Cole Haan has tapped Maria Sharapova as the face of its new collection, Cole Haan Sporting, a series of accessories geared toward the sport lifestyle, to debut for spring.
The tennis star will also collaborate on the line’s second season for fall 2009.
Cole Haan Sporting features Nike technology in every wedge, flat and sandal aimed at providing comfort and support. The accessories — ranging from tennis bags to duffles to clutches — are created from recycled plastic bottles and trimmed in vegetable chrome-free leather.
For Sharapova, who is also under contract with brands suchas Nike, Prince and Tag Heuer, the partnership gives her an opportunity to test her talents off the court.
“I’ve worked with Nike in the past on codesigning outfits and I enjoy the process of how it’s all made and how it comes together,” Sharapova said of the activewear giant, which owns Cole Haan. “I just hope that I can bring my experience to this traditional brand and add some excitement and edge and youth from the design aspect.”
A triple Grand Slam winner, Sharapova has been in the limelight as much for her fashion sense as for her tennis game. After an injury left her sitting out the Olympic Games and the U.S. Open, Sharapova is looking toward her post-tennis life.
“You have to be smart about these things because anything can happen,” Sharapova said. “I have to look ahead and think about where I want to be in 10 years and this is a wonderful step. I have a passion for fashion and if I weren’t playing tennis, I’d probably be in school for it or for interior design.”
Cole Haan Sporting will be sold at the company’s boutiques worldwide and select department stores. Prices range from $115 to $200 for footwear and $225 to $550 for accessories.
“It’s a unique collection for us that brings the best of Cole Haan craftsmanship with Maria,” said Jim Seuss, chief executive officer at Cole Haan. “We haven’t done a full collaboration in the 80 years since we began, so it’s very special.”
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia