Style / Fashion

Forget Bad Boys of Fashion, this is the industry’s Worst Boy. And he’s coming to town.

PRG is bringing global fashion sensation, Philipp Plein International Group and Plein Sport to Asia.

May 04, 2018 | By Shirley Wang

Malaysian property developer PRG Holdings is venturing into the luxury clothing business via its 75 per cent-owned unit Furniweb Holdings. In its filing with Bursa Malaysia, PRG said Furniweb, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, had signed a letter of intent with Philipp Plein Group and Plein Sport.

PRG’s recent business collaboration with the global fashion sensation, Philipp Plein International Group and Plein Sport will set to open shops in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Based in Switzerland, Philipp Plein designs, makes and retails luxury apparel ranging from lifestyle apparel to sportswear. With the agreement rolling out by the third quarter of 2018, Furniweb will be appointed as the authorised dealer, promotion and sale of luxury and lifestyle fashion apparel under the label, as well as a player in future business strategy and planning.

Now, who is this Philipp Plein?

Philipp who started out creating furnitures for dogs before switching his career path in 2003, describes himself as “a dream chaser”. His bold endeavors in fashion are outrageous, and the streak of defiance is further amplified by his unapologetic persona. Plein may be the designer/creative director of his show, but his character takes no less limelight. More than a mere behind-the-scenes force, he is the rockstar to his rock ’n’ roll fashions.

Plein’s social media presence, according to Remsen, is absolutely aligned with “the pistons of his lucrative, incendiary and self-named label, which raked in €200 million [$236 million] in 2015 by selling gauchely conceived clothing and accessories to the nouveau riche”. His personal Instagram account leaves a definitive footprint – with photos of “his black Rolls-Royce Wraith, Lamborghini Aventador and homes from Cannes to Lugano to Lexington Avenue,” and of course, his latest girlfriend, whose right clavicle is branded with a “Philipp Plein” tattoo. These pictures are perfect representations of the ethos of the man and his namesake brand.

Unsurprisingly, Plein’s shows have incited very polarised reactions.

Plein’s shows “have become legendary for all the wrong reasons: they are aggressive, loud and unforgivingly late,” as Dan Thawley wrote for BoF this February.

Ex-convict Jeremy Meeks on the runway.

Often starting an hour past the call time, the runway features regulars from the likes of Paris Hilton, shirtless male models in body paint and fake machine guns, to ex-convicts such as Jeremy Meeks (pictured above) and other buzzy figures. Basically names that most big-name fashion brands will avoid casting, are exactly what that regularly round out Plein’s line up.

Plein’s routine shows in Milan and New York might sound like gaudy marketing – UFOs, fireworks, burlesque performers, ghost houses and 18-wheeler monster trucks, with no less of “Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens performing stunts and popping wheelies, pimped out with LEDs” (as WWD so aptly put it), to complete his image as the King of Bling.

He still doesn’t have an official slot on the fashion week schedule, but his tactics have worked at attracted a loyal cult following. Plein is content with being an outsider in fashion, because on Instagram he has his own community with more than one million followers.

“King of Bling”

His unabashed character is even more explicated in his interviews. When asked why he stages such outlandish runway shows, Plein told the Times’ Elizabeth Paton, simply: He is doing this for his “fans,” or the individuals whom the vast majority of designers would much more gracefully refer to as clients or customers. There is certainly no room for Plein to be politically correct or sugar-coat his words.

In his review of Plein’s S/S 2018 menswear show in June, Vogue fashion critic Luke Leitch best captured Plein’s brilliance in his comment.

“Plein’s personal blend of braggadocio and balls, plus a taste level so unabashedly trashy it’s almost genius, has seen him carve out a niche, it is hard not to admire.”

Plein’s shining flagship store in London

Plein has set his eyes to dominate the global fashion with his brazen wares. He is planning to double the count of stores in five years, expanding his current network of 80 stores globally, 13 of which are privately held. With PRG’s core business in textile manufacturing and properties, there seems no stopping this deviant.

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