Adidas AG (ADS - Get Report) may have the stronghold on classic sneakers right now, but that doesn't mean Nike Inc. (NKE - Get Report) can't try.

Nike launched this week its collaboration with designer Virgil Abloh, who will redesign Nike's 10 classic sneakers--including the Air Jordan 1 and the VaporMax--for a collection dubbed THE TEN. To kick off the occasion, Nike put on a three-day installation celebrating the 10 sneakers in a warehouse space on Wall Street.

The installation, which was open to the public between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8, was anchored by an invisible Michael Jordan mid-dunk to feature the Jordan 1s. Nike paid homage to the Converse sneakers--a brand it acquired in 2003--through a tall pile of photos of different people donning the shoes. The VaporMax had its own wall of vapor--literally.

The art installation was accompanied by panels, half of which were moderated by Abloh. Guests included the likes of director Spike Lee, musician Brendan Fowler and photographer Atiba Jefferson.

In the first panel on Friday, Sept. 8, for instance, Abloh sat down with rapper Vince Staples and his childhood friend Sage Elsesser, a professional skateboarder. In a conversation livestreamed on the Nike website, the three waxed nostalgic over Converse Chuck Taylors.

Staples, who grew up in Los Angeles, said he bought his first pair--classic black lace-ups--for $30 at a swap meet. The sneakers are classics because of their accessibility, he added. "They stayed the same for almost a fucking century."

Upstairs, Nike offered a sparse selection of products: two $75 short sleeve t-shirts, two $100 long sleeve t-shirts, a hoody for $130, a large tote for $50, caps in four colors for $50 each and a $150 toolkit.

Customers could only view the products from a wall display. As soon as they entered the space, they were shepherded into a line that eventually led to four or five cash registers. 

"It's like a museum," one guest said to another, as they walked out the door with matching Nike totes.

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