He did it – again, again...and again! Philipp Plein. Plein Sport. Billionaire. Three days, three shows. Uff! No designer other than Philipp Plein is crazy enough to commit to three massive show productions within such a short lapse of time, right in the middle of Milan's men's fashion week. Like it to not, we were intrigued, which is why we snuck in backstage after Plein's second show – the newly founded Plein Sport brand – to understand what motivated the German designer to dive into such risky yet fashionable endeavours. Here's what he had to say.
On his latest endeavor, Plein Sport.
“Plein Sport is a very fast growing brand as it's the very first active luxury sport brand. Let me put it like this: Philipp Plein is a brand that is strong, loud, fun and fashionable. We have embroidery, we have strass, we have studs, we have leather, we have skulls – we have everything, and mainly we have fun. In sports, it's the exact opposite: you don't have skulls, you don't have stones, you don't have embroidery, you don't have bling. You only have sportswear. In fashion, you want to be sexy. In sport, you want to be comfortable and efficient and in order to achieve this you need to have the best possible quality, which is why we focus on active, resistant and intelligent materials and fabrics.”
Photo by Gio Statiano for NOWFASHION
On staging three shows in one fashion week.
“I can tell you guys, the toughest sport is fashion! It is very exciting for me because it is the first time I am able to show three brands in a row in one fashion week. It's also very challenging to put three shows together in such a short period of time, on such a huge scale, and to get three collections ready. I don't know any other business in the world that is as challenging as fashion. Believe me, it's always changing, and you always have to change with the fashions. Whereas in sports, you have one championship a year, or a world cup every four years, in fashion we have four championships each and every year! We play Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter and it's always new, and each season we start from scratch all over again – it's crazy!”
On managing a trinity of brands and his fast expansion.
''It's like having three different girlfriends. When I was younger – not now I'm old – I had 3 different girlfriends...just kidding! But I must admit, having three different brands sometimes feels like having three different girlfriends who have three different characters – you have to be able to split yourself and your time. Philipp Plein is my baby, my first baby, and when you have a baby, your newborn is always your most special baby – I know I am not supposed to say this, but you always have a special relationship with your first one. And Plein Sports is my second baby, it's not even 10 months old, but we already have 11 stores worldwide and we will we have over 30 stores by the end of the year. We're going to close the first year with a €50 million turnover, and that's sales on a wholesale basis. Billionaire, for its part, is quite a rock’n' roll brand,which celebrates tailoring and craftsmanship.
Photo by Anna Palmero for NOWFASHION
On Billionaire, and fashion's discrepancy between the branded and the real customer.
''It's a menswear brand, worn by and dedicated to real, mature men who can actually not only afford the clothes on the runway, but who also look good in them. Today we see kids and teens on the runway sporting clothes that are targeted at customers who are 40 years old and upwards – it's just so fake! The younger generation is not interested in this type of clothing, they don't really care, and the older generation who can afford it has a hard time identifying with young boys. I'm proud to be old, we all get old and we have to accept it. But the fashion world doesn't accept it.''
Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION
On designing for everybody – and not just a selected few.
''That's why our shows are so big, I want everybody here! Other brands would say, “You're not an Editor-in-Chief', or 'you're not invited', or 'you're not important'”. But fashion is for everybody! People ask me why my shows are always so big, I tell them it's because a lot of people want to see them! I think we are representing the new generation, I think we're all part of the new generation. And times are changing.''