Philipp Plein is not the high-end fashion world’s darling. Nor that he cares to be for that matter. He is driven, ambitious, provocative. His aesthetic may be too effervescent by most counts yet no one can deny that he is an astute businessman and a marketing genius. His mission is to take over New York City and the USA market and I bet he is doing it already. Because he is relentless in his pursuit, aggressive in his business approach, and fearless. His German good looks do not hurt either. And everyone loves a good success story.

Philipp Plein

His show on September 9th was perhaps what most guests expected I guess: many extravagant cars lined outside Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom creating chaos, thousands of people waiting or hoping to get in, agitated guests and security people managing to give vague directions.

For Good Gone Bad show Mr. Plein spared no expense. He said he wanted to make history that night. And everyone has the right to write their story and define their take on history as they please. It’s a new world. The show started with a burlesque performance by Dita Von Teese and her acclaimed Martini Glass number. Surprisingly short after, Philipp Plein took over the stage and people got a kick out of it.

He was clad in his signature black jeans and t-shirt and a pair of white sneakers from his new line Plein Sport. His speech was exactly what someone who understands marketing with ‘a human face’ would expect. It also revealed a nice guy who was thankful for the support yet nervous about the show. He talked briefly about his humble beginnings with his first fashion show in Milan when he worried that no one would show up, and about the excitement of building his version of the American Dream. He apologized for the delay. He surely knows how to communicate. Behind what most people would quote as a ‘show off’ and ‘always on’-attitude on social media, it was quite obvious to me that there is a man with a good heart and genuine desire to bring joy to people. Someone who works intensely to build his dreams yet is still occasionally plagued by small doubts like most of us. I must admit I really like this businessman  and his drive is inspiring.

Future’s performance was engaging and he has great stage presence. His metallic coat and Swarovski studded tracking suit designed by PP were on point. The fashion show started with the likes of Adriana Lima, Irina Shayk and a crew of young artists like 21 Savage, Swae Lee, Broadus Cordell and his grandfather Papa Snoop and Teyana Taylor taking over the stage. It was a mix of eclectic elements: crystal encrusted leather jackets and jeans, studded and cartoon embellished t-shirts and silk and lace long, romantic boudoir inspired gowns, accessorized with leather bondage straps reminiscent of 19th Century crinolines. A recurrent element was the black garter in perfect synch with other elements like the pole dancers and the disco balls.

The show was enticing and fun, theatrical. It was freedom of expression. A hip hop vibe with an S&M touch and a ‘romantic princess’-love affair feel. Nicki Minaj’s performance was witty, sharp and daring as one would expect. She is a great entertainer.

What I loved about the show was the cross-branding aspect of it: Plein understands that the world is moving into a direction where consumer experience is everything. He understands that fashion alone is no longer enough. The market is highly competitive, the consumer is more demanding than ever, and there are too many options. That night he brought together under one roof famous hip hop artists, a world renowned burlesque designer, top models, and hospitality.

His competitive advantage is that he did something unheard of until now during New York Fashion Week: he made fashion accessible to the masses. While most shows are exclusive and last about 30 minutes, he wanted his show to be like a big party. He wanted everyone to be able to attend. He wanted brand awareness and he leveraged that to the maximum on Saturday night.

For someone who worked in high-end fashion for over twelve years, I must admit I have certain standards. I am also unafraid to admit that I truly love Plein’s clothes and his new line Plein Sport is enticing. The jackets fit like a glove and those fabulous shoes!!! They add a touch of fairytale to the daily routine. His collections never really tell a particular story, therefore you have the freedom to create your own, and mix and match as you please. Clothes, they have a life on their own and with his collection you can have as much fun as you want. And I like that. It’s consumerism yet very unique. Fashion is made in the streets in Plein’s own words. It’s his take on fashion. And his desire to create his story in an original way. He is different, unapologetically so.  As George Bernard Shaw famously said: “The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

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Stay Unreasonable Mr. Plein, It Suits You And I Am Sure We Haven’t Seen Anything Yet…Bis Bald!
 Photo Courtesy by Jen Holder