Nineties nostalgia is having a moment. For Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s VP of creative projects, the era represents her teen years in New York City. At the time, you could see different style tribes all over downtown Manhattan. A short walk would take you from the skaters in Washington Square Park to the grunge-inspired shoppers rummaging the vintage racks at Antique Boutique to the punk kids hanging out at St. Marks. This mishmash of hip-hop, rave, and DIY culture serves as the inspiration behind Kim’s new collaboration with Nike.
Under Kim, Nike and Nordstrom have partnered up for special drops and shop-in-shops in various locations, but this marks the first time she’s been asked by the brand to design a collection. Naturally, there are sneakers: five of Kim’s favorite style, all reimagined in new fabrics and colorways. For collectors, the most prized item will be the Air Jordan IV in black pony hair. Kim’s version swaps out the traditional Jumpman logo and features a throwback Nike emblem from the ’90s. It’s a rarity for the brand as very few people are permitted to use the archival design.
Which is not to say that that the other sneakers don’t feel special, too. The pink-and-zebra print Air Footscape is a nod to punk culture. The Air Max 98 gets the rainbow treatment, as inspired by dance hall culture. Kim takes the well-loved Air Force 1 and remixes it in blue corduroy and acid yellow snakeskin, while the Mowabb hiking shoe gets enlivened with splashes of red and teal. Both of these sneakers also have another special element: a matching Betty Boop hang tag. “Not only does she represent unapologetic women but she’s also a throwback to ’90s club flyers, when we’d adapt iconic imagery and logos,” explains Kim.
Betty Boop also appears in the 13-piece clothing collection, popping up on sweatshirts, a baseball shirt, and on the sleeves of the two cropped puffer jackets. To round it out, there’s also a color-blocked sports bra, a T-shirt with the same peace symbol as seen in a 1992 commercial, and a bright orange baby tee. And because the collection is meant to be accessible, the most expensive item will be the pony hair sneakers, topping out at $225.
To celebrate the launch, Kim gathered an eclectic group to star in the campaign, including model Binx Walton, actor John Waters, and soccer star Megan Rapinoe, plus street-cast kids. The setting is a rave, complete with black lights, disco balls, and surreal props like a giant pineapple. Even Binx’s face is covered in rhinestones — a nod to a party flyer Kim keeps in her archives.
You can shop the collection starting on October 31 at Nordstrom’s new women’s flagship in New York City. Nike x Olivia Kim will reside in the Nike x Nordstrom boutique. Located on the first floor, it’ll have its own separate entrance as well as very distinctive décor. “We’re always being filmed in the city, so we decided to play on that by having out own bank of cameras capture you as you enter,” explains Kim. A series of television monitors will display customers’ shoes when they walk into the boutique. The space itself is decked out in David Lynch–style red-velvet upholstery — it’s a custom design that has bits of Nike iconography like basketball courts. To complement the lush fabric, shoes are set in cool pink marble displays while the curvy mirrors (inspired by Louise Bourgeois) dot the space.
And you’ll find more than just sneakers, “Our girl will throw on Nikes with a Sandy Liang coat or Eckhaus Latta jeans, and I want this space to reflect that,” says Kim. Those designers will be mixed in with other up-and-coming brands like AMBUSH, Kkco, and Susan Alexandra, along with beauty finds and other little gifts.
If you’re not in New York, you can also find the full collection on October 31 at other Nike x Nordstrom locations, as well as NXN and the SNKRS app, and it’ll be at other global retailers on November 8. Scroll ahead to see all of the images.
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