Enter PUMA FUTROGRADE, June Ambrose’s old-meets-new toast to high-fashion sportswear.

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On Tuesday evening, Cipriani’s majestic Great Hall put its high society banquets on hold, turning into a grand venue. PUMAA grand return to New York Fashion Week. LED screens propped up either side of the iconic New York building’s Italianate neo-Renaissance interior projected the night’s MO — “Forever Faster” — above a stone-lined stage. In it he lays the groundwork for PUMA FUTROGRADE, a collection that salutes the sportswear label’s old and new, allowing the past to reinvent itself for the future under the creative authority of June Ambrose.

Bright lights ushered in the first round of looks at the entrance, which included six sets featuring a monochromatic beige tone and subtle all-over PUMA monogram. But after a taste of the set, two rare troupes – one dressed in all-black and the other in monochromatic red – emerge from either side of the stage and suddenly an avant-garde dance battle ensues under the dimmed lights. Amidst the choreographic chaos, it became clear that their runway discourse was a cue for the line’s black and red sportswear iterations.

The tracksuit jackets and pants celebrate PUMA’s heritage, printed with the timeless T7 formstrip and applied with an iconic jump clap. One model wore an oversized helmet-inspired hat, a nod to the brand’s athleticism, and more prominently featured leather jacket-and-pant ensembles, chunky coats, multiple hats, puffer vests and shapewear. The fashion spoke for itself, but when eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt appeared on the terrace, dressed in the brand’s black tuxedo with a dramatic train, PUMA’s high-class heritage in sports felt like an unprecedented reality.

“It’s great, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bolt, the all-time great, told Hypebeast of his appearance. “Puma has been a big part of my life since it’s been 20 years since we first partnered, and they’ve helped me reach all corners of the world.”

Later, the expressive streetwear codes of the inner city were transcended by the creative, graphically controlled images of the northern city’s interest in headwear. Knitted sweaters feature colorful playful characters, while multi-chromatic jackets remind viewers of the label’s youthful approach. Elsewhere, puffer jackets lock the spotlight in every colour, and leopard print makes a subtle entry on skirts, jackets and trousers.

Then there was a model of nine logo-hosting hats strikingly balanced in multiple tones, which seemed to indicate the sense of collaboration that had entered the scene over time. Among them, Palomo Spain transformed Puma’s sporty silhouettes with a genderless approach and 70s-inspired color story, while AC Milan celebrated the Panari subculture with premium woven labels, personality-infused patches and embroidered details.

Standout Harlem’s own Dapper Dan created a capsule curated with a pre-game style mindset, inspired by luxury and focused on knitwear. In particular, the collaboration has donned his sartorial signature: logo mania, or as he puts it, “applying symbols that signify luxury.” Between a crystal-encrusted tracksuit boasting the ‘DDP’ monogram and an abstract puffer jacket that morphed two silhouettes into one, the line expertly juxtaposes sportswear and high fashion. For Dan, that intersection of tastes is “the best thing that could happen to fashion.”

“It’s convenient, accessible and allows for the creation of true classics,” he told Hypebeast.

The following looks like PUMA’s penchant for experimentation, turning sweaters into skirts, layering metallic tech on sharp-shoulder jackets and using its signature logo as a centerpiece on all-white bodysuits. For the finale, a model strutted down the runway in a puffy and beige jacket with the brand’s logo on the back, cleverly revealing a glimpse of what fashion’s distant future might look like.

“I want this concept to challenge the audience to be creative in the present while anticipating what will happen next,” reflects Ambrose as the brand’s first NYFW visionary. As the final carousel completed its round, the ambition of the designer’s atmosphere gained total clarity, evoking an ethos that embodies the multifaceted and forward-thinking future of PUMA in the audience.

Check out PUMA FUTROGRADE in the gallery above.

In more Fashion Week news, Tommy Hilfiger confirms a cool vibe for Fall 2022.

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