First Global, Omnichannel Collection With Longchamp

HONG KONG — The immensely popular Chinese influencer Mr. Bags has worked with many luxury designer brands from Tod’s to Givenchy but Dec. 22 marks a first — the launch of a special Longchamp collaboration that will be made available not just to fans in China but all over the world, and will be the debut of the fashion blogger’s products offline.
The collection showcases his spin on the Le Pliage Cuir styles. Mr. Bags, whose real name is Tao Liang, reinterpreted Longchamp’s signature foldable bag in luxurious lamb leather, giving it a slightly more structured feel, and added a playful signature–a pair of paw prints in a nod to the upcoming Chinese year of the dog. The capsule also marks the beginning of a series of projects to celebrate the French label’s 70th anniversary.
“From the experiences we gained from previous Mr. Bags special collections, we got to know that Mr. Bags does have — a huge fan base overseas,” Liang told WWD exclusively. “For the previous Mr. Bags special collections, we only sell in mainland China, but we received multiple requests from the brands’ stores in the U.S. and Europe.”
MORE: NPD’s Marshal Cohen Urges Accessories Brands to Pivot to Multifunctional

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Eastpak to Return to North American Market

After the absence of more than a decade, Eastpak, a backpack and travel gear brand owned by VF Corp., will re-enter the North American market next year.
The relaunch for fall 2018 will include core packs, soft-sided luggage, heritage leather styles and the upscale Lab collection which had only been available in the United Kingdom.
Eastpak will also continue its partnership with brands such as Undercover, MGSM, Vetements and longtime collaborator Raf Simons, at their runway presentations for the upcoming fall season, the company said.
Its Padded Pak’r backpack has been especially popular with young people but is hard to find in the U.S. and Canada.
The relaunch comes as a result of an exclusive distribution agreement the brand has signed with ZoneTwo USA to manage its business in the U.S. and Canada under the direction of newly appointed U.S. brand manager Jon Bergman. ZoneTwo has managed Eastpak’s U.K. business since 2014.
Eastpak will open a showroom in New York’s Flatiron District in January 2018, and will present at Agenda in Long Beach and Liberty in New York in January in addition to Pitti Uomo in Florence, Seek in Berlin and Revolver in Copenhagen.
Eastpak was founded in 1952 as a manufacturer of military-issue packs and duffels for the U.S.

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Menē Jewelry Raises $21 Million in Series A Funding

Menē jewelry, a company that transparently sells gold and platinum pieces for their intrinsic investment value, has raised $21 million in its Series A round of funding.
The company — launched this November with GoldMoney Inc. chief executive officer Roy Sebag as cofounder, Diana Widmaier-Picasso as chief artistic officer and cofounder, and Anja Rubik as creative advisor — is looking to expand its resonance. With this funding, Menē will further its direct-to-consumer strategy with a physical retail presence. Presently the brand sells exclusively through its own e-commerce site.
Menē sells pure 24-karat gold and platinum, sculpted into jewelry items of Widmaier-Picasso and Rubik’s design. Each item is assigned a price for its metal weight, with an added nominal fee for design, merchandising and personnel costs.
“It was shocking to me that people buy jewelry that’s branded as gold, when it’s only 75 percent gold alloy and is 10 or 20 times higher than what you would pay for the pure gold bouillon itself,” Sebag said of his motivation to found the company. The brand sells an assortment of rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pendants.
He pointed to how gold jewelry in eastern countries such as India and China is weighed in-store for its price,

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Oscar de la Renta Lays Focus on Accessories

Oscar de la Renta will look to grow its accessories categories in an effort to better balance what is now a primarily apparel-driven business.
Chief executive officer Alex Bolen said that accessories account for about 10 percent of all Oscar de la Renta sales. He noted that fashion jewelry currently takes the bulk of those sales.
“I think, could accessories be half our overall business at one point? Sure, our business is dramatically skewed toward ready-to-wear right now. But we don’t have a growth target in mind — we want to focus on good design and a healthy business where products sell at full price,” he noted.
Bolen noted that upon cocreative directors Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim’s arrival at the label, a handbag design was part of the initial conversation of brand goals.
As part of Garcia and Kim’s first collection for the house, fall 2017, Oscar de la Renta introduced the TRO bag — a flap, shoulder style with a gardenia embellishment and chain link strap. TRO stands for “temporary restraining order,” a name that Bolen deigned “a little inside joke amongst Laura, Fernando and I.”
Bolen declined to comment if this moniker is a direct reference to the temporary restraining order filed

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The Most Valuable Sneakers of 2017

This was a big year for sneakers, therefore it was a big year for GOAT, a Los Angeles-based sneaker-reselling app that raised $25 million in funding at the beginning of the year.
Here, GOAT cofounder Daishin Sugano, a former analyst, offers the most valuable sneakers based on data from the platform along with an overview of year:
1. Pharrell x Chanel x NMD Trail ‘Human Race’
2. Spike Lee x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG
3. Vlone x NikeLab Air Force 1
4. Off-White x Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG
5. Undefeated x Air Max 97 OG ‘Olive’
6. Balenciaga Triple S Trainer
7. Air Jordan 1 Retro High EP ‘Satin Royal’
8. KAWS x Air Jordan 4 Retro ‘Cool Grey’
9. Tom Sachs x NikeCraft Mars Yard 2.0
10. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG NRG ‘Rust Pink’
WWD: What type of year has Adidas had in terms of sneakers?
Daishin Sugano: After a strong innovative and design push by Adidas in 2016, we saw them stay consistent with what worked — leveraging Kanye West and Pharrell Williams to push their Yeezy and Human Race lines, respectively, in 2017. With Yeezy, Adidas pushed new silhouettes: the Calabasas, the 700 and 500. The Calabasas became a more accessible Yeezy while the

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