Fergie and Fat Joe opened and closed Philipp Plein’s Spring 2017 runway show in Milan, which I suppose is something like a cosign of his nu-Moschino-lite, washed-ass 2002 stereotype of what hip-hop fashion looks like. Titled “Alice in Ghettoland,” he staged models (including Paris Hilton) mean-mugging and draped in dookie chains, throwback-J.Lo-style cropped sweatpants, logo sneakers in Olde English straight out of Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. playbook (if it were 2005), freaking SKULL patterns and models carrying bejeweled boomboxes down a runway that looks like the set of Desperate Housewives. Jesus H.
One main theory of why Jeremy Scott’s Moschino is so popular and salable in Italia is that rich Europeans, particularly in that country, can’t get enough of American culture writ large, so that signifiers like a “Windex” bottle or graffiti that might seem overly on-the-nose to us works like gangbusters there. If that is true, Plein’s efforts might make more “sense” in Milan, and perhaps the fantasy-stereotype and even lionizing of fucking “Ghettoland” (?!?!?!) doesn’t translate.
However, Vogue notes that Plein, who is German, has said this will be his last runway in Milan before moving his show to New York City, and Nicole Phelps writes diplomatically that “show titles like Alice in Ghettoland won’t get you far in America.” I’m not sure these garments will, either, even with my total belief in/consternation for the surefire comeback of early ‘00s fashion; like the concept of “Ghetto,” which here seems to be a word deployed simply as a hyper-reductive signifier for hip-hop, these clothes may be too kitsch to really fly in a country where original Versace is so revered we had an entire musical and cultural moment about it (three years ago, at that). According to this runway video, the soundtrack played “MILF Money” into Fatman Scoop’s “Be Faithful” into “Jump Around.” Does Phillip Plein even know Remy Ma shouts out fellow chain-laden label Chanel in “All the Way Up”? Maybe it doesn’t even matter; this is all in service to his interpretation, which is markedly played.