It’s 11.30 am, the sun’s already rapacious, the palm trees are swinging in the pure blue sky. There’s a swarm of cleaners buzzing around with bin bags, meticulously scrubbing every taupe, limestone tile, every crest white lounger. We’re inside the huge 11 bedroomed Cannes home of Philipp Plein the-morning-after-the-night-before his first resort show. We’re about to meet the multi-millionaire designer himself who appears on the balcony above the pale turquoise swimming pool in a clean white tee and grey sweat pants. His Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch (to which the GQ journo quips ‘it probably cost more than my flat in Peckham’), says it all about this man’s success and wealth. ‘I will never do a show in my own home again, it was sooo stressful, everyone in my house for so long’ laughs the 38 year old German designer as we thank him for his largesse at the party last night.
Philipp Plein is like no other designer. In fact most people have never even heard of him. And yet his success is phenomenal. ‘I love everything he does, he’s one of my favourite designers in the world’ Paris Hilton gushed backstage after the show. And Plein-iacs of which there are thousands and who cannot get enough of his rock god leather jackets - his signature piece - many of which retail for over £2000.
Today there are over 100 Philipp Plein boutiques worldwide with gleaming Swarovski-studded flagships everywhere from Rodeo Drive to Via Montenapoleone in Milan. He had the tattoo on this forearm of his name to celebrate his first million, of which many more followed. And Plein mania is just incredible. Witness last night’s show. An ode to ostentation. A fountain filled with Philipp Plein branded champagne bottles, a shocking pink carpet running through the tropical garden, a Hollywood guest list that ticked Every, Single, Box. Paris Hilton plus her boyfriend Chris Zylka, rapper Fetty Wap, hot felon turned model Jeremy Meeks, singer/Justin Bieber protege Madison Beer, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr, never mind the fashion bloggers (Nina Suess) the A-list fashion types (Carine and Julia Roitfeld, who styled the show) and models Daphne Groeneveld, Winnie Harlow and Jordan Barrett.
With La Jungle Du Roi (the name of the collection) spelt out on a huge pink-on-pink flower wall, this was fabulous from the get-go. Guests drank on Plein branded champagne and snacked on gummy bears (‘one of Philipp’s obsessions’ the PR explains). The collection itself was inspired by his lush, tropical Cannes garden. ‘We didn’t really go out much’ when we designed this. In fact he shipped his design team out to the villa to work on it. Use of the spa, meals cooked by the in-house chef, a dip in the swimming pool, were all part of a days work. ‘The fashion world is like a race and you just have to keep going and going if you want to win’ he says. Insanely driven, he explains that his number one priority is to ‘listen to what my customers want, not what the fashion world says.’ He also acutely understands the power of hype. Casting cool but dangerous names like Jeremy Meeks also known as ‘Jail Bae’ and ‘The Blue Eyed Bandit’ and recommended Plein ‘by my friend the photographer Steven Klein’); or former boxer Floyd Mayweather or rapper Fetty Rap, not to mention the retro Paris Hilton alongside big catwalk models like Daphne Groeneveld and Winnie Harlow. The entire cast, nevermind putting on a show in the middle of the film festival, are all guaranteed to get everyone talking.
Not that this sexy, made-for-LA-babe collection isn’t enough. Cue crystal embossed shorts, denim bikinis embroidered with tropical flowers and his signature German army jackets encrusted with Swarovski crystals thrown over a bikini or a teeny dress. Added to the mix was his collaboration with New York graffiti artist Alec Monopoly. (A kind of American Banksy if you haven’t heard of him). ‘I met Alec after I posted a picture of piece that I saw on a wall in LA’ explains Philipp. Then some friends of his put them both in touch. Plein went so far as to build a studio in the Cannes mansion for the artist to work in.
The show concluded with Guns and Roses blasting and the artist (complete with Lone Ranger mask) strutting behind Winnie Harlow along the pink carpet while he spray painted her tight, white denim skirt. ‘Mysterious, dangerous, romantic - anything can happen in the jungle’ smiles Philipp.
Was the spectacular jump into the pool with Alec Monopoly planned? ‘No!’ He laughs ‘But I smelt so bad, I was sweating through the whole thing and Alec? I just took him with me. I didn’t bother to ask!’ When you’re the wild man of fashion, why bother.