Pret-a-Reporter

Everything That Happened at Philipp Plein's Insane Runway Show

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Madonna! The Hot Felon! Pete Wentz the fashion model!

It was chaos from the start. 

Hundreds gathered on the steps of the New York Public Library on Monday night to see what designer Philipp Plein had in store for his first showing at New York Fashion Week. The mob continued to grow, while impatient ticket holders pushed and prodded the security at the doors. The hold up? A traffic jam at the revolving door, as only one guest could enter at a time. Things only got more complicated from there. 

Read on for the full breakdown of the designer's whirlwind extravaganza.

The designer
The cover of Philipp Plein's show notes said it all: "Who the F— is Philipp Plein?" The designer, who addressed the audience before the show, as opposed to taking final bow, answered his own question: "I'm just a dreamer and a believer."

He danced around the edges of a political message during his introduction ("Let’s do things a little bit differently, because it’s time for changes — across the fashion industry"), and mostly reiterated that his New York adventure was intended to shake up the fashion industry's status quo, hence his slogan, "Let's Make NYFW Great Again." 

Tonight marked his first presentation in New York after showing for several seasons in Milan. 

The front row: 
Plein recruited an all-star front row — er, rows — including, in no particular order: Madonna, Kylie Jenner, Tyga, Tiffany Trump (flanked by her pal, designer Drew Warren), Slick Rick, Fat Joe, Shay Mitchell, Taylor Hill, Paris Hilton (who walked in Plein's last show in Milan), Nicky Hilton, Coco Rocha and more.

But it was Madonna who held up the party. Madge rolled up around 10:15 p.m. for the 9 p.m. presentation. Some punctual editors, however, were not having it. After being told, "We're waiting on Madonna," one top fashion editor left the show before it even began. 

The models:
Jeremy Meeks, better known as "The Hot Felon," opened the show — and that was just the beginning. Among the runway regulars, including Dilone, Alanna Arrington, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Imaan Hammam and Elsa Hosk, were newcomers Sofia Richie and Anwar Hadid. Plein also added plenty of special guests to the lineup — from Pete Wentz to Desiigner to Young Thug to Fetty Wap. 

As it turns out, there is a price to pay when you don't hire professionals. A handful of the models were confused by the makeshift runway and walked the wrong way around the roundabout, skipping entire sections of the catwalk. To top it off, there was no finale. The crowd waited in silence for the final walk, shifting uncomfortably in their seats, until a few exhausted editors just decided to rush the doors and leave.

The entertainment:
We know what you're thinking — there were even more celebrities at the New York Public Library on a Monday night? Yes, indeed there were. After Madonna finally settled into her seat (and pulled on her massive fur lined hood and oversize shades), Nas hit the stage to serenade the showgoers with "If I Ruled the World." During his performance he shook hands with Fat Joe and gave a shout out to Slick Rick.

During the show itself, The Kills (led by the unshakeably cool Alison Mosshart) performed 3-4 songs, including their 2016 hit "Doing It to Death." The rock 'n' roll tunes set the tone for the all-black, edgy looks that hit the runway. Speaking of ... 

The clothes
This is what we came for, right?

Between trying to spot the celebrities among the models walking the wrong way across the runway, and trying to capture a photo of Kylie Jenner's reactions to the clothes (spoiler: she didn't have many), we almost forgot to focus on the um, fashion. 

Plein, born in Germany, was clearly inspired by America's early 2000s stereotypes (maybe that was why Paris Hilton was invited?). There was a motley assortment of outerwear — bombers, puffers, fur coats and moto jackets — with many featuring a liberal amount of rhinestones spelling out "Plein" in gothic script a la Juicy Couture or Von Dutch. Hot pants, embellished mermaid gowns and shredded denim were also a running theme. Red rose, dancing skeleton and flame embroideries brought to mind Ed Hardy and tattoo art.

The atmosphere
Nowhere was Plein's "tacky chic America" aesthetic more evident than on the front steps of the New York Public Library (which Plein referred to as an American icon in its own right), where an Elvis impersonator and the Naked Cowboy performed for the bitterly cold attendees waiting to get inside, as well as for curious passersby on Fifth Avenue. Flanking the crowd were live models dressed as the Statue of Liberty, while stars and stripes were projected onto the building facade behind them. 

The inside, too, was decorated in a manner that celebrated all the things foreigners associate with the good ol' U.S. of A.: Two neon Statue of Liberty signs were hung by the entrance (one red, one blue); women dressed as a taxi cab, the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty posed with showgoers for selfies; and on the ceiling, the words "Hell is empty and all the devils are here" were projected in red, white and blue.

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