It was clearly a huge night for Rihanna as she debuted her Fenty X Puma collection at New York Fashion Week — and it was an equally big moment for the brand.
FN caught up with CEO Björn Gulden on the red carpet to talk about how the line came to fruition and why Puma is targeting the female market like never before.
We’re minutes away from the show. How does it feel?
“We’re very excited. In an hour, we’ll see how the reaction is. It’s a great team and it’s been a great journey. It’s new for us. She’s extremely creative and has very directional ideas. She works with our designers and we work with her designers, and it’s been a new experience and fun experience, but also hard work.”
Why is Rihanna such a good fit for Puma?
“Puma has a strong history with females, but it was very difficult to find an athlete who was global. When we did the research, Rihanna was the person who came up everywhere. When we got to know her, we [learned] that she’s so strong creatively, and she’s the perfect person to help us reach the female consumer. You know, when have you seen females line up to buy a sneaker? With the Creeper, that happened. She’s made it very clear to us that we need to focus very hard on the female market.”
Did the line turn out as your expected?
“When it started, she had a clear opinion on where she wanted to go — from materials to cut. The biggest challenge was making it all happen. We had to develop some things in Europe, research the materials. Some of it was made in Asia. So the amount of development work has been new for us. You know we’re part of Kering, and they’ve helped us a lot. The line is very different and we haven’t shown it to anyone. No retailers have seen it. They’ll see it tonight and tomorrow we’ll get the reaction.”