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Winnie Harlow and Usain Bolt Headline Puma’s Powerful Return to NYFW

Puma returned to New York Fashion Week for the first time in five years on Tuesday night — with top models, including Winnie Harlow, walking the runway with champion athletes, including Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, at the June Ambrose-curated phygital extravaganza.

The event, dubbed “Futrograde,” was vastly different than Puma’s last NYFW outing, which centered around Rihanna, then Puma’s star collaborator. This time around, the brand — which is racking up major sales and earnings wins as it approaches its 75-year milestone next year, wanted to showcase a much broader range of talent as it looks to capture a bigger piece of the fashion market. Puma used the show to send striking messages about the power of diversity (with its smart casting and cool crowd), sustainability, genderless fashion and the metaverse.

The experiential show, held downtown at Cipriani, featured a traditional runway format and experiential elements, with theatrical dancers showcasing the new 3-D Nitro NFRNO and Nitro Fastroid sneakers. The kicks are the star of Puma’s first-ever foray into the metaverse with “Black Station,” which features NFTS with the limited-edition physical sneakers. 

Usain Bolt, Puma, NYFW
Usain Bolt on the runway at Puma’s NYFW show
CREDIT: Dan Lecca/Courtesy of Puma

While the brand is firmly focused on the future, it’s also celebrating its past. Heritage designs elements – from the T7 track-inspired formstrip to the iconic leaping logo – converged with futuristic styles. Puma spotlighted collaborations from a diverse range of partners: Harlem style icon Dapper Dan, Palomo, the genderless label from Spain, popular football club AC Milan and fast-rising Parisian brand Koché all got their time in the spotlight — and all showed different sides of the brand.

While there was a lot to see IRL, the digital elements were memorable too. Top athletes Neymar and Skylar Diggins Smith were 3D scanned prior to the show and appeared digitally on LED screens flanking the runway.

Puma, New York Fashion Week, fall '22
Puma made its fashion ambitions clear at NYFW.
CREDIT: Dan Lecca

Ambrose’s four-decade run in fashion gave her a unique perspective as the show’s curator.

“My life and work has been rooted in street-culture and developing the relationship between urban sensibilities and industries. When I entered the business four decades ago, my mission was to influence generations of people who dream about being seen,” she said. “I want to connect the emotional narrative of our lives, to the show, through the cyclical nature of fashion.”

Puma, New York Fashion Week, fall 22
Puma at NYFW fall ’22
CREDIT: Dan Lecca/Courtesy of Puma
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