Philipp Plein does not do “quiet luxury.”
The self-professed maximalist went full-throttle with his latest resort collection, titled “Circus.” It fit right in with the last throes of this edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which has had a popping, frenetic energy.
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At Plein’s show, a floral giraffe rose from the pool, while performers in top hats did card tricks to add to the ambiance. Multicolor arches framed the glittery rainbow runway, which was laid poolside at Plein’s own home.
The designer presented a pared-down collection — in number of looks at least, if not aesthetic. It consisted of 15 looks and eschewed his standard celebrity stunt casting, in a collection Plein said was a return to his roots in womenswear.
“The days of jogging pants and sneakers — I don’t want to say ‘over’ — but we see in our stores now a huge demand for dressy clothes,” he said, noting that sales of eveningwear and tuxedo jackets have been strong this year. This collection is an effort to expand that category, Plein noted, and will encompass more looks at retail, including his signature printed T-shirts.
The designer himself was dressed in a tuxedo, while toting 1-year-old son Rocket in his arms.
“It’s very important that you have a collection that is not only focused on one target,” he said, speaking to WWD backstage before the show. “We are growing, obviously, the brand, and in order to keep on growing and doing profitable business, we have to have a wider audience.”
Plein acknowledged other houses have done the circus theme. “There’s nothing you can probably really reinvent in fashion, so we did it the Plein way — very glamorous, very loud,” he said.
Business happens in the office and most design work happens in his home, he said adding that he relocated his design team to his guest house for weeks to work on the collection together.
The result pulled in references from vintage circuses, from logos to acid-tinged sherbet colors from tangerine to lime, nearly every possible inch draped in sparkle.
Elizabethan collars were reinterpreted in rhinestone-studded swoops for an elongated neck that balanced out a minidress. A pink micro-mini suit with a truncated blazer topped a sculpted slit-front bustier of sorts that appeared as if floating on the body.
Looks were head-to-toe in color palette, with rhinestone-studded cowboy boots and coordinating handbags worn with a ruched-front minidress, for example, or sky-high platforms paired with a blue dress for a tone-on-tone look.
A flowing halter dress was one of the most wearable looks. Its rainbow colors were rave-style happy faces upon closer inspection.
Even makeup was made to match. Each model had harlequin-inspired eyes in saturated shades to go with their look.
Being a circus, Plein couldn’t control the chaos. A crasher dashed on the runway for last looks, before being yanked off by security. Rick Ross arrived to perform but got through only a song and a half before there was a fault with the sound system.
“But the party continues,” shouted Ross, hoisting a glass of Champagne.
Launch Gallery: Philipp Plein Resort 2024
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