Le Silver. An Italian Oral History of the Nike Air Max 97

Le Silver. An Italian Oral History of the Nike Air Max 97

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In the fall of 1997, Nike released the Air Max 97, a reflective silver shoe created by a young internal designer the bulk of whose previous experience lay in elite-level football boots. The shoe sold well globally without ever accruing the strong cultural associations achieved by previous Air Max models such as the 90, BW Classic and 95. Except in Italy.

In Italy, the shoe was first adopted en-masse by underground scenes before being discovered by the Milanese fashion system and going on to become an unprecedented commercial success, seeping through to every city, province and demographic in the country.

Originally a report commissioned by Nike, the book “Le Silver: An Italian Oral History of the Nike Air Max 97” tells the story of the phenomenon through the voices of those who wore the shoe with the greatest obsessiveness. In doing so, it becomes a snapshot of the attitude of late ‘90s Italian urban culture.

Lodovico Pignatti Morano is a Milan-based writer. He is the author of the novel Nicola, Milan (Semiotext(e), Los Angeles, 2014) as well as author and editor of Cinelli: the Art and Design of the Bicycle (Rizzoli New York, New York, 2012) and editor of Ideas from Massimo Osti (Damiani Editore, Bologna, 2012).

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