You could just about see the gold-leafed tower of Fondazione Prada through the tangle of wrecked cars—including two Rolls-Royces—that littered the Porta Romana rail yard that was Philipp Plein‘s show space this season. “Maybe one day there will be a Fondazione Plein,” he said backstage: “If I have so much money from my shareholders that I don’t know where to put it.”
Iconoclast or crass? That depends where you’re coming from. For sure, though, Plein has shouldered his way inside the gates of Milan fashion week through force of ambition and serial entrepreneurialism. His shoe business alone has gone from nothing to 60 million euros per annum in four years. But this season’s big-budget (2 million euros) production was the idea, he said, of his girlfriend.
It was Mad Max meets The Fast and the Furious. First a team of silver mohawked motorcyclists raced around the rail-yard wrecks, followed by two gold-sprayed BMWs that burnt rubber and skidded on two wheels down one side of the catwalk before one of them was set on fire and pursued by a New York police car. Got that? Then Tyga got out of one and started rapping as Plein’s “hip-rock” collection was finally revealed. This was an in-your-face amalgam of hyper-stylized punk gear and hyper-stylized sportswear. So there were studded hoodies under studded bikers lined with Plein-customized band-patch logos. A black biker was worn over a shredded scoop-neck tee and black track pants painted white with hashtags, “RICH A$$” and the fundamental unmentionable. A stud-lapelled jacket was worn over a T-shirt painted with a Spinal Tap-worthy album cover image of an epically bosomed, big-haired woman with massive shoulder pads and a facemask. The sneakers were strapped and studded high-tops in silver, black, and white. Biker pants and shorts rubbed along with varsity jackets and skinny eveningwear, all heartily Plein-ed.
Backstage, the author of this potently chaotic show said: “Hip-hop artists have started to dress like rock stars. They have the tattoos, the leather jackets. Back in the day there was Ice-T’s Body Count—now I think that is the mood of today.” At the finale a monster truck crunched its way down the cars on the catwalk, and Plein took his bow standing on the back of one of the motorcycles. Outside on the street, hundreds of kids were waiting to come in and party. You don’t see anything like this anywhere else.