Russell Westbrook rolled through to Wagram Pavillon and sat down next to Billie Eilish and Don C. The trio was out in Paris for the launch of Jordan Brand’s Fall 2018 line. But Russ lost his voice and apologized, with a laugh and smile, to the group of international media sitting in front of him for not being as talkative.
Eilish and Don C kept the pace. Eilish, who’s just 17, had the Brodie shaking his head as she ran through why the Air Jordan I counts as her favorite J. And Don’s combo of energetic excitement and passion had the room buzzing.
Westbrook was laced in the low-cut Russell Westbrook 0.3. He was rocking threads from his upcoming Why Not? fashion line, too.
“The great thing about Russ is he’s kind of like the modern day Jordan from the standpoint of how he sees things,” Gentry Humphrey, VP of Footwear at Jordan, tells SLAM. “He’s like not trying to do anything like anybody else, and that’s honestly how Michael was when he came into the game. Like, if you know Michael Jordan, he is not trying to be like anybody else.”
Humphrey’s back with Jordan Brand after a seven-year hiatus. He’s had a hand in starting the company, with everything from sneaker design to Space Jam under his belt. He’s part of the group that’s working with Eilish on the Jordan Women line. And so is David Creech, Jordan’s VP of Design.
“On the AJ1, obviously we have an incredible opportunity to now dimensionalize the AJ1,” Creech says. “So they’re remastered through this idea of reimagining, and obviously, it’s a classic. So for us, taking that, and then taking it to a dual-gender offense, and expanding the arsenal, if you will, to that next level. We have a great design team that’s only focused on women. Really they’ve taken the icon itself and [said] ‘Ok, hey, what for her could we reimagine to create, bring in the outside world into our world?'”
Jordan brought the outside world to Paris for a three-day trip during Fashion Week. Day 1 was highlighted by a screening of Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 and a Q+A with the film’s director, Dex Deboree. The film shares the entire journey of the Air Jordan 1, from when Michael didn’t even want to sign with Nike, to when the sneaker got banned by the NBA, to when it became an international icon.
Day 2 started at Wagram Pavillon with Westbrook, Eilish and Don C. Then Parisian photographer, Kevin Couliau, showed the history of French basketball through photographs.
The trip wrapped up with a visit to the original Quai 54 court, the first site of Paris’ most famous outdoor basketball tournament, where the media got to hoop in the Why Not Zer0.1 Low.
And, as Humphrey explains, Paris was chosen as the site’s for this product unveiling for a reason.
“I think it’s important because now this has become like the hub of culture,” he says. “Not just shoes, not just apparel. This place has a lot to offer when it comes to lifestyle and points of views that are fresh. That’s what we’ve been all about. We always wanna do things a little bit different than what everybody else does, and so know, what better place to come to kind of showcase that talent? That’s what this place is all about.”
Photos courtesy of Jordan Brand