The idea of drafting in design talent to create a top-tier collection is nothing new in the world of sportswear, with Jun Takahashi’s Gyakusou collection for Nike and Yohji Yamamoto’s long running Y3 line for adidas both being notable successes.
Another less well known but equally intriguing design partnership is the team of Puma and the Japanese fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro. Yasuhiro produced his first collection for the brand in 2000 and has since contributed periodically to Puma’s fashion-led Puma Black collection, along with Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen.
A graduate of Tokyo’s Tama Art University, Yasuhiro produced his first sneakers during his studies, before founding his own brand in 1997. After graduating he opened a store in the Aoyama area of Tokyo. Named SOSU, or “prime number”, the shop gave Yasuhiro the confidence and grounding to launch his own luxury menswear label in 2004, following in the footsteps of his countrymen Nigo and Takahashi.
Another parallel with the Undercover designer is that Yasuhiro also has a deep love of punk – a movement that is revered in certain sectors of Tokyo – as was obvious when The Selby visited his Tokyo apartment.
During that visit, another intriguing discovery (apart from the fact that he has a skate ramp in his living room) was the designer’s fascination with another typically-Japanese obsession: the giant monsters known as kaiju. His collection of kaiju toys is impressive, as is demonstrated by this video.
Away from the fantasy realm of Godzilla and Mothra, Yasuhiro’s latest Puma collaboration looks to the more sedate world of sailing. Taking visual cues from the America’s Cup and the rich tradition of Native American art, Yasuhiro has opted for a subtle and traditional herringbone pattern, cut into the rubberised upper.
A restrained and refined creation from a designer known for his lavish embellishments, these interesting sneakers are a worthy new addition to the Puma Black collection.