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Flowers Afoot: Peter Saville’s New Order Album Art Blooms on Sneakers

Are you a graphic design junkie? A devotee of New Order? A fan of Henri Fantin-Latour? Or simply a lover of roses? If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, then Supreme has the sneakers for you. Among its freshly released spring covetables are three styles of Vans–the SK8-Hi, the Chukka, and the Era–splashed with original album artwork from New Order’s 1983 album Power, Corruption, & Lies, for which Peter Saville deftly selected Fantin-Latour’s 1890 “A Basket of Roses” (in the collection of the National Gallery in London) and appended the modern wink of a color code in the upper right corner.

“When I heard the title Power, Corruption, and Lies, the first thing that came to mind was the dark side of the Renaissance,” said Saville in a recent interview. His viewing of the 1981-82 BBC series The Borgias sent him on a hunt for sinister images. “I went to look for a Machiavellian prince in various museums, and I found some, but a corrupt despot was painfully literal when confronted with it.” On his way out of the National Gallery, Saville stopped to purchase some postcards, including one of Fantin-Latour’s drowsy bouquet. “There was a kind of elegant kitsch to it. I always liked that style and I still do–it’s my mother’s living room.” He later decided to deploy the image as “a foil to the literal meaning of the [album] title but a perfect cypher. It was charming, seductive, and apparently innocent, and in that sense, a more insidious evocation of corrupt strategies.”

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