You’d have to close your eyes and shut them tight to not take notice of the off-Richter moves Philipp Plein is making. Take heed.
A lot has happened in the past years with respect to Philipp Plein. The German designer who started his empire by selling his collection of high-end dog beds (think crocodile dream pods for your beloved pooch) before diving in to fashion, head first, became a household name. Particularly in the homes of the über affluent. And whilst it’s not been long, the splash has soaked the fashion set; and today, everyone who’s anyone is quite literally dripping in Plein.
A nostalgic glance at his resume will reveal that Plein was in fact on the law practicing route before deciding that it was all but a total bore and choosing to about-face completely. Instead, he became a furniture designer, citing desired happiness and the opportunity to become rich AF as his driving reasons.
In what many would liken to a snowball effect thanks to his unique style, of course, it was one of those “success is when opportunity and preparation meet,” kind of moments. He created designs in the furniture space, both for pets and for people, and they were lofty in their luxury. Steel, croc, studs and Swarovski ran rampant. At first his popular calling card was a crocodile skin table. Said table required much crocodile to be ordered and remnant skin became bags and such that suddenly consumers wanted to buy. Crystal-laden cushions made way for the idea to create crystal-laden military jackets; and well, thus was born the jacket that would change it all. Plein has been vocal since the onset that his pricing of the jacket was intentionally higher than most of his celeb followers on an average Friday night. He’s even been quoted as saying he didn’t think people would buy it.
He was wrong.
They made their first mill in just months.
Today his stores span the world. The first of which hails from Monaco. His fashion shows, which he just stopped showing in Milan and will now present stateside in New York—the home of his enviable townhouse replete with chandeliers amongst other luxuries—have become the ticket to get and it ain’t easy. From major celebrity performances including the likes of Snoop Dogg, Rita Ora and even the one and only, Grace Jones to actual rollercoasters within the space of the presentation, Plein’s productions are unmatched. Those who reside at social court, the royals of that world, punctuate his front row. From rappers and their dime-piece girlfriends like Tyga and Kylie Jenner to socials who proudly don the last name for which they’re extra-elevated like Paris Hilton and Tiffany Trump, the gang’s all there. Where at one time, showing off-site, at some underground, dilapidated historical building that may or may not have been a church made brands the cat’s meow, today those who vie for a place in Plein’s sun need something likening a water slide to eclipse him.
And not everyone likes to celebrate the grandiose; especially not when coming from someone whom some might consider still has chops to cut in terms of time in the industry. In fact, when Plein started out he was plainly cut out by the fashion powers that be in Milan. The Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana, which pretty much controls fashion week, refused to let him on schedule. When he finally got a slot, it sucked. He took things in to his own hands.
Today, he’s showing in New York City as part of the brand’s United States expansion. An expansion that also involved the addition of Graziano de Boni, previously of Prada USA and Giorgio Armani USA, as the brand’s CEO for the Americas. Plein is clear about having steered away from the states on purpose. His keen understanding of consumers and markets surely a symptom of being a huge consumer himself. He believed the Americas to be saturated and its clientele, well, “spoiled.” Similarly, Plein was investor and debt free and uninterested in taking on the baggage until the timing was right. Finally, with some 120 stores under his belt, he tightened it and moved forward with the location change. The New York Public Library was finalized as the backdrop and some other help was solicited, namely that of visionary Carine Roitfeld. For those who may have been living under a rock, Roitfeld is currently the creator of CR Fashion Book—she was also the editor in chief of French Vogue and a collaborator and stylist for Tom Ford. Other interesting moving parts were celebrity models which included everyone from rappers Fetty Wap and Desiigner to Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy fame and that dude who went viral after his mug shot alerted the world to his hotness, Jeremy Meeks.
The show, which presented some 79 looks to the likes of Madonna, started with a speech by Plein that alerted the attendees to his innate desire for dream chasing; almost warning them that he won’t stop until he’s attained. It’s not like that was hard to tell. And with a business worth some $300 million he’s able to fund a few more chases, we gather.
Next on the list of his stateside openings which already include Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, will be Los Vegas and Hawaii; key markets in what Plein describes as one of the biggest economies in the world and one he exclaims “cannot be ignored.”
This season’s show-opening performance of “If I ruled the World” by Nas begged the question of whether Plein was yet chasing another dream or ironically toasting to his new levels. It surely feels like there’s some ruling happening with his blazing success raging to levels inextinguishable. If a picture might be drawn to illustrate just how much the Plein brand has penetrated it would probably portray a swanky and very rich twenty-something sipping Champlein (Plein’s signature champagne and RedBull cocktail) inside AirForcePlein (the member’s club located in his huge Milan-based Mega Mansion boutique that was designed to look like the inside of a private jet, obviously.)
The buck doesn’t even stop there.
Plein’s forward thinking approach to business continues to keep us all on our toes. His uncanny ability to consistently see opportunity at every turn whilst still knowing what falls within the ranks of his brand is surely responsible for all he’s attained more than in-part. For the latest installment of what’s next for Phillip Plein we present Plein Sport. Inspired by a missing vertical in sportswear which one might liken to the private flight to Nike’s commercial aviation, Plein set out to create luxury sportswear and active wear for the luxurious, active guy. It’s really no secret that the Athleisure trend has been going strong for a minute now and that elevated active wear has shown no sign of slowing down. Now take that concept, Plein it and what you’ll find is a street-wear inspired collection of highly-designed active wear that’s super functional. To naysayers who don’t believe fashion brands can be actual active sportswear producers but rather can only create cutesy diffusion lines, Plein strikes back: “This is a completely new identity. From scratch.” And he’s just starting to scratch the surface. Women’s collections are dubbed coming soon on the brand’s website which is of course all it’s own. On www.PleinSport.com you will find only options to color coordinate the contents of your gym bag. Getting you fit. Enough. Perhaps. To fit in to those Plein runway stunners of his entirely different, fashion brand.