Hot on the (tiger embossed) heels of the Plein Sport presentation during January’s Milan Men’s Fashion Week, Philipp Plein launched his first Plein Sport U.S. retail location at 119 Spring Street in New York’s SoHo on the eve of New York Fashion Week.
Unlike the 300 odd Plein Sport self service stores rolling out this year in premium malls in Europe, (first stop Madrid), The New York incarnation occupies a spot on hip retail location Spring Street in SoHo where activewear neighbors number Alo Yoga and adidas.
While Plein Sport New York may not follow aforementioned European model, it follows the Plein model. Just like the Philipp Plein London boutique on the English capital’s Old Bond Street which opened in 2022 with a web3 pop-up gallery prior to becoming a fully fledged store, the ephemeral SoHo location, for which he has signed a 10-year lease, is set to morph into a Philipp Plein brand flagship further down the line.
Plein’s U.S. vision for the new Plein Sport brand entails a local approach whereby each destination store is site specific, targeting a local clientele, and solidly rooted in the culture of the area it occupies.
Plein tapped New York hip hop royalty Jadakiss to perform a live set at the boutique’s inauguration.
“Plein Sport has to be local as we want to target the local client in every country we go so we wanted to connect with local celebrities and Jadakiss is a legendary hip hop artist and a part of New York history,” he said.
Jadakiss who is signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, performed at the recent Grammy Awards ceremony to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the hip hop genre alongside Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, RUN-DMC and many more.
The SoHo store features a giant mural by female New York based street artist Victoria Leigh Poplaski, who creates under the handle VLPOPART. It took a week to complete, says Plein, because she works with pen and ink rather than using spray paint like her more traditional graffiti artist counterparts.
Customers trying on the brand’s sneakers, which make up the mainstay of its output, will perch on resoundingly urban, black Plein Sport emblazoned skateboards integrated into industrial style crates.
The Spring Street store is a bricks and mortar version of the mobile truck concept Plein is using in Europe to assess the viability of mall locations before committing to a lease. The store’s interior mirrors that of aforementioned truck.
Another facet integral to the Plein Sport brand is its relationship with the emerging web3 culture. Its Thunder Stroke GEN.X.02 sneaker premiered in Milan last month is sold with a corresponding NFT artwork designed by Plein and web3 3D artist Antoni Tudisco under the monicker Crypto King$. Tudisco also works with Moncler, a brand similarly embracing the medium.
Tudisco’s work is projected onto the walls of Plein Sport SoHo where all merchandise is available to buy in both Fiat and Cryptocurrency.
“Creating this store was a lot of fun,” says Plein. “It felt like Philipp Plein 20 years ago because we did everything ourselves. We did everything freestyle. We didn’t use an architect. We built the benches and painted the skate boards. With Philipp Plein, everything is more corporate. It’s perfect but the edge is missing.”
Look out for the second Plein Sport U.S. destination store popping up in Beverly Hills next month. Like New York, the decor will draw inspiration from L.A.’s own cultural scene. With similar edge guaranteed.
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