Cult Canvas
Online Auction: 7–21 October 2021 • 10:00 AM HKT • Hong Kong

Cult Canvas 7–21 October 2021 • 10:00 AM HKT • Hong Kong

Sotheby’s is pleased to present Cult Canvas – a selective online auction of pristine prototype and sample sneakers. A sequel to Cult Canvas last year, the auction is rooted in the notion that art has found a new medium of expression or ‘canvas,’ and each of the lots are carefully crafted examples that showcase incredible talent in design. Many of the items explore the creative process behind a particular design, during which samples/tests of the product are created. Often times, samples may feature different materials or features than a regular release. The nine items in this offering encompass some of the most coveted examples desired by sneaker collectors worldwide. Sotheby’s is proud to have partnered with curator Ryan Chang (@applied.arts.nyc) for this innovative exploration of this new form of expression.

Kanye West Pastelle Prototype

Pastelle was one of Kanye West’s first experiments in fashion – a time hard to imagine given the designers input on global brands such as Nike, adidas, and GAP. The name itself stood for “The Past Tells Everything.” In the late 2000s, Mr. West and a group that included Virgil Abloh, Don C, and Matt George were quietly assembling a team and searching the globe for collaborators from all walks of fashion. Mr. West’s ambitions were not private, rapping in the hit Stronger, “So go ahead, go nuts, go apeshit/ ’Specially in my Pastelle, on my Bape shit.” In 2008, West attended the American Music Awards in a cobalt blue jacket with “Pastelle” in yellow across the back. Sadly, Pastelle would never come to be as a mainstream brand, however the work Kanye produced would mark a moment in Kanye’s exploration into the fashion world.

Offered is a unique sneaker sample from Pastelle – the only one known to Sotheby’s – produced in June of 2009 for what would be “Season: Fall 10.”

Freddy Kreuger Dunk Low

Another highlight includes the Nike Dunk Low SB ‘Freddy Krueger’ Prototype/Sample. In this model, Nike paid tribute to the villain crucial to the Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise. Noticeable details include Freddy Krueger’s striped sweater pattern throughout the base of the sneaker with blood splatters over the beige leather overlays. The Swoosh itself pays tribute to the blades on Freddy’s leather gloves.

Freddy Kreuger

The sneaker itself was never released to the public, and this is an early prototype/sample produced before what would become one of the most legendary stories in Nike SB’s history. For a multitude of reasons, the sneakers never made it to a full release, and it is said that Nike therefore decided to destroy the sneakers. Still, a small number of Dunks made it out. There are three models in the wild: the sample of the original release, the original release, and a prototype version featuring a wider striped pattern (offered here). This is arguably the most desirable and rare of the three coveted variations.

Yellow Lobster Dunk Low

I was looking at the Nike SB webpage and only two shoes jumped out at me. Then I thought about Nick Diamond’s Tiffany Dunk and that Gucci one. They both had that weird luxury thing. So then I’m like, “F*ck. What does Boston have?” When someone’s visiting, they always want to have lobster. Lobster is the only thing on the menu that says “market price,” or considered to be very expensive.

Another amazing pair is the Nike Dunk SB Low ‘Yellow Lobster’ Sample. Nike and CNCPTS collaborations on ‘Lobster’ SB Dunks remain some of the most popular and iconic Nike Dunks the brand has ever created. They have been made in Red, Yellow, Blue, Green and Purple variations, all of which are coveted by sneaker collectors worldwide. The concept itself was inspired by the traditional New England lobster dinner experience.

Creator Rob Heppler recalled in an interview for Sneaker News:

I was looking at the Nike SB webpage and only two shoes jumped out at me. Then I thought about Nick Diamond’s Tiffany Dunk and that Gucci one. They both had that weird luxury thing. So then I’m like, “F*ck. What does Boston have?” When someone’s visiting, they always want to have lobster. Lobster is the only thing on the menu that says “market price,” or considered to be very expensive.

The concept behind the Yellow Lobster was to create incredible scarcity. As said by Nike, “Your chances of pulling up a Maine lobster trap and finding a yellow lobster are roughly one in 40 million and while the odds are better of finding the Yellow Lobster Dunk Low Pro SB, they’re an equally rare anomaly.”

The sneakers were not found at retail and only given to friends and family of the brand surrounding the release of the ‘Blue Lobster’ Dunk. It is said that only 36 were made, making them an incredible catch for sneakerheads globally.

Sotheby’s is excited to offer these examples, and more, in an exploration of the cross-section between design, sneakers, art and fashion.

Banner Image @applied.arts.nyc

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