The designer follows up 2021’s “High Court” with “Keeping Score,” a burgundy-and-navy celebration of sport and style animated by the unapologetic spirit of hip-hop.
Celebrity stylist and prolific creative director June Ambrose broke into the fashion industry with several collections in the late 1990’s, earning distinction as one of the first designers to style several of that generation’s rising star artists, notably collaborating with artists like Missy Elliott and Jay-Z in music videos. In 2020, Ambrose joined Puma as creative director for the women’s basketball category, later launching the “High Court” line — the first Puma women’s basketball clothing collection — in 2021.
On Thursday, WWD exclusively revealed Puma’s debut co-branded collection alongside Ambrose, who serves as its creative director: “Keeping Score.” The offering includes 20 women’s sets — burgundy and navy color palette adorns sports apparel like hoodies, mesh jersey sports bras, maxi-to-midi skirts, and color-blocked leggings.
Additionally, Keeping Score will offer Ambrose’s classic Puma Ralph Sampson sneaker and Prevail sneaker.
“This is an exciting time in my life for many reasons,” Ambrose told WWD. “It’s my 29th year as a costume designer, stylist, and creative director, and it’s 50 years of hip-hop. So 2023, it’s the year I’ve been keeping score. It’s the culmination of my contribution to culture. I think it’s all in a bubble right now with this collection. It’s called ‘Keeping Score,’ so it’s more than just about fashion. I really wanted to infuse performance and style. Life is a sport, so we continue that narrative with this collection.”
Ambrose was named creative director for the women’s side in 2020, while Jay-Z had already been the creative director for the revived Puma basketball line since 2018. He introduced Ambrose to CEO Bjørn Gulden and Director of Brand and marketing Adam Petrick.
And here we are.
“[Ambrose’s] entire career has been about bridging the gap between streetwear and fashion and really elevating our stories, elevating the look of our athletes and our ambassadors,” Petrick said via WWD. “When it came to figuring out what we were going to do with regards to meaningfully providing an equal approach to our women’s basketball program, I think it was natural that June, from a storytelling and brand elevation standpoint, would have a huge impact on that. And it’s absolutely been the case.”
Not long after Hov’s introduction, “High Court” launched and was met with major success, with the collection — a faux fur jacket and reversible beanie — selling out on its launch day.
That only created more momentum for “Keeping Score.”
“There’s something about hip-hop culture that’s unapologetic,” Ambrose said. “When you think about some of the images from the early ‘80s and ‘90s that are still timeless and classic and you’ve seen them reinvented and repeated, it’s really telling you that hip-hop is a timeless genre of music. I wanted to create something that felt like it was a timeless genre of sportswear.”
Petrick told WWD that Puma will appear during New York Fashion Week to celebrate the brand’s 75th anniversary. Further, after this current drop of “Keeping Score,” the celebrity stylist will drop a second version of the collection in March — emphasizing bold designs, while “sticking true to her design aesthetic.”
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