On a rather cold Thursday night in December, just ten days before Xmas, and Philipp Plein has finally landed in London, to inaugurate his new boutique on 94 New Bond Street. The street already famous for its luxury stores welcomes it’s new star.
I arrived at a cocktail party, organised by Karla Otto, which had to be said, was in true Plein’s style. Guests celebrated drinking Philipp Plein-branded champagne and dancing to R&B music. Among some of the guests were, GQ Style’s editor-in-chief Dylan Jones and editor Luke Day, Fashion editor and Creative Director Sascha Lilic, as well as DJ Jodie Harsh, formula 1 race driver Nico Hulkenberg, and some of the Arsenal players, frontmen Olivier Giroud and Lucas Pérez.
During a walk-through of the brand’s London flagship, the designer said, “You know what makes a brand become a brand? Visibility in the market. When you sell luxury you have to position yourself close to your competitors. It’s just like a food market.”
Plein’s new store layout clearly communicates the brand image of unabashed luxury and is designed by architectural firm Claudio Pironi and Partners. The shop-floor spans an area of 4,520 square feet and is comfortably spaced over three floors, having womenswear and the junior collection on the first floor, accessories on the ground floor, and menswear in the basement.
The unmistakable brand’s signature Swarovski skull instalment welcomes you at the entrance, while the characteristic hexagonal shape mark chairs and mirror tiles on the walls throughout the store, this all features with materials including polished black marble, logo-filled carpets and luxurious chandeliers, decorated with skulls also.
If you have ever seen one of Philipp Plein’s fashion show, you know what I am talking about: a cheeky collection plus a bold extra-luxurious shop, equal a mind-boggling event. The basement enclosed the brand’s aesthetic: handsome young celebrities were chilling around admiring the new skulled and paint-splashed collection – or were they part of the set design?
During an interview with Business of Fashion, the designer answered questions about his recent dispute with Dolce & Gabbana, who accused his company of poaching retail employees from their boutiques. “These people, these brands, they don’t want competition. In this competitive moment, everybody is trying to survive.”
Plein, who is best known for his over-the-top style, such as the studded jackets and the bejewelled sneakers, believes that his success should also be credited to his “outsider” status. If you find yourself in the New Bond Street and want to pop in, take the staircase down for the sport-rocky collection endorsed by Leo Messi, Justin Bieber and Craig David, who himself describes as “creations for people that choose the extraordinary things in life”. Plein told GQ, “I am so proud to open this important flagship in one of the world’s most luxurious and cosmopolitan cities. For me London has always represented the cutting edge in fashion, music and culture and to have my brand present in this grand city is a dream and an honour.”
On Saturday he was in Paris to celebrate the opening of a new store in Paris, for the company’s new activewear line, Plein Sport. The designer said that this aggressive retail strategy is due to his strong belief in the in-store experience, compared to the ultra-technological digital one that is popping out like daisies everywhere on the Internet. Plein Sport sneakers will retail at $300/500, sweatshirts at $250 to $500, and T-shirts are $160 to $270.
Plein is also planning 25 more store openings for his main brand in locations including Bucharest, Philadelphia, Lotte, Seoul, Sawgrass, Barcelona and Beijing. We look forward to seeing what he has set aside for his new show this January, for the first time at the New York Fashion Week.
www.philipp–plein.com/ 94 New Bond Street, London, W1