Casablanca X New Balance Was the Golden Fleece of 2020 Collabs. And It's Back

Murray Clark
·2-min read
Photo credit: IMGN Studio
Photo credit: IMGN Studio

From Esquire

Within minutes of hitting the rails (well, the 'new in' page of End anyway), Casablanca and New Balance's much-anticipated collab was gone. Sold out. Blinking was to miss it, and soon enough, the most ambitious crossover (yeah, have that Infinity War) appeared on re-sale sites as the new grail. And now, it's back for round two.

Just yesterday afternoon, an announcement of a second collaboration was fired out, and the menswearheads, they were all a quiver. For the success of Casablanca x New Balance can be apportioned to one thing: it made sense. The vaunted 327 combined all the good bits of archival sneakers for something was even better. It is retro, but feels modern, and by that very token made for a perfect blank canvas to Casablanca: designer Charaf Tajer's brainchild that places the pearlescent touches of Quentin Crisp within the confines of a Colin Tilley video. The label has managed to achieve what seems like the impossible in a crowded, ever-swelling menswear market: it's given us something new.

Photo credit: Casablanca x New Balance
Photo credit: Casablanca x New Balance

Inspired by Lake Garda – presumably the Lake Garda from the time when we were actually allowed to go – dreamy Italian palazzos inform a sneaker that's a little quieter than its predecessor. It is black, and white, and more tennis court: Casablanca in the Hamptons. It's not totally leached of colour, though: green outlines the 'N' of one sneaker, while the alternative has Casablanca's house powder pink to the tongue.

Again, it'll probably sell out. Again, you can thank a balancing act for that. Because like the previous 327, there's just enough of both brands. It's Casablanca through and through, though perhaps with more commercial appeal than the pink ribbons and Chanel-like jackets of its runway shows. And as for New Balance, it's a tried-and-tested shape – and one that's had its simplicity amped up by Casablanca's noisier DNA.

Second thoughts: a very good thing for sneaker collabs.

Available from 20 November at newbalance.com, casablancaparis.com, endclothing.com, brownsfashion.com, matchesfashion.com and mrporter.com, priced £140

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