Six years ago I met Philipp Plein at the Bulgari Hotel—it was quiet for his tastes, but beggars can’t be choosers—and he gave great interview as he drank Red Bull after Red Bull and we sat for nigh-on three hours (doing that transcript afterwards was a nightmare).
Perhaps my favorite line from it was this: “I cannot sell a plain cashmere jumper. People will go to Loro Piana to spend a thousand dollars at a place that is famous for cashmere. So what can I do? I take this cashmere pullover. I write on it, “FUCK YOU ALL” in Swarovski. And I sell it for $3,000! You cannot find this at Loro Piana!”
As we chatted, PP also told me he’d started out making luxury dog beds, and that the first time he came to Milan to try and throw a show he stayed in a sex hotel to save cash on the day rate, and that he’d just bought a “small mountain” in Bel-Air.
Did I fact-check all of these gems? Reader, that might have got in the way of a cracking story—so I garnished them with some writerly pinches of salt and pressed send.
The thing since learned about Plein is that as unbelievable as he sounds, what he says more often than not is what proves to be.
Take that “small mountain” that I totally suspected was a taurine-fueled fantasy when mentioned: In a few months it will be the site of the freshly-completed Chateau Falconview, Plein’s bananas architectural fantasy folly—the biggest entry gates in California!—and the subject of this mind-melting Instagram account.
Down our Microsoft Teams meet for this collection, Plein’s latest update was therefore worth a serious listen. He’s made a big celebrity signing for next season, he said: (name still under wraps).
Then, as well as new agreements for watches, sunglasses, and wallpaper, he’s also just signed a license deal for his first love, furniture, with, he said, “these guys I saw who had copied my bench, so I went to them and said, ‘hey assholes you copied my bench,’ so they apologized and they are actually really nice guys, and blah blah blah.”
He’s got a new 1,400 square meter showroom opening in Milan, two new stores in Poland (one, he emphasized with passing relish, on a recently shuttered Burberry site), plus more shops in Miami, Marbella, San Francisco, Saint Petersburg, and Las Vegas, as well as multiple units in China.
Furthermore, he added, the brand will hit $100 million in online sales this year and has just snaffled a seasoned Amazon executive to push further growth.
The film for this collection was once again created by the digital artist Antoni Tudisco and this season features a musical collaboration with Travis Barker of Blink-182, who from what PP said performs a new song called “Hollywood Sucks.”
Unfortunately it was not ready to see in time for the preview, but the lookbook revealed a collection that followed Plein’s LA state of mind to lean heavily into pineapple prints; tattoo embroideries; silk foulard shirts that would work just as well in Miami; and LA and NY graphics on college jackets (get ready, America); plus a heavy smattering of oblique-y ‘Plein’ printed denim that reflected, Philipp observed, his compulsion to “jump on the trends.”
He added: “What more can I tell you? Nice colors, great clothes, comfortable clothes. Clothes you want to wear. A very commercial collection, and something I feel very good about.” Believe it.