Designer Phillip Plein makes donation after facing backlash for distasteful Kobe Bryant tribute - The Sauce
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Designer Phillip Plein makes donation after facing backlash for distasteful Kobe Bryant tribute

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Swan Gallet/WWD/Shutterstock (10559620ah) Olivia Culpo on the catwalk Philipp Plein show, Runway, Fall Winter 2020, Milan Fashion Week, Italy - 22 Feb 2020

Designer Phillip Plein has received harsh criticism for his most recent Milan Fashion Week presentation. The show which angered many was dubbed “distasteful” and “insensitive” was regarded as a quick money-grab from the designer.

Plein is known for his exaggerated presentations which often feature over-the-top set design, and this show was no different. The Plein team placed a golden helicopter in the center of the catwalk, as models dressed in 24 Lakers jerseys branded “Plein” debuted a tribute collection before a room full of fashion-lovers. But Twitter users were quick to reprimand the designer for the horrid show concept that was widely considered as tone-deaf given the recent death of Kobe Bryant.

The designer pieces made their way to the catwalk, with various renowned models and public figures including Red Table Talks host Jada Pinkett Smith, social media personality Olivia Culpo and YouTuber Alec Monopoly dressed in Plein’s creations.

Defending the out of touch set, Plein said the catwalk was planned and designed in November, “way before this tragic accident occurred” on Jan. 26.  “This is the reason why they were gilded helicopters on the runway,” Plein wrote. “I would have clearly removed them if possible, but it was too late to replace them.” 

According to USA Today, Plein made a $20,000 donation in Bryant’s memory to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation in honor of him and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna following the major backlash. The designer also explained that profits from the capsule collection will be donated to the foundation, though it is unclear how much.

Plein has been branded a culture vulture, for his actions. The designer’s bedazzled number 24 Laker jersey with the word “Plein” in front that is currently selling on his website for upwards of $3,000 according to Paper Magazine. The apology and donation has done little to clear his name, with many asking buyers to boycott the designer brand.

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi were among 9 souls that passed away from a helicopter crash on 26th January 2020 as reported on The Sauce.

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