Philipp Plein, the German fashion designer whose Spring show in Milan was entitled “Alice in Ghettoland,” moved his runway to New York this week in an effort to crack the American market. But after an outrageous blowout that featured outsized celebrity and a caricature of American hip-hop culture, Philipp Plein has found himself in a burgeoning dudefight!
Alexander Wang, the American fashion designer who also loves hip-hop culture, seems to be unhappy with Plein’s runway show—specifically, the way that Plein “borrowed” a lot of ideas that Wang has already done. Today, Wang posted a side-by-side video on Instagram that compared remarkably similar elements from his own 2014 H&M show, and Plein’s most recent jaunt, which was packed with celebrities in both the audience and on the runway, and also Tiffany Trump.
The similarities behind the concepts are indeed quite stark, most notably in the choreography—I don’t know if you know, but a dude speed-climbing a giant podium and then walking on his hands isn’t really a common sight in fashion. The racing track, too, is a dead giveaway, and seems that Plein in his enthusiasm for all things America went a little overboard!
The funniest thing about this particular dudefight is that both Wang and Plein are total culture vultures, though given a choice I’d take Wang any day; the former’s Fall 2017 runway show seemed to draw on the German techno club Berghain (particularly its perceived all-black-attire mandate), and was at any rate an attempted rave of the sorts New York was kind of over about two to four years ago. Plein, in his desperation to be associated with New York hip-hop culture, simply redesigned puffers and Pelle Pelle jackets and tried very hard to represent the U.S., but with the understanding of someone who has only experienced American culture on a 24-hour cable channel devoted to Las Vegas. (Both an Elvis impersonator and the freaking Naked Cowboy greeted attendees.) Plein seemed like a nice guy in his ANTM appearance this season, but copying is dumb, especially when it comes from a supposed creative. I look forward to seeing how this all unfolds!
Update: Here’s Plein’s latest Insta:
Plein’s communications director, Jennifer Leppla, has issued a statement to WWD, and wow, it’s kind of unnecessarily long! She said:
“I was involved in every step of the production of the Plein Sport FW [sic] 1718 show, working closely with the production team, our art director Simon Costin and Mr. Plein,” she said in a statement to WWD. “Actually, the photo posted by Alexander Wang is rather deceiving, because it does not show the main theme of the show, which was the two-story gym hidden behind the reflective walls, which was revealed at a certain point during the show.”
Additionally, Leppla went on to discuss the working relationship between Plein and Costin, defending their artistic process, and re-asserting that “Mr. Costin is a world-renowned, highly respected and extremely talented art director; that he would be involved in a project where another designer’s work is copied is just not a possibility.”
Clearly there is some defensiveness there! But I ask of you! Even if he didn’t copy Alexander Wang, doesn’t this collection bear a striking resemblance to the hip-hop clothing trends of the mid ‘00s? I am eagerly refreshing Rocawear’s Instagram page and will let you know if anything pans out. Meanwhile, the below is a literal copy of an extremely well known A.S.A.P. Rocky shirt. Okay...