Never one to live by halves, brash and proud Philipp Plein came back to Milan with a bang, his show punctuated by performances from Chris Brown, dance duo Ayo and Teo, rapper 6ix9ine and the cast of Cirque le Soir. Plein, who showed his women’s collection in New York until this season, booked Rita Ora for the after-party.

Next year, Plein will mark the 20th anniversary of his label, having started in furniture before shifting into fashion. His spring show, a tribute to Michael Jackson, was a warm-up for the big 2019 anniversary.

“We have a lot going on because that’s what people expect from Philipp Plein,” said the designer in the vast, crowded backstage where his mother, ex-wife and current girlfriend were all hanging out with him before the show.

“Sometimes, maybe we do put too much on the plate, but people have expectations that we are here to fulfill. So there’s this sort of pressure, an obligation to stage the extreme show,” he said.

Nearly 200 guests sat along a seemingly mile-long mirrored table, waiting for well over an hour for the show to begin. When it did, they looked up at the mirrored catwalk, watching performers leap around and sing and male and female models strut in black bondage, biker and rock ‘n’ roll gear. There were enough straps, belts, buckles and chunky silver hardware to dress a Hells Angels convention.

Winnie Harlow opened the show in a pair of thigh-high, silvery embellished buckle boots, and it all rolled from there. Dresses were so short that models needed their butt cheeks touched up with foundation before hitting the catwalk. Men walked in white suits or wore abstracted drummer boy, Jackson-style jackets, sparkly socks and short glittering boots. There was a camo moment, too, in the form of a short dress nipped at the waist and a long anorak with sparkly Plein branding on the back. It was glam and proud.

“It’s a Michael Jackson tribute. I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the king of pop. He was a legend, a style icon, and he set so many new trends. He really made a difference,” the designer said.

At the end of the show, live sparks rained down on guests, causing some of them to jump out of their seats, afraid they’d be burnt. It was a thriller for some, but not for others.

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