When Philipp Plein’s name is uttered aloud in the fashion industry, it’s associated with as much controversy as Mark Zuckerberg in the tech industry. It’s almost as if Plein asks himself every morning, what can I do today that will make headlines and get my name on people’s tongues (and he doesn’t seem to mind if they’re bad-mouthing him or praising him)?. The German designer is the founder of his eponymous grunge and gothic-inspired label, that’s most memorable motif is the skull (who some say was inspired or imitated off of Alexander McQueen). Whether you’re a fan of the flashy and conspicuous or prefer the subtle and minimalistic, you’ve got to applaud the designer for his questionable yet news-worthy decisions. And the latest of those said decisions, is his Autumn/Winter 2022 runway collection “LIL MONSTERS” which has crystal-clear comparisons to Virgil Abloh‘s designs for Louis Vuitton.

This is not the first time – and we expect not the last – that the designer has been accused of imitating and taking inspiration a bit too far than most designers and fashion critics would like. Back in 2017, Alexander Wang pointed out the similarities between his 2014 Alexander Wang x H&M presentation and Philipp Plein’s latest men’s fashion show at the time, with the caption “Can I copy your homework. Yeah just change it up a bit so it doesn’t look obvious you copied. Ok.” Then in 2020, Plein lost a copyright infringement battle to Ferrari, where he was ordered to pay $355,000. In the same year, he also got called out by none other than fashion watchdog Diet Prada for copying Shawn Stussy x Dior‘s logo motif, as well as faced scrutinizing backlash after he payed tribute to the late Kobe Bryant by repurposing and bedazzling Bryant’s jersey and placing two golden helicopters in his Autumn/Winter 2020 fashion show – less than a month after the basketball legend died from a helicopter crash.

So, are we really surprised that the designer is being called out yet again – this time for imitating Virgil Abloh’s designs at Louis Vuitton? Abloh was known for revamping the face of Louis Vuitton with his futuristic, innovative and artistic designs that included pops of colour, a lot of monogram and metallic textures. One look at Plein’s newest collection and you’ll immediately spot out all the above.

Left: Philipp Plein Fall Winter 2022, courtesy of Hype Beast. Right: Louis Vuitton Duffle, Pinterest
Philipp Plein Fall Winter 2022, courtesy of Hype Beast

Regardless of whether or not Plein was simply inspired by the late Virgil Abloh or he imitated him, one thing’s for sure: Abloh’s genius is non-replicable.