alexander mcqueen, RIP



Alexander McQueen was found dead on Thursday morning in his London apartment. See Eric Wilson’s obit for the NYT here.

Though we always appreciated his high-concept fashion shows and collections (of the latter, especially those influenced by zoology and biology), it was his collaboration with Puma, which started in 2005 with footwear and expanded into men’s and women’s clothing in 2009 — that sealed the deal. We were hoping that he’d dip into the tennis pool at some point (Serena was sponsored by Puma pre-Nike), but now it’ll just be a pipe dream.

Further browsing: Check out the galleries at style.com to see McQueen’s work for his eponymous label. FYI, he was also the head designer for Givenchy from 1996 until 2001.

(image via style.com)

pushing puma



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While Puma once had the most sought-after name in tennis – Serena Williams – the brand has recently all but disappeared from the tennis court. That doesn’t mean the brand has floundered into oblivion, however, as the company has launched a nationwide ad campaign that doesn’t feature any big-name athletes, but instead, fresh-faced (and oh-so-trendy) retail workers in what they’re calling “Employees Only“.

The campaign is plastered along subway stations all over New York City (above), and includes other sites nationwide. And while the brand may not be a Serena seller anymore, they may have the world’s most famous athlete on their side: Usain Bolt.

Bolt has pushed Puma back to its running roots, as the company once sponsored Olympic medalists throughout the 20th century. Their soccer presence has always been solid, anchored by the legendary Pele, and worn still today by clubs and players all over the world.

Long a running and soccer brand, Puma delved into tennis when Guillermo Vilas started wearing the brand in the ’70s. The Argentinian won three slams decked out in Puma gear, though the line never got much tennis notice outside of the big man from down south.

As recently as 2006, the company had Vilas Puma retro shoes, though they aren’t available on the web site anymore. (Can anyone verify they still sell the shoe?!?).

You may recall Puma and its infamous catsuit design they did for Serena at the 2002 Open. But as it turns out, the brand was leaving the sport with a bang when the younger Williams sister signed a contract with Nike the following year.

Can Puma push its way back into tennis? For now, we’re only left of sweet (and skin-tight) memories of the catsuit and the brand’s short-lived relationship with the sport of tennis.

Catsuit reminiscing? Check out the jump. [Read more...]

anyone from puma out there?



Reader Andy is jonesing for this Puma outfit worn by Martina Navratilova during her 1983 U.S. Open win. The tennis great tucked the brown and white polo into a high-waisted skirt. Does anyone out there know how Andy can get one?

Too bad the sports company is out of the tennis business; they had some good stuff, most recently with Serena. (And it’s not like Puma’s lacking in the design department: they’ve had great collabs with Alexander McQueen and kozyndan.) Off the court, the closest Puma comes to tennis are the reissues of Guillermo Vilas shoes — the GV Love — as part of their archive collection.

public service announcement: tretorn nylite



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If any of you are out in the desert and in need of some simple shoes, consider the Tretorn sale going on at the Puma outlet in Cabazon. The Tretorn Nylite was designed in 1967 and became the “it” tennis shoes in the 70s.

I picked up this pair of white/yellow Nylite for $25 (they normally retail for $55). FYI, the outlet has seven or eight other styles that are all marked down 50%.

lydia hearst + puma = more lydia bags!



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As we mentioned back in June, Puma has revisited its partnership with model Lydia Hearst to release another round of Lydia bags — a designer take on the racquet grip bag from the company’s French 77 line. The unveiling happened at Puma’s Union Square store yesterday.

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Unlike the limited-edition bag Ms. Hearst designed with Heatherette back in February (that’s her above, left), this round of bags runs $125 a pop and is constructed from eco-friendly materials (read: no leather). That earlier version was made of custom leather; most of 100 were given away to friends of Hearst, and the leftovers went on sale for $500 each.

So how did Hearst feel designing for the masses? “It’s much easier to create a high-end bag than a mass market bag that everyone can afford,” she shared with WWD. “But by looking at the bag, you wouldn’t know it’s mass market. I wanted to make sure anyone and everybody can enjoy my designs.”

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Here’s a photo of former rentboy (and Marc Jacobs‘ ex) Jason Preston. And a photo of what the Union Square store.

The bag comes in two colorways: black/bright blue and silver. They go on sale on Friday at Puma concept stores. (Edit: Buy the bag here.)

More to come: Hearst and Puma will also team up for an eco-friendly activewear line to launch in the fall of 2008.

(photos by WireImage)