The German born, Swiss-based fashion designer Philipp Plein has zoomed into Milan's fashion scene like a bat out of hell and even now, three years after his arrival, his gargantuan showmanship shows no signs of slowing. Saturday night's concert-like spectacle took place at an empty car park in the southernmost district of the city (a hop away from the new Prada Foundation), which the designer transformed into an amusement park for grown up boy toys that blew ear drums out and exploded into the kind of flames and fireworks reserved for Hollywood blockbusters.
Visitors were first greeted by five motorcycle drivers that were zooming around a metal spherical cage like supersonic flies, causing guests to cover their eyes in fear of witnessing one of them getting squashed into a pulp. 'They're world record holders from Barcelona,' Plein explained of the daredevils, who somehow remained intact. 'You can even stand in the bottom of the cage if you want. I saw something like it at a circus and thought it'd be cool for the show.'
As for the 80 wrecked cars that littered the rest of the location, Plein fished those out of a junkyard in Milan (actually, he bought the two Rolls-Royces off the internet) and wrapped them up in fancy gold and silver foil. They made an obstacle course, of sorts, for 12 noisy motorcycle riders who later zoomed around them popping wheelies, before 2 BMWs came tearing down the lane on their sides, left wheels only touching the ground, before having their entire backseats explode into flames.
The live combustion was followed by a couple of siren-blazing cop cars that burned rubber as they chased themselves around in tiny circles, like excited little dogs, before ejecting a rapper who gave a live concert before the 1200 guests. If this wasn't enough, a monster truck barreled over the car line-up, crushing the cars where they weren't already and finishing off in a shower of exploding spark-plug fireworks.
Plein spent a fortune on this James Cameron-esque spectacle that lasted less than 30 minutes. 'A fashion show is like a funeral,' he says, 'it's the culmination of five months of work and as soon as it's done, it's onto the next season.' Despite his role as Milan's fashion week entertainer, Plein says he's not much of a party guy. 'I don't need a show for me. If I wanted to spend 2 million euros on myself I'd buy an apartment,' he says. 'This is a way to say thank you to my best clients and employees. I'm not selling clothes,' he continues. 'I'm selling a dream.'