Setting Sail with Puma

1210780628Though I’m known to work up a mean sweat on the elliptical machine, my output pales in comparison to the struggles Puma’s 11-man Ocean Racing team will face in October, when they depart Spain for Volvo’s 10-month, 37,000-mile Ocean Race around the world.

On Monday night at the ICA, Puma threw quite the bash, including a special appearance by Salma Hayek, to unveil its new racing boat, as well as its new lifestyle and sailing clothing collections.

Upon arrival, I was faced with a crazed Hayek fan trying to enter as Bostonista’s +1. He was there, as we all were, to see his Academy Award-nominated crush crack a bottle of bubbly over the hull of il mostro (“the monster” in Italian), the gear brand’s sleek, spanking sailboat.

After ditching the Frida fanatic, it was time to survey the goods and, of course, my fellow guests.

1210780637Both of Puma’s collections offered a nice balance of fashion and function. I’m no sailor, but even the performance gear line (available at select Puma retailers in July) got my fashion imagination going wild. Mixed with a pair of relaxed Chip & Peppers, the red GORE-TEX Off Shore Race jacket, with its fluorescent yellow hood and signature leaping cat logos, could help me achieve an updated version of the baggy-yet-put-together Missy Elliot look I strove for in my pre-Boston mag days. Other highlights included the Kite L shoes, equipped with integrated draining systems for quick drying; and the thick-strapped, easy-to-organize women’s Shopper handbag.

My fellow guests, who sipped on complementary glasses of Duval Lerov champagne as they inspected the line, included Puma dignitaries, big-business types, and, oh, about 120 members of the international press. After almost an hour’s worth of ogling, we were ushered into the ICA’s 325-seat theater for a presentation and a panel discussion with a few Puma bigwigs: CEO Jochen Zeitz, Chief Marketing Officer and Winchester-resident Antonio Bertone, plus il mostro’s BU-educated skipper Ken Read and his ten crew members.

Once the presentation concluded and the festivities—and Duvel swigging—resumed in a tent on the ICA’s outdoor patio overlooking Boston Harbor, guests rubbed elbows while noshing on Wolfgang Puck-provided hors d’oeuvres. But, at 9:30, my schmoozing with a Dubai-based fashion editor and an editor from GQ Australia was put on hold for the main event—the induction il mostro.

In a knee-length beige trench, Hayek emerged looking ever bit as sleek and weather-ready as the boat, and—on her fourth swing of the bottle—the boat was officially “christened.”

— Jeremy Savlen

Lifestyle Collection: The Puma Store, 333 Newbury St., Boston, 617-369-7091, and 1245 Worcester St., Natick, 508-653-0501,

Sailing Collection: Newport Shipyard, 1 Washington St., Newport, RI, 401-846-6000,; Team One Newport, 561 Thames St., Newport, RI, 401-848-0884,; West Marine, 199 Connell Hwy., Newport, RI, 401-841-9880,