“This is the Plein Circus,” Philipp Plein said with his baby son Rocket in his arms. We were just minutes away from the staging of a 15-look resort collection at his Cannes villa on the final evening of the annual Film Festival.
Plumes of multicolor flowers were woven into the green foliage and guests walked under archways replete with Hollywood lights and circus-themed cut-out letters. A glitter rainbow runway snaked through the pools and fountains of the villa, which he calls La Jungle du Roi. The clothes fit right in; in fact, Plein transported his designers from the atelier to his guest house to work on the collection.
“I’m a very colorful guy,” he said, describing the lineup as “happy, dressy, and costumey,” a response to the post-pandemic demand for evening wear and cocktail dresses. Lighter and a little more zippy than the moody, rock glamour of his recent fall collection, it nonetheless delivered on the designer’s proudly anti-minimalist promise.
Models in jester-inspired makeup wore outfits designed to dance in, like a barely-there, jacket-and-skirt suit in fuchsia with rhinestone pinstripe detailing and a tangerine ruched minidresses with shoulder pads paired with cowboy boots in the same coruscating shade. Some dresses looked 1970s in silhouette, a feather-light paisley-print sheer number in pastel and cerulean blue and another with the pattern studded entirely in pink and lilac diamantes, among them. Then, we got what felt like the trademark Plein hedonism: a maxi dress in neon tie-dye, replete with acid-house smileys.
Plein led the final march, baby Rocket in arm, as Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” played and the models winked and vamped. Even a runway crasher, who posed for the audience’s iPhone cameras before being swiftly removed, couldn’t break his smile.