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26 Jan

EXCLUSIVE: June Ambrose and Puma Debut First Co-branded Collection

Celebrity stylist and costume designer June Ambrose has designed a mess of fashion collections since she got here into the highlight within the early ‘90s, but her latest for Puma — her first co-branded collection with the sports giant as its creative director — has Ambrose taking a singular design approach, seeking to the past, present and way forward for the brand. 

“That is an exciting time in my life for a lot of reasons,” Ambrose said from her office on the Puma Latest York City headquarters. “It’s my twenty ninth 12 months as a fancy dress designer, stylist and inventive director, and it’s 50 years of hip-hop. So 2023, it’s the 12 months I’ve been keeping rating. It’s the culmination of my contribution to culture. I believe it’s all in a bubble straight away with this collection. It’s called ‘Keeping Rating,’ so it’s greater than nearly fashion. I actually desired to infuse performance and elegance. Life is a sport, so we proceed that narrative with this collection.” 

Ambrose’s “Keeping Rating” collection offers 20 women’s pieces, half of which debut on Thursday. The gathering is designed in a burgundy and navy color palette and offers fashion-meets-sportswear pieces like an oversize hoodie, a removable mesh jersey sports bra, an adjustable maxi-to-midi skirt and color-blocked leggings. The gathering also offers Ambrose’s version of the classic Puma Ralph Sampson sneaker and Prevail sneaker. Ambrose’s line is on the market at Puma stores, its website and choose retailers globally. Pieces range from $30 to $200 at retail.

The costume designer first joined Puma in 2020 as creative director for the ladies’s basketball category, launching a set called “High Court” the next 12 months that included fashion-meets-sportswear designs on par with what the brand was offering on the lads’s basketball side. Ambrose’s “High Court” collection was met with success, with retailer Nordstrom seeing the gathering’s faux fur jacket, reversible beanie and other styles sell out on launch day. Specialty retailer Woodstack also saw the gathering’s beanie have a 90 percent sell-through rate and other accessories experience a 70 percent sell-through rate.

“[Ambrose’s] entire profession has been about bridging the gap between streetwear and fashion and really elevating our stories, elevating the look of our athletes and our ambassadors,” said Puma chief brand officer Adam Petrick. “When it got here to determining what we were going to do as regards to meaningfully providing an equal approach to our women’s basketball program, I believe it was natural that June, from a storytelling and brand elevation standpoint, would have a huge effect on that. And it’s absolutely been the case.” 

Styles from “Keeping Rating.”

Courtesy of Puma

Given the success of “High Court,” Ambrose looked to among the collection’s style elements when designing “Keeping Rating,” equivalent to the high-waisted leggings with color-blocked lines. Ambrose also looked to the 50 years of hip-hop for the gathering by incorporating oversize styles with vintage washes. She looked to Puma’s vast history in sportswear and added in her own modern, high-fashion touch meant to bring the gathering into the long run.

“There’s something about hip-hop culture that’s unapologetic,” she explained. “When you concentrate on among the images from the early ‘80s and ‘90s which are still timeless and classic and also you’ve seen them reinvented and repeated, it’s really telling you that hip-hop is a timeless genre of music. I desired to create something that felt prefer it was a timeless genre of sportswear.”

“Keeping Rating” will launch in two drops — the primary is more subdued than Ambrose’s prior collections, she said, with a muted color palette. She explained she went with this design technique to make the gathering appear “classic and wealthy” and infuse more of a life-style aesthetic.

Along with seeking to her “High Court” collection, Ambrose also leveraged her history working with Puma for the road. Ambrose said that she’s been a fan of Puma since growing up within the South Bronx, Latest York, and witnessing the rise of music culture. She stated she took notice of who the brand partnered with or endorsed, and she or he used it in one among the primary music videos she styled for Missy Elliott. 

“For June, her principal thing is taking a classic and redefining it,” said Emory Jones, cofounder of streetwear brand Paper Planes, who serves as a creative consultant for Puma. “Some people all the time need to walk in and alter who you might be. The difference is you possibly can’t change the brand. You might have to tap into the history and the heritage of the brand and redefine it for this moment for the people in a recent generation to grasp it.”

June Ambrose

June Ambrose

Lexie Moreland/WWD

Being relevant throughout the fashion world has been a vital strategy for Puma, which has been collaborating with brands within the industry for the last 25 years, in keeping with Petrick, to “find recent and interesting ways to push the culture around sports forward.” The brand began its fashion partnerships with French fashion brand Xuly.Bët in 1996, then later teamed with fashion houses and designers like Jil Sander, Alexander McQueen and Miharayasuhiro, amongst others. The brand’s foray into high-fashion has also been supported by its celebrity collaborations, including with the likes of Rihanna and Dua Lipa.

“We’re definitely attempting to be as unique as possible in relation to hitting that sweet spot between sports and fashion,” Petrick said about what’s driving growth at Puma. “Our whole approach of fascinated about the culture around sports has allowed us to actually meaningfully think around the approach to life and the cultural context of the buyer. That’s been the perspective that’s been unique and refreshing within the marketplace that’s allowing us to usher in recent customers.” 

Bringing in recent customers was one among the impacts of Puma’s Latest York Fashion Week show hosted last September, in keeping with Petrick, who explained the experience was “a reintroduction for a giant audience” to the brand. Ambrose helmed the style show, called Futrograde, and showcased her “Keeping Rating” collection, in addition to other sportswear pieces. 

Petrick explained Puma will proceed to look in global fashion weeks going forward, with one other large show slated for this fall during Latest York Fashion Week to have a good time the brand’s seventy fifth anniversary.

Following the January drop of “Keeping Rating,” Ambrose will debut the gathering’s second drop in March. The following collection will leverage Ambrose’s affinity for daring designs, while still sticking true to her design aesthetic, she said. 

“I feel that so as to reinvent myself, I actually have to follow my AI — my authentic intelligence,” she said. “I do know authentically there was an even bigger consumer here and an even bigger reach. Now the second drop is just a little bit bolder and the colour palette could be very polarizing — it also speaks to that retro ‘90s energy with the silhouettes and the colour. This [drop] is the appetizer, then there’s more seasoning and flavor within the second drop.” 

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