Through their ongoing collaboration, Maison Margiela and Reebok have proved that their hybrid sneakers aren’t just random hype drops, but shoes are actually memorable and noteworthy — exceptionally unique if you will. And so is their latest release, the Classic Leather Tabi Décortique Low. A low-top take of the gladiator sandal-inspired Classic Leather Tabi High that was released last summer, the sneaker sees John Galliano’s signature decortiqué technique applied to Reebok’s Classic Leather silhouette.
The collaboration was first introduced during the Maison’s Spring/Summer 2020 Artisanal show with the Tabi Instapump Fury, a fusion of a platform heel and sneaker, which featured the iconic Tabi toe. Then came a series of makeovers on the Reebok Classics; there was the Classic Leather Tabi followed by the Club C Maison Margiela. In June 2021, the Classic Leather Tabi High was released, of which we’re now getting the Low.
The Maison Margiela x Reebok Classic Leather Decortiqué Low is a reinterpretation of the Classic Leather Tabi, which was created by merging of the two brand archives, adding the signature Tabi split-toe to Reebok’s Classic Leather silhouette. Both the Tabi and the Classic Leather were introduced in the ‘80s and have since become iconic pieces for their houses.
We spoke to a Maison Margiela representative about the process behind the collaboration who explained that Maison Margiela x Reebok is firmly built on true synergy that stems from fusing both brands’ icons and design languages together. “The Initial Classic Leather Tabi style was the result of that philosophy, and the Classic Leather Tabi Decortiqué seemed like the logical base to continue that narrative.”
Galliano’s décortiqué technique has been an integral part of his collections at Maison Margiela for the past few seasons and has been used by the designer to rework garments, from coats and jackets to pants and dresses, to their core, leaving “a memory of what the piece supposed to be.” Décortiqué uses figurative forms of cut to symbolize the gaps in the curated images we’re constantly surrounded by, highlighting the identifiable characteristics ingrained in our collective memory and stimulating our visual recognition.
“Removing material off an object — or footwear — almost always results in challenging the shoe’s stability. Think of it as architecture, where you remove pillars to achieve a more radical design and or proportions without making the building collapse.”
For the Classic Leather Tabi Decortiqué Low, the technique is used to cut away leather panels and peel off layers revealing the authentic structure and inner lining of the shoe. The Tabi split-toe is added to the deconstructed Classic Leather silhouette and Maison Margiela’s trademark numbers to the tongue tag. “As basic as its sounds, the first step in applying the décortiqué technique to the sneaker is actually just a sketch and a pair of scissors,” says Maison Margiela’s spokesperson. “Removing material off an object – or footwear – almost always results in challenging the shoe’s stability. Think of it as architecture, where you remove pillars to achieve a more radical design and or proportions without making the building collapse.”
Like the high-top version, this drop features four colorways — tonal black, white, red, and Bianchetto. The latter is another technique associated with Maison Margiela that consists of hand-painting white on a black leather base so that it chips and fades away with wear.
The Maison Margiela x Reebok Classic Leather Tabi Decortiqué low launches on January 28 here.