Philipp Plein took to New York to stage his Fall/Winter 2017 show this week but before that, the German fashion designer staged a similarly over-the-top event for his Plein Sport collection in Milan last month. According to designer Alexander Wang, Plein ripped off the 2014 show that he staged with Swedish fast fashion giant H&M in the process. As noted by WWD, Wang took to his Instagram account on Tuesday evening to call out Plein, citing both of their “race track-inspired sets [and] looks with athletic harnesses” as key similarities.
Wang posted a side-by-side video comparing the two runway shows and collections on his account, complete with the line: “Can I copy your homework?” “Yeah just change it up a bit so it doesn’t look like you obviously copied.” “Ok.”
This is hardly Plein’s first bit of bad press in the recent past. Last month, after being threatened with an employment suit from Dolce & Gabbana in December, he was been slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit from Perrin Paris. The French leather goods company filed suit against Plein in a German court, alleging that the fashion brand has copied its design patent protected “glove-clutch.”
As set forth in that lawsuit complaint, which was filed in Hamburg in late December, Plein’s version of the bag is “the exact duplicate, same size, same design, same concept [as the Perrin clutch].” The only difference according to Perrin? Plein “added a skull.”
In terms of Dolce & Gabbana, the company’s counsel said that two of its former employees, who now work for Plein, have been in contact with current Dolce & Gabbana employees for the sole purpose of poaching them to join Philipp Plein. In particular, D&G alleged that the two employees, Andrea Lanza Cariccio and Jaco Cuccato, who both worked for Dolce & Gabbana in the past, got in touch with several Dolce & Gabbana sales assistants to offer them work at Plein’s new showroom in Milan, which is expected to open before the end of the year.
Klein took to his personal Instagram account to share a photo of the cease and desist letter he received from Dolce & Gabbana, along with a lengthy statement tagging Dolce & Gabbana and stating: “Just received a love letter from Dolce and Gabbana’s lawyer accusing me and my people that we would steal their employees. This is a free country and everybody can choose by themselves who they want to work for!!”
UPDATED (2/15/16): Jennifer Leppla, marketing and communications director for Philipp Plein, has responded to Wang’s post, telling WWD, “Actually, the photo posted by Alexander Wang is rather deceiving, because it does not show the main theme of the show, which was the two-story gym hidden behind the reflective walls, which was revealed at a certain point during the show.”
She continued on to note, “The obstacle course in the foreground was custom made for the Parkour team once they were on board for the show, and designed by [our art director Simon] Costin … Mr. Costin is a world-renowned, highly respected and extremely talented art director; that he would be involved in a project where another designer’s work is copied is just not a possibility.”