Mood board: Last season, the debut of what the Plein Sport website bills as ‘the world's first luxury active sportswear brand’ included an enormous, two-floor gym with a glass façade. How was Philipp Plein going to top that, we all wondered, plus his greasy, glitzy mainline show from the night before? The backdrop for the S/S 2018 collection was a futuristic, illuminated gladiatorial marketplace. The Plein MO is to operate without any rules, so the unexpected is guaranteed.
Scene setting: The show opened with a cast of female dancers performing a synchronised aerobic workout on poles topped with mirrored disco balls. They all wore shorts and sports bras from the collection emblazoned with the hashtag #girlpower with towering Perspex platform heels. Three illuminated fighting cages were lowered into the area too as twenty American pro wrestlers and boxers feigned a warm-up as Survivor’s 1982 hit Eye of the Tiger bounced around the room.
Best in show: At the launch of the line in January, Plein said that he couldn’t find a luxury alternative to Nike. He wanted to close the gap between activewear and his understanding of what luxury is – or could be. Luxury at Casa Plein means shiny and tight. In nine months the brand has opened 11 stores around the world from Paris, Berlin and Milan to Beirut, Hong Kong and Moscow. It is an unrelenting, riotous beast. The functional outerwear wardrobe included everything you would : from sweatshirts and hoodies to leggings and vests, all made using technical performance fabrics. Standout were the metallic red or gold trim added to long boxing shorts and zip up hoodies said to evoke El Santo, Mexico’s iconic wrestling hero. In a nod to the Plein Sport jumping tiger logo – emblazoned on the show’s backdrop – claw marks appeared throughout, scratched across sleeves, multi-pocket gym bags and even the models’ faces.