Highsnobiety

After speaking passionately for the last six minutes about his fondness for football (or, as he calls it, soccer), his time playing it, and how it inspired his latest PUMA collaboration, Colm Dillane, founder of the LVMH-prize-winning brand KidSuper, pauses for a moment as he appears to have run out of words to describe his love of the game: “I can't stress enough that I'm a huge football player and fan,” he eventually says.

It’s an admission that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Dillane, who spent a year playing football professionally in Brazil, has long been embedding his love of the beautiful game into KidSuper. He’s founded a community football team in New York, titled KidSuper Samba AC, got the footballing legend Ronaldinho to make his runway debut in Paris, collaborated with Barnsley FC, and Palmeiras players modeled one of his previous PUMA collections.

Now, the designer is about to embark on a new collaboration with the German sportswear giant, and there are no points for guessing which sport he was inspired by.

"One of the main things I love about PUMA is the connection to football and the icons it's had in the past like Pelé, Maradona, Cruyff, and Eusébio,” says Dillane. “When designing these collections, I always get inspired by that. And then I try to push the limits of what's possible.”

The latest release from the pair, arriving April 13 on the Highsnobiety Shop, delivers a range of matching sportswear sets, knitwear, and graphic tops decorated with artwork designed by KidSuper, garment dyes, and iconography inspired by the PUMA King—a classic football boot that Dillane says he grew up playing in. 

“When I made the clothes, we were trying them on and we're like, ‘wow, this kind of looks like the wardrobe of a Mafia member,’” says Dillane. “That ended up being the inspiration for the photoshoot.”

Taking cues from classic mobster films of the ‘90s, and their exceptional wardrobes, a mixed cast of characters from a wide range of age groups come together for the collection’s campaign and, in keeping with the classic mobster look, are mostly styled in a tight white tank top. Meanwhile, each person is wearing the latest selection of exclusive KidSuper x PUMA sneakers on foot.

“How do I make these have PUMA’s DNA, but also feel like a unique Design?” was the question that Dillane posed himself when designing the new sneakers. The answer is a mesh-heavy take on the terrace favorite Palermo Nu and a Velophasis Nu model with distressed detailing. 

“I think with a lot of shoe collaborations you see now, they're not changing anything with the silhouette, they're just switching colors,” says Dillane, who ensured that wasn’t the case with his co-branded shoes. “What's pretty amazing about working with PUMA, is they allow you the creative freedom to make something completely original.”

Dillane is not afraid to take risks, as shown by him basing the entirety of his last KidSuper show on a self-unraveling sweater despite every sample failing to unravel, and PUMA’s willingness to go along with his unconventional ideas is what’s made this collaboration successful over a long time. “They try new things and take risks. I only want to work with brands that are willing to do that.”

Once again, with this newest football-inspired capsule collection modeled by parody mobsters, PUMA has let the designer’s creativity run wild. 

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