Update, Feb. 25:
Following his Milan Fashion Week show, Plein received backlash both for his crystal-covered Kobe Bryant tribute sweatshirts and for the use of gilded helicopters in his set design. Critics took to social media to proclaim their distaste, claiming that Plein was attempting to profiteer off of the tragic helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven others.
In response to the criticism, Plein issued a statement explaining that the helicopters were commissioned for his show in November 2019, and it was “too late to replace them” after Bryant’s death in January. As he said on the catwalk, the designer reaffirmed that proceeds from sales of the Bryant tribute products will go toward the Mamba & Mambacita Sport Foundation — adding that $20,000 had already been paid to the organization.
“This tragedy affected myself and the world deeply and I feel that my fashion show have (sic) been the best moment to express my respect and admiration for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and his family,” Plein wrote in a statement. “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.”
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What we originally reported:
Philipp Plein is known for his over-the-top runways, and his Milan Fashion Week fall ’20 show on Saturday was no exception.
The show finished in grand fashion with a tribute to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. He died in a nine-fatality helicopter crash last month, at 41, alongside 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
Models including Olivia Culpo and Jada Pinkett Smith hit the runway in Plein-logoed jerseys and sweatshirts in Lakers purple and gold, which were emblazoned with Swarovski crystals and Bryant’s number, 24. Hip-hop star Tyga, who performed during the show, also added one of Plein’s Bryant tribute tanks to his look for the finale.
Culpo sported her tank teamed with shiny black hot pants. Purple thigh-high boots with a pointed toe and slim stiletto heel completed the 2012 Miss Universe’s ensemble.
Meanwhile, Pinkett Smith wore a pair of glistening silver and gold trousers with her oversize hoodie. On her feet, the “Angel Has Fallen” actress wore sky-high black sandals that featured a platform for a bit more stability.
Plein announced that he will donate proceeds from the sales of the Bryant-inspired items to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation in memory of the Nike athlete and his daughter Gianna. Both the tank and sweatshirt are available for purchase now; the tank retails for $2,070, and the sweatshirt costs $3,150.
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