At Philipp Plein: Fergie Down the Rabbit Hole

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At Philipp Plein: Fergie Down the Rabbit Hole

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MILAN — Alice’s rabbit hole had nothing on fashion week. The surreal multimillion-dollar extravaganzas staged each season in Milan by Philipp Plein, the German king of nouveau riche bling, can make Wonderland look like a cornfield.

Or Ghettoland, to be more specific, the theme of his show on Wednesday night. And his Cheshire Cat was Fergie, the American popstar who in July released “M.I.L.F. $,” a sexed-up, dairy-drenched comeback single with viral video to match.

“Philipp just rang and said he wanted to build something fantasy-based for his show, specifically a set inspired by the one I had in my M.I.L.F. money music video — but as if everyone were on ’shrooms,” Fergie said from her backstage dressing room, 30 minutes after the spectacle was meant to have started. Where’s the White Rabbit when you need him?

Her video, which has 108 million views on YouTube, is set in a candy-colored town called Milfville and stars famous mothers like Kim Kardashian West, Chrissy Teigen and Amber Valletta in 1950s-style lingerie, some of whom go on to shower in milk.

Fergie, 41, whose name actually is Stacy Ann Ferguson and who is married to the actor Josh Duhamel, said she had “nursed the mantra for the song — excuse the pun,” while she was breast-feeding their son, Axl, now 3. She said she wanted to show women that motherhood could be sexy and that they also could stay true to themselves.

Mr. Plein, who just opened an almost 32,300-square-foot showroom in the center of Milan for his new luxury activewear brand, Plein Sport, apparently was on board with the philosophy.

“It was weird, but I just felt Philipp and I were totally on the same wavelength,” Fergie said. “I was flattered he had been inspired by my video — which had hints of Italian Vogue to it — and loved the idea of calling the show Alice in Ghettoland. And he’s such a showman, I knew we could put on something unforgettable.”

That meant models including Alessandra Ambrosio and the socialite Paris Hilton walking the candy-colored runway in disappearing denim or leather, slashed silks, clashing animal prints, and accessorized with heavy gold chains worn like holsters and thick waist-whittling belts. The stadium was transformed into a psychedelic 1950s suburban idyll, full of playhouses and white picket fences, bare-chested milkmen and paperboys as well as a towering garden gnome with flashing eyes and the word Pimp emblazoned across its chest. The rapper Fat Joe turned up; there was a full marching band with branded Philipp Plein drums. Fergie drove around the stadium singing from a giant convertible before taking to her stage: a giant, neon-lit carnival carousel with flying swings that provided seats for the models, who were twirled up in the air for the grand finale.

Even for a man who in past seasons has featured Courtney Love performing with giant guitar-playing robots, and Chris Brown rapping from fire-breathing monster trucks, this was beyond the looking glass. Then it emerged there was a reason: The show was Mr. Plein’s Italian swan song.

“This show is my thank-you for the people of Milan. As of next season, we are moving the show to New York,” Mr. Plein announced, to gasps of disappointment from the assembled crowd. Still, it made sense: In an interview with The Times in February, Mr. Plein had indicated his intention to open five stores in the United States this year, and a total of 35 over the next five years.

Fergie, in baby blue thigh-high gladiator sandals, denim cutoffs, gold chains and a white T-shirt, said she was delighted to have come along for the ride: “I love how over the top this is — how everyone is encouraged to feel like a kid again and just have the time of their lives,” she said. “It is a grand finale after all. And Philipp? Well he’s the Mad Hatter, running around making sure it all goes like clockwork.”

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