Following the success of the “Girls of Blaze” collection debuted this past February, PUMA unleashes its second collection of footwear — under artistic creative direction of Solange. The release welcomes the return of the previous collection’s original designers Gerlan Marcel, Hisham Bharoocha and sister duo Darlene and Lizzy Okpo to re-interpret PUMA’s seasonal themes of “Wild Rebel” and “Natural Calm.” The first drop is entitled “Wild Wonder,” featuring three styles that will release on November 28th and the second “Behind the Bazaar” features two styles that will release on December 13th. The new collection is centered around two iconic styles for PUMA, the classic PUMA Suede and the XT2, a much loved favorite from the Trinomic Family. Each designer approached the sneaker’s silhouettes in their own way and brought in graphics, a mix of materials and colors or natural fabrics.
The “Wild Wonder” and “Behind the Bazaar” collections will be available at select retailers in the US and globally beginning December 1st and December 13th, including Madison Style and Exodus Goods in New Orleans.
Check out photos from the new drop and peep an exclusive interview about the collection with Solange below:
Tell us about the latest collection? What was the inspiration? How was the process overall?
The two drops that make up this collection couldn’t be more different from one another but the commonality between the two is texture. I really wanted to focus on maximizing different textures to their fullest potential. This process was a bit more intense than the Girls of Blaze because we took a lot of risk, and created a lot of tweaks to get it right. The thing that I love about these two drops is you see the evolution of my personal style from the first collection into the second one. I love them both so much for totally different reasons.
How was it working with the designers for a second time? I would imagine you have gotten into a rhythm working creatively with them.
Absolutely! The most awesome thing about working with the team of designers is that we were all friends before this journey began. This go round, there were times we tried things and got the samples back and it just wasn’t quite there yet, but having the designers trust to make quick decisions on my own was super helpful. There was a lot of deconstruction of ideas but ultimately the spirit of collaboration always comes through.
You have been working with PUMA for over a year now, how have things been going? What is the creative process with them like for you?
It’s truly been amazing! I’ve been able to express so many parts of my artistry that I don’t necessarily get to do as much in my realm. I absolutely love art direction, and being able to do that on so many levels during the scope of this collaboration has been super stimulating. The PUMA team couldn’t be a more supportive team. Sometimes I conjure up these slightly wild ideas, create a presentation and sweat a little when I hit send but every time they get it and agree to go on these awesome rides with me. One of my ideas was to make a huge turquoise felt box for the models to shoot in, was so stoked they said hell yes to that!
There was such an incredible response to the first collection, what did you take away from that experience the most?
I was incredibly humbled… overwhelmed with gratitude and super excited to have the support of such incredible people! When I got the call that the shoes sold out in an hour from my friends at OC, I was so so damn overjoyed. I honestly am most proud of how organic the entire process was from start to finish, from everything from working with friends to create the shoes, my husband shooting the campaign locally, premiering them at one of my best friends’ store. I think the fact that it never once felt like work made it all the more magical. It truly was a natural reflection of just a bunch of awesome, incredibly talented friends all working together to do something we all dug, so the fact that people dug it so much was the icing on the cake!
How did you choose the specific styles chosen for this collection, the Xt2 and the PUMA suede?
I honestly couldn’t wait to get my hand on the suede. The suede is the classic, the goat, the queen for me when it comes to PUMA. So that was a given! However I absolutely loved the xt2 as a silhouette and really wanted to get my hands on a great running shoe. I love a good running shoe that doesn’t make you have to sacrifice your style, especially for a night out with friends for real dancing!
What else are you working on right now? What’s next for you?
Finishing my album is the biggest project on my hands which I’m wrapping up soon. It’s been a lengthier journey than I expected but it’s so important to me to express exactly what I set out to…and that takes time. I’m also spending a great deal of time continuing to build Saint Heron which is super important to me…Oh yeah and renovating our new house which has been a whirlwind, but super exciting. Lots of phone calls to mom asking what the hell so much of this construction talk means.
You’ve been in New Orleans for about a year now, are you settled in? Do you find creative inspiration from the region?
Well we just moved into our house which has been so exciting so a little bit of a road ahead before we really settle in. However I’m so incredibly in love with that city and find a great deal of solitude and inspiration there. What’s been really awesome is connecting with so much of the talent there. That’s really important to me. I just finished an event for Saint Heron called Amen Amen The 17 Wards of Wonder which really was about celebrating the amazing diverse culture of New Orleans. We’ve also shot both of our PUMA campaigns there with local models and crew and I wouldn’t want it any other way! That city has my heart so I’m always stoked to bring as much of my work there as I can. Luckily people are always up for that trip!
Art Direction: Solange Knowles
Photography: Paul Jung
Styling: Lizzy Okpo
Hair: Nikki Nelms
Makeup: Regina Harris
Nails: Bianca Banks
Models: Candace Dobbs, Amy Steinkampf & Audrianna Strickland