LI-NING SPRING / SUMMER 2021 FOOTWEAR AND APPAREL
12 July. 2020
OF PAP MAGAZINE
OF PAP MAGAZINE
OF PAP MAGAZINE
Honoring its 30th year as China’s great leader of sport and athletic innovation, Li-Ning proudly presents ‘Game On’, a new short film making its premiere via Paris Fashion Week’s Online platform on Saturday, July 11. Epic in scope, the resulting piece bridges past and future, compiling historic brand moments with a glimpse at new footwear and apparel to come for the Spring Summer 2021 season. Links to watch and embed ‘Game On' along with an image library with a selection of detailed footwear photography and film stills are included.
Offering a rapid-fire, three-decade survey on the intersection of sport and style, ‘Game On’ opens with highlights of Mr. Li Ning’s performance as a world-renowned gymnast, providing a glimpse of a celebrated and storied career, one awarded with over 100 gold medals and the playful nickname ‘The Prince of Gymnastics’. Beginning with footage captured at the 1984 Summer Olympic games in Los Angeles juxtaposed with Mr. Li’s participation at the Olympic Torch Relay Ceremony in 2012, the film’s introduction reminds the world of Mr. Li’s athletic prowess and charts his eventual transition from podium fixture to sportswear icon and, ultimately, to the runways of New York and Paris. Along the way, ‘Game On’ spotlights the brand’s alliances with professional NBA phenoms Dwyane Wade and CJ McCollum; fashion visionary Stefano Pilati and his latest venture, Random Identities; martial artist and film actor and director, Jackie Chan; and the recently announced collaboration with Danish modernist
design house, Soulland to name a few.
First established in 1990, Li-Ning quickly emerged as a leader in athletic apparel and footwear, offering a unique vision, rooted in the first-hand athletic insights of its founder and namesake, Mr. Li Ning. Mr. Li’s original goal—to provide Chinese athletes with a national brand to wear on the world stage of the Olympics—has, 30 years later, given rise to a global sport pioneer, replete with specialized products designed for running, basketball, training, badminton, swim and ping pong among other categories.With an eye on the ever-shifting, international, fashion landscape, in 2018 Li-Ning added one more category to its growing portfolio, this time launching an elevated, runway collection. Showcasing the brand’s sport heritage, advanced design capabilities and a unique and authentic Chinese point of view, the premium offering was initially sold exclusively by luxury retailers across China, including Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford.However, the sport leader’s runway vision quickly garnered international interest and has since been introduced worldwide through an impressive network of global stockists, including: department store icons Selfridges and Browns; fashion-forward concept stores like London’s LN-CC; Manhattan’s premiere downtown fashion emporium, KITH; and on-line powerhouses SSENSE, END Clothing and Oki- Ni, to name only a few.
Emphasizing the contrast of western sportswear silhouettes with traditional design details, Li-Ning’s runway vision renders classic shapes in innovative fabrics, bestowing each piece with equal amounts of Chinese pride and far-reaching, global appeal. This modern yet authentic approach to Chinese heritage is informed by the overlap of sport and style and made possible by the innovative expertise of the
Li-Ning brand coupled with the dynamic career of its celebrated founder. In its first few seasons, Li-Ning’s runway execution has looked to examine the role of humankind in the modern world. This has surfaced in collections juxtaposing elements of city and rural life—and the exploratory transition between both; a futuristic perspective on our relationship with technology in its many dizzying forms; and the importance of leisure activity in a playful celebration of Ping-Pong, a sport and pastime of great reverence and esteem in Chinese culture.
‘Game On’ closes with a look ahead to the brand’s Spring / Summer 2021 collection in a digital editorial, offering a first reveal of the brand’s vision and collection themes for the coming season. In the film’s final moments, models emerge outlined and enveloped in waves of motion, sporting silhouettes of fluidity and ease. In terms of color, heathered, textural greys paired with other neutrals are a focus. Freeing the body to move—and the mind to wander—this initial look at SS 2021 offers a glimpse of both comfort and mobility. Also revealed during the film’s final moments is a first look at 3 of SS 2021’s new footwear silhouettes. Chief among them—and true to the brand’s mission of uniting Chinese heritage with modern technologies and textiles—is the Xuan Kong, a unique, multi-tread model featuring a custom TPU “bow” that unites the shoe’s disparate front and rear soles. This same TPU construction draws inspiration from early Li-Ning running footwear—also featuring “bow” technology—which allowed the wearer to literally spring into action. Similarly, for the Xuan Kong, Li-Ning designers looked to one of China’s most famous bridges, the Zhaozhou Qiao, for visual cues to help create the cyberpunk-informed silhouette’s TPU architectural functionality. The ‘Game On’ announcement includes detail imagery of the Xuan Kong in 2 color-ways. Another new footwear model for the SS 2021 season, the EXD 2021 Boom, finds Li-Ning looking back to the brand’s champion footwear designed for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta—an appropriate move for a house assessing milestones from throughout its 30 year legacy. Recasting elements of this archival model, Li-Ning marries past with future, pairing heritage design details with bold color and one of the brand’s most pioneering and supportive technologies today, the Boom sole. The third and final footwear model to be revealed is the Wave Zen the latest silhouette to emerge from Li-Ning’s beloved Wave ‘family’. Inspired by skate and surf culture, the Wave Zen’s upper is comprised of varying, overlapping Wave logos stacked atop a multi-tread sole, complete with Li-Ning’s own Cloud foam technology. A clashing color palette is paired with dislocated and misregistered printing details, resulting in an all new shape intended for the unrestrained in spirit. Additional details on these and other Spring Summer 2021 apparel, footwear and accessory styles will be forthcoming. The latest expression of Li-Ning’s 30th Anniversary, ‘Game On’ follows a series of special brand moments and recent partnership announcements made earlier this year, including those with the Centre Pompidou museum and cultural hub in Paris and menswear designer Neil Barrett; these, in addition to the aforementioned collaborations with Stefano Pilati’s vision for Random Identities; world renowned martial artist, Jackie Chan; and modern streetwear provocateurs, Soulland. On the topic of his brand’s 30th Anniversary, earlier this year Mr. Li offered: “I am proud beyond words that the framework we architected in 1990 has expanded to include such a richness of heritage, design, innovation, creativity, and spirit that new collaborators—celebrated designers and iconic stars alike— can be welcomed into our brand and express something true to themselves yet classically Li-Ning. We are humbled to reconsider the last 30 years while looking ahead to the next.” For more information on Li-Ning’s 30th Anniversary, its brand story and wide portfolio ofproducts, please visit: www.Li-Ning.com