Join the “Converse”- ation!

Rick Owens Converse x DRKSHDW TURBODRK Chuck 70’s

Sneakers may not have been the major footwear news on recent runways, but head outside anywhere in the world to see that sneaker culture is alive, well, and stronger than ever. One brand in particular, Nike Air, is getting a lot of publicity as of late thanks to the newly released movie “Air.”

Ben Affleck’s drama tells how Nike signed Michael Jordan to a contract that made each astonishingly rich. Thanks to a young basketball star, it transformed Nike into a significant force in the sneakers market. It signaled a global revolution in how the sport was marketed and players rewarded.

“When I think of Converse, I think of the black & white Chuck Taylor and the punk rock generation. Wearing Chuck Taylor’s, you align yourself with an experimental generation. There is a confident dynamic to the subculture”

Rick Owens
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops, $65

But another sneaker is a clear winner in my book: the original Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star. The market is inundated with sneakers. The snazzier, gussied up, and over-designed sneakers become, the more appreciative I am of these bare-boned classics. The Converse Chuck Taylor is as timeless as a sneaker gets.

Not much has changed in the overall design since it first debuted in the early 20th century,” observes Tyler Watamanuk, Contributing Writer, GQ. “On the other hand, its reputation has only grown, embraced by everyone from punk rockers to fashion heads,” he continues.

There are limitless selling points to the hundreds and hundreds of sneakers, but perhaps one of the most compelling descriptions is “timeless.” Converse sneakers fit the bill for classic shoes that never go out of style. They are also affordable ($65- $100), sustainable, and biodegradable.

Toddler Sized Converse Chuck Taylor Sneaker in Lemon Chrome

Chucks have always signified an authentic, effortless, unfashionably cool that cannot be beaten. They are unisex, flattering, and not overly clunky. They work year-round (you can think of the high tops as lightweight boots), go from day to evening, and are great for all ages, infant through nonagenarian. It’s hard to deny that babies look adorable in Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers.

Rihanna wearing Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops

Converse has been making Chuck Taylor All-Star and One-Star sneakers for over a century, redefining sport, street, and creative culture since the beginning (Chuck Taylors were the official shoe of the Olympic Games from 1936 to 1968). Many iconic figures have worn these canvas and rubber sneakers throughout the years. From James Dean and Kurt Cobain to Madonna and Rihanna, Chucks has become a timeless, affordable, and iconic fashion piece.

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris
Photo: Vogue, January, 2021

When newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris appeared on the cover of Vogue in January 2021, she proudly wore her favorite pair of Chucks. Wearing all black, actress Winona Ryder graced the July 2022 digital cover of Harper’s Bazaar US.

Winona Ryder appeared on the digital cover of Harper’s Bazaar July 2022

Ryder wears a look featuring Converse sneakers and Cartier jewelry while wearing a tulle skirt, shorts, and a sweater by Dior. The Stranger Things star posed for additional photographs Dan Martensen took while on set wearing stylish outfits, many of which were accessorized with the black Converse Chuck Taylor low tops.

Joana Freitas in her Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops
Photo: Instagram

On Instagram, I regularly find stylish women like Joana Freitas and Victoria Tornegren tapping into their inner Tomboy and styling their favorite Chucks with everything from sweats and oversized pantsuits to long knit dresses and denim paired with classic Breton striped sweaters, tuxedo jackets, fur coats, and bikers. They are all making a case for elevating the casual in a polished, highly considered way. Still think sweats are unfashionable?

Converse offers customization and personalization. They have tweaked the Chucks by adding lugged soles and platforms. Color choices are plentiful, with a wide range of mouthwatering colors and seasonal shades offered.

Victoria Tornegren wears her Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops
Photo: Instagram

I always love red, which makes everything pop. But in the end, I’m a purist. You can’t beat white or the classic combination of black and white. They are the chicest and always remind me of Chanel.

Unsurprisingly, in the early 90s, Karl Lagerfeld accessorized an entire Chanel collection with his black and white Converse sneaker version, placing a prominent CC on the side. Iterations are available from time to time on vintage websites like 1st Dibs. Even though you cannot do better than the originals, which even today will only set you back $65, designers have put their spin on this iconic shoe through the years.

Joana Freitas wearing her Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Low Sneakers
Photo: Instagram

One of my all-time favorites is the Comme Des Garçons Play x Converse black canvas Chuck Taylor 1970s high-top sneakers, updated with the signature printed red heart logo on one side and Converse branding on the other.

Converse x Comme des Garcons PLAY 70, $150

They also feature a lace-up front fastening, rubber toe cap, contrasting heel trim, and a flat white rubber sole. The recently introduced steel gray, Egret, and black version is very sophisticated and urbane. Priced at $150, they are available at

“I’ve been referencing Converse for years, so when they suggested a collaboration, it seemed like a good, natural thing to do. These have always been iconic pillars of my aesthetic.”

Rick Owens
Rick Owens X Converse DRKSTAR DRKSHDW Chuck 70’s

Rick Owens has said he was never a sneaker person. “I just hated sneakers’ informal and suburban ethos,” admitted Owens. But punk rock and The Ramones in Chuck Taylors turned Rick on to the category, as evidenced by his past design named after the band. This inspired sneaker collaborations with Adidas, Dr. Martens, Veja, and Birkenstock.

Rick Owens Converse x DRKSHDW TURBODRK Chuck 70

In 2021 Owens added Converse to the ever-growing list of brands that have tapped the “Dark Lord” for his unmistakable goth-glam fashion aesthetic. Owens’ unisex collection is classic yet edgy, keeping the signature details but adding Rick’s immediately identifiable signatures.

Rick Owens DRKSHDW TURBODRK in black and white faux zebra, $270

Rick’s debut Converse collaboration saw the designer rework the popular Chuck ’70 in high and low-top variants in monochromatic shades of black and white. Owens’ unmistakable version of the Chuck 70 – named the DRKSHDW X Converse Chuck 70 ‘TURBODRK” features a triple toe cap and double sole in both black and white. #13

Each season, Owens continues to deliver bold new restatements of his transformative TURBODRK Chuck 70’s design. Among the recent standouts are a pair in graphic black and white faux zebra and another in black laminated twill, giving it a bit of shine.

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

1 Comment
  1. Written by a true fashion journalist! Marilyn’s articles are always inspiring and validates what’s happening in the world of fashion.

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