Puma Announces Rihanna as New Creative Director

Photo: John Salangsang/BFAnyc.com

The Rihanna Navy has some exciting news to celebrate the new year. Come January, everyone’s favorite bad gal will begin a stint as Puma’s creative director.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetPhoto: Courtesy of Puma

Of her forthcoming designs, Rihanna said in the press release:

“It’s great to find a brand that celebrates strength and individuality. I couldn’t think of a more perfect partner to collaborate with as a creative director. I’m excited for you to see what Puma and I come up with.”

And since, Rihanna herself is part of what makes this a cool partnership, Riri will also star in the brand’s campaign titled Forever Faster alongside superstar athletes like Usain Bolt and Sergio Aguero.

The collaboration is intended to inspire in its wearers the same kind of unabashed confidence, self-esteem, and love for one’s own body that Rihanna is known for. Whatever styles they produce, we’re sure Rihanna will make sure her edgy style and influence are apparent.

Solange’s Second Collection For Puma Gets Her Rainbow Spin on Style

Solange is known for her bold, colorful style, so it’s no surprise that Puma‘s second collection under her creative direction sings a similar tune. Following up her Spring 2014 Girls of Blaze collection, two more are coming soon.

Solange enlisted her artistic friends to help her design: Gerlan Marcel of GERLAN JEANS; visual artist, musician, and photographer Hisham Bharoocha; and Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, design team for the women’s wear collection William Okpo. Each created their own unique interpretation of the new seasonal themes.

The first three styles, which are grouped under the theme “Wild Wonders” will be released this Friday, the 28th, followed by two called “Behind The Bazaar” on December 13th. Check ’em out:

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Athletes in Lanvin, Sustainable Python Farming, and Shoes: Today’s #StyleScoop

Sustainability and python supply, did you ever think you’d see the day?

Kering plans to research and shed a little light on the shady python trade in South America, which it relies on for many of the precious skin bags in many of its family’s collections. Can you imagine being a python farmer? Would you send your kids out to collect eggs in the morning? It’s all stuff we don’t really want to think about whe picking up an exotic piece, even if it is reality.

If python farmer doesn’t seem like the kind of job you aspire to, consider becomingMichelle Phan. The beauty blogger and YouTube star is set to have raked in $5 million by year’s end. So all those hours spent perfecting eyeliner in front of the mirror could be worth something some day. Stay at it, kids.

If spending money sounds more appealing than putting in hours in front of the webcam, consider Solange‘s new kicks. She’s the new creative consultant to Puma – think color. Lots of it.

Let’s all congratulate Eric Wilson, previously of the New York Times, who is officially In Style‘s new fashion news director. He’s been at it for about 72 hours now.

I know we talked about sports teams upping the wardrobe ante by providing uniform options, but we have even more reason to check out the guys off the field, too: Arsenal picked up Lanvin as their official tailor. They join AC Milan with Dolce & Gabbana on their side, and Real Madrid in Versace. Hot stuff, guys.

Puma Partners with Artist Isaac Julien & Miami’s Bass Museum of Art

On the evening of February 5, 2004, 23 Chinese migrant workers, who were gathering cockles in England’s Morecambe Bay, drowned to death after they were trapped by the rising tide. London-based painter and filmmaker Isaac Julien will never forget the moment he caught wind of the tragedy.

“It was a real shock,” says Julien, a Turner Prize nominee of Caribbean descent. “For me, the story became about workers’ rights, or their lack of rights.” Julien’s requiem for the loss, Ten Thousand Waves, had its American premiere during Art Basel Miami Beach at the Bass Museum of Art as part of Puma’s Creative Caribbean Network, an initiative dedicated to spotlighting an often-overlooked group of minorities in the art world.

Ten Thousand Waves, a nine-screen video installation that weaves together sweeping greenscreen cinematography and grainy documentary film footage, is the centerpiece of Julien’s eponymous gallery show, which spans 10 years in the artist’s career and runs until March 6. “Who should be canonized? Who shouldn’t?” asks Julien, who collaborated with actor Tilda Swinton on 2008’s Derek, a documentary he directed about the late filmmaker Derek Jarman. “The Creative Caribbean Network is important because it asks these questions on a global scale.”

“It all began with the Rubells’ show and the Creative African Network,” says Puma chairman and CEO Jochen Zeitz about Puma.Creative, which he launched in partnership with the Rubell Family Collection’s “30 Americans” exhibition in 2008. Each of the featured artists was black and, yes, American. “Then I started thinking about what region Puma should focus on next. Given our heritage—with athletes from Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean—the Creative Caribbean Network seemed like the next logical step.” It made sense for the curators at the Bass Museum, too, who will partner with Puma.Creative to host an ongoing series of exhibitions, performances, and other live events over the next three years.

Silvia Cubina, the gallery’s executive director and chief curator, says, “When you look at Isaac’s earlier pieces, which we installed in our Renaissance and Baroque collection, it’s about who writes the history, who’s allowed to be in museums, who’s allowed to be in the Renaissance, who’s allowed to be in contemporary art. What’s interesting to me about the Creative Caribbean Network is that it invites artists to get involved, to create, and to collaborate.”

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Puma Partners with Alexander McQueen, Usain Bolt, Hip Japanese Guy

As we recently noted, Puma has been making a concerted push for 21st-century relevance with a roster of partnerships and collaborations worthy of Opening Ceremony. First up, Puma is continuing its unlikely alliance with Alexander McQueen, and the next batch of kicks from this team-up promises fashionable offerings in blues and grays, rounded out by McQueen’s signature eye for shape. One rather impressive model is a high top sneaker with cut-up and twisted suede side-paneling. Awesome. Puma also has a longstanding line with young Japanese menswear and footwear designer Mihara Yasuhiro.

