Pin It
Backstage at Philipp Plein SS17
Backstage at Philipp Plein SS17Photography Virginia Arcaro

Philipp Plein brings basketball and Busta Rhymes to Milan

The designer puts on an explosive show featuring mascots, cheerleaders and the Harlem Globetrotters – oh, and some models

Subtlety isn’t German designer Philipp Plein’s strong point – but all-out, no-expense-spared runway shows are, as proved last night at Milan Fashion Week.

Upon arrival, guests were invited to shoot some hoops, something which provided an indication of this season’s theme. For SS17, Plein based his collection on basketball uniforms and this was evident throughout – in the jerseys, the shorts, Air Jordan-style shoes and (most literally) in the basketballs models carried down the runway. But Plein’s vision for SS17 wasn’t just apparent on the catwalk. 

While skate ramps and monster trucks have dominated previous show spaces, this season he enlisted acclaimed set designer Simon Costin – who famously collaborated with Alexander McQueen – to create a faux basketball court.

To complete the vision, he flew in NBA-esque mascots, a cheerleading squad and legendary exhibition basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters; and before each model stepped onto the catwalk, he was projected onto a screen in the same way NBA players are. Guests were even given basketball jerseys to take home as a momento, as well as popcorn (served in Plein-branded bags, naturally) to enjoy during the show.

Of course, there was a musical element to the proceedings too. The designer, who has previously enlisted the likes Chris Brown, Courtney Love, Iggy Azalea, Lil’ Wayne and Rita Ora to perform at his show, flew in Busta Rhymes to play a set (and to rile up the crowd). 

Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times earlier this month, Plein said he was “not a designer” and “not a fashion person”, and while he may be an atypical character in fashion, you have to admit he puts on a good show.