Philipp Plein has defended the use of helicopters on the runway during his tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
The designer presented his fall/winter 2020 collection as part of Milan Fashion Week on Saturday and also used the occasion to debut a capsule line that was created in honour of the basketball icon and his daughter, Gianna.
Kobe and the 13-year-old, nicknamed Gigi, were killed, along with seven others, when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed in Los Angeles on 26 January.
Plein enlisted the likes of Olivia Culpo and Jada Pinkett-Smith to showcase his tribute to the sportsman during the spectacle, with the stars wearing sparkly purple and gold tops which featured Kobe’s jersey number from when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, it was the gilded Philipp Plein-branded helicopters, planes, and yachts included in the extravagant set that irked fans, who took to social media to criticise the thoughtlessness.
In light of the backlash, Plein issued a statement on Monday defending his show and explained that the backdrop was designed back in November, two months before the basketballer’s tragic death.
“I would have clearly removed them if possible, but it was too late to replace them,” he commented, noting that the profits from the capsule collection would be donated to the organisation set up in honour of Kobe and his daughter, the Mamba & Mambacita Sport Foundation. “This tragedy affected myself and all the world deeply, and I feel that my fashion show has been the best moment to express my respect and admiration or Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and his family. It is sad to see how something positive and constructive can be misinterpreted by people who obviously want to interpret negatively without even having a reason.”
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