Designer Philipp Plein is being hammered on social media after he attempted to pay homage to the late Kobe Bryant during his Milan Fashion Week show…but instead he enraged many of his fans by featuring a gold helicopter, which looked exactly like the one Kobe crashed in, during the show.
Plein is known for making waves in the fashion industry and included Jada Pinkett-Smith, Tyga, and model Olivia Culpo in this year’s show.
But, the designer decided to pay tribute to the NBA legend by strutting down the runway in bedazzled gold and purple tank tops and hoodies to honor Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. On the items, Plein’s name was emblazoned on the front instead of the Lakers logo.
The bigger issue for many fans was the group walked the runway in front of several gold-wrapped helicopters and airplanes, one being a close replica of the one Kobe and his daughter Gigi were in when it crashed.
People flooded social media to show their disgust for the decision to feature a helicopter, and described the move as “distasteful” and “tacky.”
“Distasteful, tacky & material waste. philipp plein who has so long been making clothing that adds nothing but clutter to the fashion landscape has decided to include gold helicopters along his crystal basketball jerseys after the passing of kobe & gianna bryant. its disgusting,” one person tweeted.
Another added, “Phillip Plein has always been beyond tacky, but the bedazzled Lakers’ colored jerseys with Kobe’s number but Plein’s name on em + the helicopters is just… I have no words. He knew exactly what he was doing.”
The designer responded to the criticism by issuing a statement to Page Six, saying, “The catwalk setup was already planned and designed in November 2019, way before this tragic accident occurred. This is the reason why they were gilded helicopters on the runway. I would have clearly removed them if possible, but it was too late to replace them.”
He continued, “This tragedy affected myself and all the world deeply and I feel that my fashion show [was] the best moment to express my respect and admiration for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and his family. It is sad to see how something positive and constructive can be misinterpreted by people who obviously want to interpret negatively without even having a reason. As a matter of fact, I am really doing something to help and to support the foundation. Actions speak louder than words.”
BTW — The “Plein 24” collection includes a $3,150 hoodie and a $2,070 tank top and sales of the items will benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
The designers explanation wasn’t enough for some Kobe fans who continued pounding him on Twitter, with one person writing, “Philipp Plein made two gold helicopters for his show today, which falls 27 days after Kobe died in a helicopter crash — BUT DONT WORRY he whipped up a bunch of Swarovski Kobe jerseys (with “Plein” written on them??) so it’s cool. F*** you, Philipp.”