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Hussein Chalayan Appointed Creative Director of Puma

Chalayan.jpgSpeaking of MoMA‘s “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition, one of the featured designers just sealed a rather mind-blowing deal. In a move that may or may not foreshadow the mainstream acceptance of footwear that robotically adjusts to ambient conditions (Go-go, Gadget sneakers!), Hussein Chalayan has been named creative director of Puma, which is owned by French retail conglomerate (and Gucci parent) Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR). Puma has also acquired a majority stake in Chalayan’s London-based fashion business (the photo at right is from his spring 2008 collection–this season, it’s all about lasers).

The designer calls the two-pronged deal “a revolutionary model for a partnership,” adding that it will enable him to “turn experimental ideas into reality both for the PUMA and the Chalayan lines.” Another benefit? Real products! That people can buy, even! “Hopefully, people will have the means to access real products evolving from our processes rather than only seeing them in shows and events,” he says.

Chalayan’s creative influence at Puma won’t be reflected until collections for fall 2009, but the creative juices are already flowing over at PPR HQ. In describing Puma, the company calls upon a doozy of a neologism: Sportlifestyle. Why not use it in your next e-mail or conversation? “Chuck, you have excellent taste in Sportlifestyle apparel,” or “Say, Doris, what are your favorite Sportlifestyle shops here in Des Moines?” And for the full effect, after making these inquiries, fire a few laserbeams from your turtleneck.

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