BOSTON — It took five whacks of a Taittingers bottle, and help from a crew member, but Salma Hayek eventually christened Puma's "Il Mostro" yacht here, part of the sport lifestyle company's high-profile gambit to enter sailing.
Puma will enter the boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, a 37,000 nautical mile, globe-spanning contest that takes 10 months. The race — and the better-known America's Cup, a darling of luxury marketers — are sailing's major events.
Puma hopes the voyage of the 70-foot yacht will help it sell boatloads of performance sailing gear and nautical-inspired lifestyle apparel. The company plans to build combination store-nightclubs in five major ports during the race, as well as launch distribution of a nautical-inspired sport lifestyle collection in department stores.
The German sportswear company, which inked the sailing sponsorship before being purchased by luxury conglomerate PPR last year, is under pressure to trim marketing costs and improve its U.S. sales performance. Sales in the U.S. fell 14.2 percent in the first quarter as net earnings slid 7 percent.
During a waterfront cocktail party Monday at the Institute of Contemporary Art on the South Boston waterfront, Puma chairman and chief executive officer Jochen Zeitz jokingly avoided questions about the boat's costs (double-digit millions, he eventually said.)
"We will be visible and present around the world for 10 months," Zeitz said. "The Volvo Ocean Race is much more rock 'n' roll, and hence much more Puma, than the America's Cup."
With simulated black webbing, stitched red stripe and tread bubbles on its helm, the boat is a mammoth advertisement for "Il Mostro," Puma's well-known Velcro shoe.
The race kicks off in October in Alicante, Spain, and will stop over in Boston, the only North American port and the site of Puma's U.S. headquarters, in 2009.
For Hayek, christening the boat was a family affair. She has a daughter with and is engaged to Henri-François Pinault, ceo of PPR, which owns 64 percent of Puma.
Wearing an Alexander McQueen Prince of Wales plaid coat and skirt, she described the ceremony to unveil and bless the three-story tall yacht as "magical."
The company named Hussein Chalayan as creative director in February. Zeitz said Chalayan will set direction for 2009 product next week when he has his first meeting with the Puma design team.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“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