German fashion designer Philipp Plein is no stranger to audacious publicity stunts. He made headlines in September for featuring the transsexual model Lea T. in his Milan runway show, further defying convention by having Lea smoke a cigarette on the catwalk. His taste in celebrity casting also raised eyebrows when Lindsay Lohan became the face of his Spring/Summer 2012 campaign and Ed Westwick walked the runway in Plein’s Spring/Summer 2013 menswear show.
But not even what appeared to be male twins making out in Plein’s most recent ad campaign holds a candle to the designer’s most recent shock and awe maneuver. In yesterday’s Autumn/Winter 2013 fashion show, Plein accessorized his military-themed collection with balaclavas, gas masks, and automatic weapons waved at the audience as models walked the runway. Plein drove the point home with messages like “Life’s a game and it’s not fair” and “Only kill for love” stenciled in red on models’ bodies.
In the wake of the Newtown tragedy and the ensuing debates over gun control, Plein’s strategy (or mode of artistic expression) seems particularly alarming. When is a runway show just that — a show — and when does it cross the line? Check out some of the photos here.
MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 14: A model walks the runway during the Philipp Plein show during Milan Fashion Week Menswear Autumn/Winter 2013 on January 14, 2013 in Milan, Italy.
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