Philipp Plein, a German fashion designer with (what seems like) infinity money and zero taste, has made a name for himself on account of his "I don't give a fuck" attitude and extravagant seasonal runway spectacles, which are usually staged in Milan. But because America doesn't already have enough terrible things going on right now — and because Plein wants to build brand recognition stateside — he decided to help "Make New York Fashion Week Great Again" by bringing his show to the Big Apple for the first time to present his Fall 2017 collection. And let me tell you, it was a mess.
Set inside the historic New York Public Library, the event incorporated every tacky NYC cliché in the book. The venue's beautiful steps were lined with ladies in Statue of Liberty costumes; Elvis and the Naked Cowboy (who wore Plein-branded briefs) took a break from Times Square to play the showgoers in; chain fences and neon signs, including one that read "who the f**k is Philipp Plein," lined the walls; and ushers in sequined taxi outfits helped direct people to their seats. Legendary NYC rapper Nas performed before the show, and megastars like Madonna, Kylie Jenner, Paris Hilton and Fat Joe made up much of the front row. (Tiffany Trump had a front row seat as well, which led several editors to request to be moved and, in a couple of cases, leave altogether.)
Perhaps the biggest stunt of all, though, was the show's casting. In addition to dozens of Victoria's Secret regulars and top Insta-kids like Anwar Hadid, Cami Morrone and Sofia Richie, he assembled a motley crew of models that included Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, fashion photographer Sebastian Faena, New England Patriot Danny Amendola and a trio of rappers: Young Thug, Fetty Wap and Desiigner. However, the most egregious play for attention was the model who opened the show: Jeremy Meeks, more commonly known as the "hot felon" whose dreamy mugshot went viral in 2014, made his runway debut on Monday night, marking the very first fashion week event he's ever participated in.
I spotted Meeks mulling around backstage — shirtless, abs and tattoos glistening under a thick layer of makeup artist-applied body oil — and approached him for a chat. Before I could turn on my recorder, two giant bodyguards flanked us, but thankfully I'm not one to be intimidated easily. Read on for my brief Q&A with Meeks, who according to Twitter chatter, made the rounds at some modeling agencies while he was in town for the show. Full disclosure: This might be the most difficult interview I've ever done, and it's not because I got lost in the model's eyes. (Which are just as blue IRL as they are in his mugshot!)
AVK: I hear you're opening tonight. How does that feel? It's a pretty big honor.
JM: It is a [sic] honor. I'm excited, a little nervous.
Is this your first NYFW show?
It is, my first fashion show.
Fashion show, period? And how did you meet Philipp?
I know people that know people that know him that blessed me, and he [Philipp] honored me with this show.
What are you wearing?
It's a surprise.
And how was it working with Carine Roitfeld [who styled the show]?
This whole experience has been amazing.
What's been your favorite part so far?
I can’t say one thing. This whole thing is just crazy.
Did you follow fashion before you got into modeling?
Yeah, a little bit, I did.
Do you hope to do Milan and Paris?
Definitely. God's will.
What else are you doing in New York besides this show? Any plans meeting with agencies?
You'll have to wait.
So you have aspirations to do more modeling.
I feel like I need to get more out of you! What else can we learn about you, Jeremy?
Not too much! You're going to have to wait and see. I'm sorry.
So have you seen any of the other shows this week?
Not too much. I've just been kind of busy and getting ready for this show.
What did you do to prepare? Did you do any extra working out or beauty treatments?
Definitely worked out a lot.
Can you be a little more specific about what you like to do?
A lot of pull-ups, a lot of calisthenics, burpees, push-ups.
You have really nice skin — do you do anything special to take care of it?
Nah, I'm blessed.
Are there any models or other fashion people that you've met and have been starstruck by this week?
Last question, is there anything about doing the fittings, or the styling or casting process that surprised you? How late the nights were?
I really didn't know what to expect, so I just took it as it went. Just roll with the punches.