Puma names Rihanna creative director
RIHANNA, the pop singer with multiple awards to her name, has been appointed women's creative director of Puma SE, as the German sporting-goods maker seeks to revive its struggling brand.
The singer, who this year received the Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, will oversee Puma's female collections as part of a multiyear partnership starting in January, according to a statement on Tuesday.
Rihanna will "work with Puma to design and customise classic Puma styles as well as create new styles to add to the Puma product portfolio," the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company said.
Puma is revamping its athletic shoes and stepping up marketing in a bid to refocus the company around performance gear.
Controlling shareholder Kering SA has explored a sale of the sportswear maker as efforts to revive the brand drag into a fifth year, Bloomberg News reported this week, citing people familiar with the matter.
Puma's move echoes one by BlackBerry, the Canadian smartphone maker, which in early 2013 named singer Alicia Keys as its global creative director, as the company sought to rekindle interest in its devices. She left that position after a year.
Puma, known for its leaping cat logo, this fall unveiled its Forever Faster ad campaign, featuring athletes such as sprinter Usain Bolt and soccer player Mario Balotelli, helping boost footwear sales for the first time in seven quarters.
The brand's ad budget and sponsorship deals, including with English Premier League soccer team Arsenal, are cutting into profit, which in 2014 may be less than half what it was a decade ago, according to analyst estimates.