“We have here the best shoes in the game, the best shoes in the game,” repeated German designer Philipp Plein at the launch party of his sneaker collaboration with Snoop Dogg — who’s taking the stage at PMC’s LA3C festival this weekend. His iPhone in hand, Plein filmed a close-up of the sparkly purple kicks, panning up to Snoop’s smile. The rapper flashed a peace sign, blunt in mouth.
“But what is even better is the guy who’s wearing the shoes,” Plein continued. “Look at this. Who’s that, baby? Who’s that?”
“Hello,” purred Snoop, playing along.
“And look, look who’s standing in front of me,” Plein went on, revealing musician Tommy Lee — who performed at Plein’s last show in Milan.
“It’s the one and only Tommy Lee,” said Snoop. “It’s a legendary night, baby.”
It was an intimate gathering on Monday night inside “Chateau Falconview,” Plein’s Bel Air home.
“This house is gorgeous,” remarked a guest, admiring the grand staircase, high ceilings and sprawling L.A. view.
“You know this is just the guest house, right?” she was told.
The main residence was up the winding road, sitting on 3.6 acres at a property reportedly worth $200 million.
Combining Plein’s Gothic aesthetic and Snoop Dogg’s legacy in the music world, with Lakers colors in mind, the two are offering a sneaker in two styles: a black and gold colorway designed with a platform heel, patent black leather body and gold logo, as well as a purple, black and yellow colorway embellished with crystals.
“Me and Philipp have been friends for a few years,” said Snoop, who famously grew up in Long Beach, California. “We’ve done a few events together, some runway shows in different countries. We decided to come up with a collaboration, so I wanted to put my influence on a shoe, but I wanted him to perfect the show so I didn’t really have too much to do with creative as much as him and his team did, because I trust what they do. So, we collaborated on a shoe, representing my country, representing his country, representing my favorite colors, his favorite colors. And it’s the Snoop line, and it’s available in different styles, different flavors. You can walk to it, dance to it. You can work out to it. You can wear it with pants, shorts, sweats. You can wear it with anything. It’s made for everybody.”
“I was into fashion and going overseas buying his clothes,” Snoop said of his relationship with Plein. “He was a fan of mine, I was a fan of his. Naturally, we reached out to each other and just connected and built a brotherhood. One thing about me, if I like somebody, I like some particular brand, I want to reach out to the people doing it so they can get a relationship with me, personal.”
How has his own style evolved through the decades?
“I just feel like I’m able to adapt to my environment, because I am the environment,” said Snoop. “I feel like, if it’s not cool, I can make it cool, so whatever it is, I’m always going to make it look like it’s supposed to look.”
Chatting with a group of reporters, Plein emphasized the importance of “authentic” partnerships. Snoop, who’s become a friend, has performed at his past shows. And both the rapper’s father and son have walked the designer’s runway, he explained. It’s “a family business,” he said.
“There are a lot of brands who collaborate with people just for money,” Plein continued. “It’s nice to have a relationship with people who really like what you’re doing. And the other way around.…That is what it’s all about. That’s the only chance for me to exist, you know. Obviously, we are in an industry which is dominated by huge, big fashion groups. These big groups, of course, they dominate this industry with the power they have, the money they have and the influence they have. So, we are still a small fish in the shark tank. And we have to be different. It’s the only reason why we can exist. It’s the only way to be relevant.…Either you’re better, and if you’re not better, you have to be different. And we cannot be better than they are, you know, because they are so much bigger than we are.”
Speaking passionately, he continued: “The fashion industry is really changing a lot. I feel sometimes a little bit like a dinosaur, because the fashion designers who own their own brand, who work for their own brand and give their name to their own brand is really a dying species…Nowadays, it’s a completely different environment. Most of the brands are dominated by financial groups, investors, management boards.…Numbers are more important sometimes than anything else….Designers are nowadays somehow treated like football players. There’s a transfer market. You play for five years for this team, for this brand, and if you don’t bring the numbers, you will be sold again, and you will need to find another job somewhere. Brands are using, sometimes abusing, designers, taking their creativity. I don’t want to say stealing it. They pay for it. But they’re taking it as long as they have a need for it, and then they throw them away, and they take somebody else. It’s changed the industry. And what happens is consumers sometimes don’t understand….Sometimes you don’t know if you’re looking at Celine or Saint Laurent. What is it? Is it Celine or Saint Laurent? Things are happening. And people don’t want to speak about it, because they’re big houses.”
The event wrapped around 10 p.m., after Plein and Snoop shared dessert: an oversized cake (too big to bring inside). It was an exact replica of the purple shoe.
“How is it, Snoop?” he was asked.
In addition to the Plein Dogg collaboration, it was announced on Wednesday that the rapper is partnering with lifestyle brand Stevenson Ranch on a five-piece capsule collection for his Death Row Records label.
His work with Plein is the latest project from Snoop Dogg this year in the fashion world. Last month, the rapper launched a pet clothing and accessories line called Snoop Doggie Doggs offering styles for dogs and cats.
This March, Snoop Dogg joined e-sports organization FaZe Clan’s board where he was tasked with launching a youth community outreach program as well as bringing entertainment industry experience to the platform. Snoop Dogg was also tapped by Kim Kardashian this month to model in her Skims holiday campaign alongside his wife, children and grandchildren where they modeled the brand’s Cozy Collection.
Snoop Dogg’s Plein Dogg collection is available at Plein’s stores and website.