Reebok continues its celebration of the lives and creative legacy of Charles and Ray Eames with the new Reebok x Eames Classic Leather ‘Fiberglass Pack’ – a small collection of leather shoes made to evoke the patina of the duo’s vintage fiberglass furniture. Offered in three unique narrative colorways, the Reebok x Eames Classic Leather ‘Fiberglass Pack’ ($120 – FZ5860, FZ5858, FZ5861) is available November 17 from Eamesoffice.com before its wider release November 19 from Reebok.com and select retailers.
Building on the success of the recent Reebok x Eames Classic Leather ‘The Coloring Toy’, ‘Rosewood’ and ‘Elephant Pack’ releases, the Classic Leather Fiberglass Pack continues Reebok’s landmark partnership with the Eames Office—the firm that began with Charles and Ray’s marriage and move to California in 1941 and continues today, run by the third generation of the Eames family. The timeless appeal of the Classic Leather makes it the perfect silhouette to pay tribute to the designers’ most recognizable creations.
Pioneers of post-war American design and visual communication, Charles and Ray Eames were the husband-and-wife team best known for their iconic mid-century furniture, manufactured by Herman Miller and Vitra. Amongst their most ground-breaking designs were the Eames Molded Fiberglass Chairs, now inspiring this collection more than 70 years down the line.
Unveiled at the 1950 MoMA International Competition for Low Cost Furniture Design exhibition, the Molded Fiberglass Chair became the world’s first ever commercially produced plastic seating. Charles and Ray had spent almost a decade pushing plywood to its limit in a relentless quest to produce furniture with organic compound curves that better supported the human form. The emergence of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic during World War II was the material breakthrough that enabled their vision of a shell-like one-piece seat to become a reality. This process would go on to define their designs and create much-loved furniture pieces, that are still manufactured and purchased around the world today.
The original Molded Fiberglass Chairs possessed a distinctive straw-like texture created by the raw fiberglass strands from which they were pressed. This tactile quality gave every chair its own unique patina. The Reebok x Eames Classic Leather Fiberglass Pack captures this fibrous texture on its all-leather uppers, which are bathed in three heritage Eames colorways: Parchment, Sea Foam Green and Pink.
“It is important to note though that whilst endearingly irregular, these textural effects were not superficial aesthetic choices,” commented Eames Demetrios, Director of Eames Office, grandson of Charles and Ray Eames. “Charles and Ray believed that good design was a process of endless problem solving, not a grand decorative flourish.”
As Charles Eames put it, the job of “the designer is basically that of a good host— anticipating the needs of the guest.”
Fiberglass reinforced plastic was a new ‘wonder’ material of the time, one that Charles and Ray repurposed and at the same time redefined what a chair could be: comfortably contoured, lightweight, durable and affordable. “The best for the most for the least” as Charles Eames phrased it.
The people-first approach of Charles and Ray is beautifully captured in a new short film commissioned by Eames Office and Reebok to accompany and celebrate the Reebok x Eames Classic Leather Fiberglass Pack. In the film, a group of young friends escape to the country, migrating their Molded Fiberglass Chairs to a picnic in a lush green field. Eames chairs aren’t style-bound to ascetic modern interiors. They were designed to effortlessly fit into life as we make it. Like all Eames products we are intuitively drawn to Molded Fiberglass Chairs because they possess a playful yet purposefully grounded sensibility. Throughout the film we see colorful Eames toys and whimsical recreations of scenes from Charles and Ray’s influential film and photographic works such as Powers of Ten and Kaleidoscope Jazz Chair. These express the Eames ethic of designing joyous goods made to inspire curious wonder and better living. The country setting also speaks to Charles and Ray’s love of nature and concern for environmental welfare, expressed by their famous Eames House residence that utilized a light material footprint to lightly nestle by an exquisite meadow without wounding the surrounding landscape.
Charles and Ray’s sensitivity to our shared needs and experiences and desire to make the world fit to a more human scale speak to humankind’s everlasting fascination of today’s world. With a new generation connecting to the Eames creative spirit and the practical integrity of their work, Reebok using this inspiration and curiosity to inspire the designs for this Classic Leather Running shoe. Unpretentiously casual yet luxuriously crafted, the Classic Leather is the everyday, everywhere shoe that endures through whirlwind trends and fashion fads. Just like Eames, Reebok are both committed to satisfying the needs of the user through good design and timeless substance.
Reebok x Eames Classic Leather – ‘Fiberglass Pack’
Pink: FZ5860, Sea Foam Green: FZ5858, Parchment: FZ5861
Draped in a custom developed leather that has been painstakingly patterned to capture the texture of fiberglass, the Reebok x Eames Classic Leather Fiberglass Pack’s monotone uppers sit elegantly atop the shoe’s crisp natural rubber two-piece midsole. The muted Parchment colorway is one of the three original Molded Fiberglass Chair color options offered when the range debuted in 1950. Elegant Sea Foam Green followed within a few years, followed not too much later by our third color: the ravishing Pink which hints at still more vivid hues that would be offered into the 1970s, 1980s and even today. More original chair colours appear on the insoles, which feature a 16mm print from the Eames archives taken on the set of the whimsical 1960 Eames film Kaleidoscope Jazz Chair. The traditional Classic Leather window box branding is replaced with a debossed ‘Eames’ signature that mirrors the authentication branding that can be found on the underside of Molded Fiberglass Chairs. Each shoe comes with a collectible keychain of an Eames DAX (dining-height armchair with X-shaped base) in the same color as the upper.
Packaging – The Shoebox
Packaging for the Reebok x Eames Classic Leather Collection is modelled after the Eames House— Case Study House No. 8—in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. An example of egalitarian post war suburban architecture, the house embraces industrial innovation while retaining the warmth and human scale of a loving family home. Charles and Ray lived together in the Eames House until their passing. Their relationship is celebrated on the inner tissue paper that bears one of Ray’s many personally written letters to Charles, dated August 25, 1955.
The Reebok x Eames Classic Leather ‘Fiberglass Pack’ ($120 – FZ5860, FZ5858, FZ5861) is available November 17 from Eamesoffice.com before its wider release November 19 from Reebok.com and select retailers.