A well-designed sneaker is one of the finer things in life, much like a fine wine, a Cuban cigar or a cabinet fashioned from rich mahogany. Step into a crowded room wearing a good pair of kicks and you may verily command that room. Knowing this, luxury brand-touting Sneakerboy has come to us from Melbourne bearing not only the finest sneakers but a novel way of purchasing them — combining the efficiency of online shopping with the hands-on, social advantage of bricks-and-mortar stores. One feels that if Kanye or will.i.am were to go shopping in Sydney, this would be their first stop.
Creative director Chris Kyvetos, who's formerly contributed his talents to Harrolds as creative director andAssin as a designer, is the mastermind behind this high-end sneaker gallery. How does it differ from yourHypes and your Platypi? Sneakerboy is like the Berlin underground gothic nightclub of sneaker stores, with a semi-secret location deep in Temperance Lane — you may have already walked by it, completely oblivious to the illuminated circular tunnel of leathery delights right under your nose. (Like me you may, however, have clocked the mysteriously attractive men loitering in the laneway).
Enter the industrial-style, concrete-floored magic bunker and you'll see mounted rows of shoes by Prada, Yohji Yamamoto, Pierre Hardy, Balenciaga, Reebok, Krisvanassche, Givenchy and more. There are also clothes to be tried on, by designers Hood By Air, Christopher Kane and other trendoids of a similar, street-wise stripe.
The shopfit is inspired by public spaces and the Paris Metro in particular, with future-retro metal seats and lighting cues giving the store a vibe that's raw and edgy yet sleek. Tech details hint at the forward-thinking outlook of this retail concept — plugs peeking out of shoe displays and screens mounted in the chairs.
Where's the cash register? There is none — all sales are done on your own phone. This is just the physical place where you experience a product that you'll buy online, and which will be shipped to your door from offshore warehouses in Hong Kong (within 3-5 days, pledges Chris). It's also where you're likely to run into some of the slickest folk in town.