Puma and P.A.M. call for a natural and nocturnal rewilding
Models bound in climbing ropes, faces etched with euphoria, photographer Thomas Alexander and stylist Andra Amelia Buhai have punked all the virtuous associations of an outdoors lifestyle – swapping out cold brew, camper van renovations, and wanderlust tattoos for the bacchanalia of 80s nightlife “I was going through this book full of images from the prime time of Studio 54 and felt so inspired by the emotions on show,” says Buhai, who made her styling debut in the winter 2022 edition of Dazed. “Photos of Björk, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, and David Bowie. I wanted the shoot to channel their goofy mannerisms and movements, like a group of friends having fun.”
Since the whole thing hinged on the ecstasy and anguish that so often arises on the dancefloor, Buhai scouted models – with the help of newgen agency Good Catch – based on the elasticity of their facial expressions. But those aren’t necessarily the kind of feelings that can be summoned on demand and so Buhai challenged models to go method, keying into their emotional memory bank. “I wanted a huge laugh-smile from Junior, for example, who’s really into football, and so I’d shout ‘Junior, imagine Arsenal just won the biggest game of the year!’ And sure enough he had the biggest smile on his face. ‘I can’t believe I just fell for that,’ he said, laughing.”
The entire editorial showcases Puma’s latest collaboration with Melbourne label PAM, which straddles streetwear and hiking gear in puffed-up down jackets, slip-on booties, and fleece sweaters in abstracted camo and retina-popping prints inspired by the Yareta plant native to South America. Crafted from at least 20 per cent recycled materials, psychedelic florals are emblazoned across classic sneaker shapes, while bucket hats, trail backpacks, and bottle bags are flecked with purple, lavender, green, and copper. The collection also coincides with a larger project: the PAM/PUMA BIO/VERSE, which supports biodiversity in the Western Brazilian Amazon.
Driven by machine learning, site-specific audio sensors in the Jurua River region transmit environmental changes to local communities and scientists to assist with research and bolster conservation efforts. So, if the collection itself is an attempt at reconnecting with nature, then Buhai’s shoot is a nocturnal rewilding – with smears of iridescent eyeshadow, overdyed hair, and models captured mid-dance. “Honestly it doesn’t matter how many times I look at the images, my face lights up each time,” she says. “It felt surreal up to and including the moment of it arriving at the office and seeing it in print IRL.”
Click through the gallery above to see the rest of the shoot.