Fashion Show Showdown: Alexander Wang vs. Philipp Plein

Philipp Plein, Alex Wang - Getty - H 2017
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Who won the crosstown, interborough fashion showdown? Read the play by play of all seven rounds below to find out.

After outfitting boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the fight of the century against Conor McGregor last month, German-born, Milan-based designer and king of flash Philipp Plein knows a thing or two about a good contest.

On Saturday night, the carpet bagger staged a sex and star-filled show in Manhattan, taking on New York Fashion Week’s reigning party boy Alexander Wang, who was holding his own spring 2018 show and #WANGFEST in the same time slot in Bushwick. Both shows were late, as in more than an hour late, but started within minutes of each other.

Of course, there’s a backstory to the rivalry: Wang accused Plein of copying his 2014 H&M collab show idea — which included very particular use of acrobatics and American Ninja Warrior-style choreography — for his 2017 Plein Sport presentation. Wang posted a side-by-side video to Instagram with shady meme text implying that Plein had ripped off the presentation outright. 


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So, who won the crosstown, interborough fashion showdown? Read the play by play of all seven rounds below to find out.

Getting to The Ring:

PleinRumor has it that the guest list was upwards of 4,000 people who were being held at bay outside the Hammerstein Ballroom in midtown by a gaggle of petite PR power houses holding iPads and wearing headsets and telling all the party crashes that no, they were not on the list, all through red painted lips and plastered smiles. Barricades were nearly broken down, and things could have escalated to an all out safety hazard quickly were it not for the quick response whenever a black-clad PR lady yelled politely, "CAN I GET A SECURITY GUARD, PLEASE."

Wang: The designer took over a warehouse adjacent side street in the fast-gentrifying area, and urged guests to pick up wristbands earlier in the day (most didn’t) to ease entry, but that didn’t stop a block-long line from forming. Still, things remained relatively calm.

At the bell: WANG

Ringside amenities:

Plein: Cabaret style tables with seats, at least.

Wang: Once through the barricades you were either in Standing or Priority Standing, lining either side of the sidewalk where not much happened for the first hour except people getting more and more angry that nothing was happening. It wasn't clear why or how people were slotted into Standing or Priority Standing. A seasoned AP foreign correspondent and celebrity stylist somewhat bewilderingly didn't make the Priority cut. 

At the bell: PLEIN

Ringside snacks:

PleinBurgers! Branded with the double P logo, natch. They were about as delicious as they looked (which is to say, kind of desperate). Predictably, they were not eaten, but the bubbly was swilled enthusiastically.

Wang: Burgers! From Shake Shack…yum, but no booze until the #WANGFEST after party. Fail.

At the bell: PLEIN

Front row eye candy:

Plein: Fifth Harmony was spotted giving an interview pre-show. Decked out in Plein's sequined gothic script, Paris Hilton was snapping and posing and having a grand old time, thanks for asking. AND Tiffany Trump had no trouble getting into this party. Nicki Minaj, the queen of being fashionably late lived up to her title, taking her seat around 10 p.m. She delivered in delightful facial expressions though. 


@nickiminaj watching Future at @philipppleininternational #nyfw

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Wang: Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner, trailed by a phalanx of cameras, walked the street in such a deliberate way, it made us wonder if the whole thing was gonna end up on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Other than that? Not much wattage until the after-party, at least not that we could see.

At the bell: PLEIN

Runway eye candy:

PleinThe runway pre-show was Dita von Teese, the beloved burlesque darling, who recently penned an essay about aging in an industry that places so much emphasis on looks, did the damn thing like the professional she is. The musical MC was none other than Future, who performed wearing not one but TWO metallic puffer coats (one is silver and the other's gold), as well a sparkly bomber. Snoop Dogg's son Cordell Broadus walked, not to be outdone by...Snoop Dogg's dad! He's still got it. Teyana Taylor, AKA the girl from THAT Kanye video gave a strip-club worthy runway performance that rivaled Dita's, honestly. 


@poppasnoop on the @philipppleininternational SS18 runway #nyfw

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Wang: The models arrived on a branded #WANGFEST party bus that pulled up to the curb, no joke, after making several stops around the city during the day to bring the show to the street--and the people. Kaia Gerber, that’s baby Cindy Crawford, opened the show in a short skirt, followed by fashion heavyweights Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid.

At the bell: PLEIN

Style notes:

PleinLeather, so much leather. Plein took his "good girl gone bad" theme of bondage and BDSM and ran with it. And braids! We're talking waist-length and covered with flowers. If you think they make chic whips, you're probably right. 

Wang: Short, tight, denim, tracksuits, feather headdresses? It was hard to tell because the models were too far away to see--and it was damn dark.

At the bell: A DRAW

The After Party:

Plein1OAK! Kind of. The club everyone loves to hate and also the one-time site of Kris Jenner's birthday party in Vegas, was recreated for the after party and was also spotted on the back of a model's t-shirt. Speaking of...T-shirts! So. Many. T-shirts. One was even slung into the crowd and into the arms of a woman who will surely love and cherish and Instagram it forever. If you stayed long enough, Nicki Minaj performed.

Wang: The designer staged his own down-and-dirty booze fest complete with bouncy house, “WANGFEST” ice sculpture, donut table, buckets of Bud, and a bar serving grape juice and vodka punch. Later on, there were performances by A$AP Ferg, Ashanti and Ja Rule--if you managed to get in, the scene at the door got scary.

AT THE BELL: PLEIN, and it was Plein for the win in seven rounds. Now, we can only hope for a rematch next season.