For Puma’s next season, Yasuhiro addressed global warming with a wiggly, melted-on-the-sidewalk sole detail. Yasuhiro’s conceptualism ties into another of Puma’s joint efforts, this one with Hussein Chalayan. Chalayan is an avant-gardist, and takes, for example, a Repetto-esque oxford and adds a plasticized, sculpted sole.

Perhaps the most sellable line is Puma’s fledgling alliance with Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man. The Bolt collection features clean-lined apparel, silhouetted with the runner’s signature lightning-bolt victory pose. Now in its second installment, Bolt’s influence has also inspired the new “Faas” (which means “fast” in Jamaican patois) trio of performance running shoes, featuring three different weights, depending on the race you’re running. Check out Puma Online to shop, and if nothing suits your fancy, you can always go nuts at their Mongolian Shoe BBQ.

Puma & Vans Open Shops Where Clothing Is an Afterthought

Not too long ago, fashion magazines were having a naked moment. Countless rags dedicated lengthy editorials to models in next to nothing, leaving readers wondering where, exactly, all the clothes had disappeared to. Well, it looks like clothing brands are now following suit, with brick and mortar spaces prioritizing socializing over selling. Levi’s has helped lead the way with its series of bi-coastal workshops focusing more on creative, community-based initiatives than clothing. Now it’s Puma and Vans’ turn.

Puma’s whopping 6,500-square-foot pop-up social club, housed in LA’s iconic Sunset Towers, is a draw for fans who hold sports and drinking in equal measure. Drinking as sport, say. Expect darts, foosball, table tennis, bowling, as well as Puma wares in the form of “the classic track jacket and reissued sneakers to exclusive, limited-edition graphic tees.” And, yes, booze will be flowing at night when the space turns into a bar (replete with snacks) for the 21 and over set.

Vans, on the other side of the country, is servicing skate junkies in Williamsburg with a 24,000 square-foot warehouse, called ‘House of Vans,’ dedicated to skate culture. The grand opening is slated for this Saturday, October 16th. Following that, “events for retail skate shops, magazines, artists and musicians” will be invite-only, says ESPN. While none of these brands is the first to throw funds at establishing brand culture over sales alone, the mass movement toward alternative methods of promotion and marketing remains strong. And, in an increasingly digital age, it’s nice to know that major labels still realize the importance and potential influence of tangible culture.

Puma Pops Up on the Sunset Strip

The only benefit of the lingering recession, as far as I’m concerned, is pop-up bar concepts, now that landlords are ready to lower prices to get some temporary income coming in. This month, Puma got in on the action when the footwear giant managed to temporarily snag a slice of the Sunset Strip. Last night, they lured Jeremy Piven and others to the launch of their Puma Social Club concept inside the old One Sunset space, which has been vacant for over a year. Rent at 8730 Sunset is rumored to be $30,000 a month or more, keeping actual bars or restaurants from opening in the 6,500-square-foot space, but Puma will at least light up the Strip with a few notable events before closing shop on October 28th.

So what exactly is Puma Social Club? The concept is essentially a hastily designed bar, with a few extra activities and a store thrown in for good measure. Neon signs light up the interior, and chalkboards hang on the walls, riddled with tacky encouragements to tweet, with Puma-specific Twitter hashtags spelled out for drinkers. But ping-pong tables and other games for bar goers seem to be the central raison d’être for the temporary lounge. It’s a sports bar for people who hate sports bars, and last night, it worked out splendidly. British singer Dan Black was on the decks, and several Hollywood types—Audrina Partridge, Mr. Piven, and Allison Sweeny among them—were all too happy to hit the open bar and down free Pink’s hot dogs.

This pop-up club seems to be part of a larger trend in L.A., wherein “trendy” bars incorporate some sort of sporty activity. Over the summer, New York’s ping-pong themed SPiN opened an L.A. outpost just down the Strip from Puma on Sunset in West Hollywood, inside the Mondrian hotel.

At the end of the day, Puma Social Club is all about marketing – the company recently rolled out their “Puma Social” print-and-online ad campaign – but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy drinking for free this month. The club is open during the day sans alcohol, from 12-5 p.m. if you feel the need to play video games with people other than yourself. Here is a schedule of events that’ll run until the end of the month. We suggest crashing the Vice magazine party this Friday, which should be totally doable.

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Finally A High-Fashion Line With Jetsetters In Mind

Fresh in the footsteps of the launch of Hussein Chalayan’s collaboration with J. Brand come images of the fruits of the designer’s new gig at Puma. “Called Urban Mobility, the collection for spring-summer is billed as ‘fashion sportswear’ and accessories for the ‘modern urban traveler’,” says Women’s Wear Daily. What that means exactly, is sleek fashion forward looks manufactured with some of the most innovative materials around.

Specifically, “a jacket designed with internal compartments in different sizes, which organize travel documents, eliminates the need for a bag. Pants with a removable pouch-shaped pocket ease the stress of emptying pockets in a hurry during security control at the airport.” The collection will hit stores in February, and will hopefully be the first of many to come. I’m not quite sure I could pull of the over-sized shades, but the jacket, skirt and wedges pictured here are all good signs that the line is going to give former designer/sportswear collaborations like Stella McCartney for Adidas and Kim Jones for Umbro a serious run for their money.