Shock gave way to confusion mid angry tweet as a gaggle of performers burst onto the stage behind the runway animatedly singing and dancing to Grease‘s “Summer Nights”, the film setting the tone for the ‘bad boy’ leather jacket clad themed collection. Set in the 1950s it coincidentally seems to be the era from which Plein’s views on feminism come too, if our earlier announcement was anything to go by. And in another blatant flouting of the rules of decency and a hark back to this bygone decade, each model took to the runway smoking a cigarette or with one tucked behind their ear because, incase we don’t all know, smoking is cool and edgy. A vape would have at least felt more relevant.
The retro 50s theme was offset by a fleet of flashy super cars, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, BMWs and a metallic McLaren, driving behind bursts of fire in a scene more fitting to a Dubai-based episode of Top Gear than a fashion show that, when paired with the anti-feminist pussy rhetoric, left a bitter taste. It was coined #Fast and Glorious, though fast and farcical seems more appropriate.
Fashion can be empowering and awe-inspiring, can be a tool for protest, a sign of the times and a mark of freedom but here felt reduced to, at best, stereotypes of overt materialism and at worst, offensive, outdated caricatures. Already this week designers have commented that fashion should be a reflection of the world around us, yet the Plein show only served to highlight so much of what is wrong with it. Plein is a designer that wants to make an impact, wants to be heard. And tonight he was. Loud and clear.