Ever since the tragic helicopter crash that shocked the world broke the news on the 26th of January, the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna "Gigi" Marie Bryant has been getting left and right tributes from family, friends and fans worldwide.
While the intentions are pure to celebrate the life of the NBA legend and his aspiring basketball player daughter, instead of reliving Kobe's legacy, some tribute earned criticisms from people who are keeping an eye.
Just like fashion designer Philipp Plein, who has been getting online backlash after having a somewhat questionable Fashion Week tribute to the Lakers superstar.
Over the weekend, Plein debuted his 2020 autumn and winter collection at the Milan Fashion Week. The event was graced by several Hollywood stars, including Jada Pinkett-Smith and Olivia Culpo.
Plein decided to honor the 41-year-old athlete by letting his models wear a purple and gold bedazzled jersey and a hooded sweatshirt with number 24 as they walk down the runway.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by PHILIPP PLEIN OFFICIAL (@philipppleinofficial) on Feb 24, 2020 at 3:01am PST
View this post on InstagramA post shared by PHILIPP PLEIN OFFICIAL (@philipppleinofficial) on Feb 22, 2020 at 3:35pm PST
But instead of the words "Lakers," the fancy jersey has Plein's last name filled with golden bling. Apart from that, the models also ramp a catwalk that features two gold-coated helicopters.
According to Plein's website, the runway's design aims to unleash a giant garage mood filled with ultimate big boy toys, such as a fighter jet, helicopter, offshore boat and sports cars.
"This is the playground of someone who can have anything they want," the description states.
However, the internet was not pleased with the aesthetic of the catwalk, and particularly pointed out how disrespectful it is to display two helicopters while honoring Kobe at the same time.
distasteful, tacky & material waste. philipp plein who has so long been making clothing that adds nothing but clutter to the fashion landscape has decided to include gold helicopters along his crystal basketball jerseys after the passing of kobe & gianna bryant. its disgusting. pic.twitter.com/zvFq4oU5gG — ꪑꫀꪀᦔꫀꪶ (@gaultiercouture) February 23, 2020
Philipp Plein made two gold helicopters for his show today, which falls 27 days after Kobe died in a helicopter crash BUT DONT WORRY he whipped up a bunch of Swarovski Kobe jerseys (with “Plein” written on them??) so it’s cool. Fuck you, Philipp. pic.twitter.com/UHjbubXuG9 — Bliss Foster (@BlissFoster) February 23, 2020
this is disappointing, distasteful, and disrespectful .Philipp Plein making a “tribute” to Kobe Bryant by featuring a gold helicopter and tastelessly placing his name all over lakers style jerseys with kobe’s number. I am actually shocked. pic.twitter.com/AD4gBjY0zm — b e l l e (@bellesmiith) February 23, 2020
I’d say I’m surprised but Philipp Plein is a scumbag. He also made two gold helicopters for his show. Fuck you Philipp for bastardizing the Bryant legacy. : @BlissFoster pic.twitter.com/eghTy8IfSg — nyoldman (@NYDoorman) February 23, 2020
In a statement, the 42-year-old German designer explained that the runway design had been conceptualized back in November 2019, two months before the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna and seven other passengers.
Plein said that it was too late for them to change the plans and remove the commissioned helicopters for the show.
"I would have clearly removed them if possible, but it was too late to replace them," Plein said in a statement released on USA Today.
The designer made it clear that he was also affected by the tragedy involving Kobe and Gigi, and the fashion show tribute is his only way to express admiration and respect for the late father-and-daughter tandem and their 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," Plein said.
Plein added that he is doing something to support the foundation made to keep Kobe and Gigi's legacy, pointing that his "actions speak louder than words."
"Philipp Plein is proud to support (the) MAMBA & MAMBACITA FOUNDATION. A tribute to a legend," the designer's website reads.
Plein also told USA Today that the profits from the "Plein 24" Kobe-inspired collection will be donated to the foundation and that the first $200,000 was sent a day before his fashion week show.