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

Puma-Subway

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

tretorn-nylite-iw09a

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!

lydia-hearst-puma-2007.jpg

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)

venus throws eleven party at tenjune

venus williams - eleven launch party - tenjune

Venus Williams hosted a party for the launch of EleVen at Tenjune (located under yummy steakhouse STK). While she may be all about her short shorts on court, she sticks with conservative skinny denim and a long silver leg-of-mutton-sleeved jacket.

serena williams - eleven launch party - tenjune - starr jones

Serena, now done with her SEWTA Year-End Championships obligations, joins her sister in celebrating the line. She poses with Starr Jones on the right. Le sigh, silk is so hard to wear.

serena - venus - lydia hearst

And here the sisters flank Lydia Hearst, whose next project with Puma (more Lydia bags, likely) we’re eagerly awaiting.

(photos by Wireimage)

Btw, I went to check out the EleVen goods at my local Steve & Barry’s (that’s Beverly Connection, in case you’re interested)… I thought there’d be lines out the door, but there were only 5 customers in the store. Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Bitten section looked cleaned out, but everything else was pretty stocked.

Most of the EleVen goods I’d been eyeing on the site weren’t in this branch. I ended up helping this girl choose between hoop earrings and some dangly stars (we went with hoops). I walked out with some cute green sneakers from their Starbury line, though. and p.s. Venus will do a signing there on Nov. 25, 3:30 p.m.

fashion: more than just underwear…

I assure you I am capable of discussing things other than Djokovic‘s chones

Stay tuned for Borg and Fila: I’ll have my hands on pics from the Bjorn Borg spring/summer ’08 collection (that’s underwear AND swimwear) very soon. Also, word about Fila‘s new clothing line (one that’s even better than their Settantatre collection, I’ve been told) should pop up at any time. I’ll let you know when it does.

Kournikova’s next move: First, can we stop talking about Anna Kournikova‘s lack of singles titles already? She’s still an accomplished tennis player with TWO Grand Slam doubles titles under her belt.

Ads: The Russian starlet — who’s currently the tennis face of K-Swiss, poses in these print ads for the SoCal-based sporting goods company. I love the Fila-esque play on red, white, and blue. (via RightFielders)

A new clothing line: Kournikova announced at the Rogers Cup this week (she’s there playing an exhibition) that her K-Swiss yoga/tennis/gym collection — “it will basically be stuff that you can be in the gym in and then go to a coffee shop in” — will drop in 2008. I can’t wait to see all the muffin tops at my local Coffee Bean!!! (via DTL)

Vintage vision: The folks at Nike continue to raid their archives for this season’s looks, and DTL continues to obsess.

My next mission: Former Vogue Hommes International EIC Bruno Danto is hard at work to bring his Sport & Style magazine to New York. The book, currently distributed in France, Dubai, and China, is “a lifestyle title that harmoniously blends fashion with athletics.” If someone sees an issue, please let me know. (via DTL)

Racqonteur’s dirty work: Editrix (and tennis fan) Anna Wintour gives the sport its fair share of ink in the September issue of Vogue. Sister (brother?) publication Men’s Vogue does the same. (Racqonteur)

Speaking of magazines: Portfolio, Condé Nast’s new business mag, profiles François-Henri Pinault aka Salma Hayek’s baby daddy and the newest owner of Puma. Also, as head of the Gucci Group, Pinault rocked the fashion world by booting Tom Ford from Gucci and proved naysayers wrong by growing that brand (along with YSL and Bottega Venetta) even without a celebrity designer.

I don’t know about you, but the Portfolio website reminds me of Monocle‘s.

shoes, shoes, and more shoes: tretorn

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Tretorn returns: Swedish designer Acne Jeans partner with the shoe company to update Bjorn Borg‘s classic ’70s on-court sneakers, this time called Acne Jeans Stroll Mid Canvas ($175) and the Stroll Low Canvas ($145). The shoes are lined with Oxford shirt material and available in electric blue, navy, white, and black. During the redesign, Acne even took inspiration from an old Chinese military sneaker found at a vintage store in New York City. (via Refinery29)

Buy: Shop the Acne + Tretorn shoes at the Acne website. Other Tretorn styles available at the Tretorn website. My picks:

tretorns-men.jpg

For the men, the Nylite Sommar Sail (made with recycled sail), the Skagenröra (based on a Swedish appetizer — SHRIMP ON SHOES!!!!!! BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!), and the Vindkraft Leather.

tretorns-women.jpg

For the women, the T-56 Metallic and the Tretorn Hockeyboot Paninari. (Read about the Paninaro movement here.)

In print: Kenneth in the (212)’s latest ad watch even grabs a Tretorn ad.

How it all started (again): Back in 2004, the Sweden-based Puma subsidiary (acquired in 2001) established Tretorn Gullwing, a division that reissued their classic sneakers and a new line of rubber boots. The original Tretorn company was established in 1891. (Business Wire)

Fashion trivia: Borg started out in Fred Perry and in Tretorns, but moved onto the Fila stripes and Diadoras for the latter part of his tennis career. (via MTF)

Thanks to Down the Line! for reminding me to finish this post…

short balls: venus' necklace, Sochi grumbles, tiger's lame, blake pens a tearjerker, etc.

Venus’ jewelry: A few of you asked about Venus‘ Wimbledon necklace. Unfortunately I have no information about where she got it from. Instead, I offer the New York Timesrecent slideshow on current necklace styles. Ellen Tien has an amazing eye for this stuff.

Venus and Reebok: CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks about the relationship between Venus and Reebok (basically, that her endorsement — the largest in women’s sports history — was not renewed in 2003 because of her erratic playing schedule; she still gets paid to wear Reebok even though she’s not on their athlete roster).

A tearjerker: Rovell also gives a great review of the new James Blake memoir, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life. Blake has had a rough last couple of years…

Sochi grumbles: We’re all aware of Maria Sharapova‘s endorsement of Sochi as an Olympics site. Now the other side speaks up. (Spiegel)

More grumbling: This time from the All-England Club, who didn’t appreciate that London Mayor Ken Livingstone planned the beginning of this year’s Tour de France on the same Sunday as the Gentlemen’s Singles Championships. The cycling tournament caused road closures that hassled spectators trying to get to Wimbledon. And the AELTC didn’t want to share the spotlight with any other event with such an international focus (which make sense).

Tiger is lame: I think Tiger Woods is a great guy, but did he really need to be such a douchebag in that Gillette commercial that aired during Wimbledon? In it, Roger Federer strokes Tiger’s presumably smooth (post-shave) cheek, and Tiger turns to Thierry Henry with an awkward “uhh, did he just do that?” reaction.

For you French77 lovers, a treat: Puma is having an online sale (which includes items from the French77 collection); take 20% off your order when you use the coupon code PUMA20 during checkout. Expires July 23. (via Puma)

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>> short balls archive

fashionistas: puma and lydia hearst team up again

To those who could not get their hands on the hundred or so limited edition Lydia Bags from earlier this year: fear not. (I’m talking to you, too, Britney.) Puma and Ms. Hearst are teaming up for another round of patchwork bags. (We hope Heatherette will be back to help with the designs.)

This time, they’re making it available to us common folk for $100 a pop. Prior to this, the closest we could get to the Lydia was the company’s Racket Grip Bag (a part of the French 77 line).

DIY: If you’re feeling like you can channel your inner publishing heiress, grab your glue gun and bedazzler, buy your blank canvas, and create your own Lydia. Send me photos!

I wonder if people actually use this bag to carry racquets. What do you think?

(via Flypaper)

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