Creative Director. Rockstar.
In 2018, the two titles – earned or self-appointed – carry more clout than three-letter acronyms like CEO or NBA with six-figure followings mean more to most than six-figure salaries.
50 years ago when KISS frontman Paul Stanley decided he wanted to be both, it was less about fame and fortune and more about imagining his own world.
“I started doing this because I wanted to live without rules,” reflects Stanley, the man behind not only the mic but also KISS’s image, costumes, stage design, album art and merch for nearly half a century. “My only rule was there no rules and to not be shackled by others’ limitations.”
Undefined by the expectations of others nor titles other lust to tote, the New York native is doing pretty, pretty good. The same hand that penned “I Want To Rock and Roll All Night And Party Everyday” and sketched the famous KISS logo decades ago now spends time painting in his family’s Beverly Hills home when he’s not rocking crowds of 80,000 in countries that register as #TravelGoals.
So, Paul’s designed massive stages, the look for the most famous band in the world and the art for numerous platinum projects — why not sneakers? Well, that’s exactly what he’s doing now and exactly why we spoke with him. Teaming up with PUMA for the Suede 50 celebration, we chatted with the man who set out 50 years ago to do what every kid dreams of doing now and is still doing it to this day.
Nice Kicks: Growing up in New York, what would you say was your relationship with sneakers?
Paul Stanley: In New York, everybody had sneakers and certainly they were of a different generation than what it’s evolved to. We had Keds, PF Flyers, and Converse. Over time it was interesting to see how sneakers evolved into a multi-purpose shoe and wearing it outside of sports. It’s amazing how sneakers have turned into a fashion accessory and how they have elevated above just function.