When German-born fashion designer Philipp Plein unveiled the theme of his Spring 2017 show, “Alice in Ghettoland,” 3 days on social media, reactions were mixed.
“This feels racist,” wrote one Instagram follower.
“So Tacky and inaproppiate[sic]. Not even fashionable,” wrote another.
Plein’s show ended up being a blingy “wonderland,” complete with gold chains, embellished caps, loud prints, denim, sneakers, boomboxes and appearances by Fergie, Fat Joe, and Paris Hilton. Despite the obvious racial connotations, the collection’s worst crime was feeling dated. Most critics didn’t know what to make of Plein’s “Ghettoland,” a world inhabited by a knockoff Moschino meets Baby Phat meets L.A.M.B. aesthetic.
Back in 2013, Plein made headlines by using an all-black cast for his Spring 2014 show. Some felt it was an exercise in extreme tokenism, others applauded Plein’s efforts.
“My message is about breaking down barriers and breaking the rules,” Plein explained over email after the show. “Doing the unexpected and shaking people from their complacence, forcing people to face the future where old prejudices have no place.”
This time around I’m not quite sure what Plein’s message is, if there is one at all. Maybe this giant “PIMP” gnome is a clue of some sort?