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My Night at Philipp Plein’s $13 Million Townhouse

Animation: The Cut

If you know anything about German designer Philipp Plein, it’s that he’s a maximalist with a theatrical flair. His loyal shoppers can’t seem to get enough of his shiny, logo-fied luxury fashion. Plein started his namesake brand 25 years ago but was little known in the United States until the 2010s, when he started staging increasingly elaborate runway shows — some of his past sets have included a functional roller coaster and a full-size pool with performers on Jet Skis. Then there’s his no-expense-spared lifestyle. His newest home, a $200 million estate in Bel Air dubbed Chateau Falconview, is less a mansion than a palace.

With all that in mind, I arrived Tuesday evening at Plein’s Upper East Side townhouse, estimated to have cost him around $13 million, ready for excess. All I knew was that the designer, who usually shows in Milan, was hosting a cocktail party for New York Fashion Week. The façade was dark, and I worried I had the address wrong until I spotted Plein’s logo etched in marble above the entry. As soon as the door opened, I knew I was in the right place. Every surface seemed covered in mirrors, marble, or glass.

A Plein employee in a fitted suit welcomed me, requesting I remove my shoes as he took my coat. My fuzzy Bombas socks and I ventured up a marble staircase etched with “162” (the house number) and the New York Yankees logo — Plein’s symbol for the house. I was led to a dining room, where every inch of a shiny long table was covered with sandwiches and desserts from the restaurant Sant Ambroeus. The table was surrounded by alcoves filled with bottles of luxury Champagne and Bearbrick dolls, a popular collectible among the streetwear set. The snack spread was more than enough to feed what was ultimately a smaller gathering than I expected — only about a dozen people, mostly editors and stylists who kept to the first two of the home’s six floors.

Photo: Dion/Courtesy fo Philipp Plein

Plein was nowhere to be found, so I headed up another level, where I found a pair of plush, white, mirrored sitting rooms with innumerable crystal chandeliers and some of the largest candles I’ve ever seen, branded with Philipp Plein’s hexagon logo. (Online, I later found they can burn for 800 hours.) Hermès blankets covered every sofa. In one of the rooms, Plein was deep in what looked like a business meeting with the rapper and actor Ice-T. “I might be involved with Philipp down the road,” Ice-T told me later, marveling at Plein’s home. “Anybody can have money, but style? This is dripping in style. It’s exciting. You walk in and it’s like, yo.” Ice-T asked me how long I think Plein spent renovating this home after he bought it in 2015. Five years? “Six months,” he said. I wonder how that could be possible. “It’s Philipp Plein,” Ice-T said. “He knows all the people.”

David Granados Photo: Dion/Courtesy fo Philipp Plein

“What’s crazy is that this house has the number 162; that’s my birthday [February 16, European date style],” Plein told me on a one-on-one tour of his home. The designer was barefoot, wearing camo cargo pants with skulls and a denim shirt unbuttoned past his sternum. After grabbing a few of his favorite Haribo candy worms displayed near the stairs on a dish held by a silver dragon, Plein showed me one of the most striking elements of the house: The entryway is lined by a lattice of gold wooden branches and dotted with teardrop-shaped crystals, custom-made by a company in Portugal, he explained. He chose it because it doesn’t block the light coming from the windows on the front of the house. Light is huge for Plein, who later showed me how he lined the windowsills in the back of the house with mirrors to reflect more sunshine, an idea he borrowed from the residences at the Plaza Hotel. Upstairs, he showed me his son Rocket’s pristine red, white, and blue bedroom, where the bed was built into a miniature propeller plane. “When we come here, he has to fly here, so,” Plein said. “In another house, we have a hot air balloon.”

Aside from Plein himself, the most strikingly dressed guest was a young Colombian model, actor, and singer named David Granados, who loved Plein’s “unapologetic” style. His fitted, studded leather biker jacket was covered in graffiti, including the phrase “chosen one fuck the rest,” one of Granados’s favorite details.

“As a Latino and as a queer person, sometimes I feel like I have to be in that mind-set, to own my game and be the main character of my own story,” said Granados. He wore the jacket with a white pearl crucifix necklace — designed by his mother, a jewelry designer in Colombia — and distressed, skinny Plein jeans covered with patches of silver paint. Granados, who never removed his pair of futuristic black Prada sunglasses throughout the party, had picked up the entire look earlier that very same day.

I caught Ice-T after he finished talking business with Plein and was digging into the sandwich spread. “I’ve been buying Philipp Plein since before I met him,” he said, describing the brand as the “Lamborghini of clothes” and Plein as humble and cool. “He could be the most obnoxious bastard” given all his success, he said. Tonight, Ice-T is wearing an understated black Hugo Boss shirt, but when he goes clubbing, he often wears a Philipp Plein T-shirt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones and covered in diamonds. “If they try to stop me at the door, I’m like — this is an $800 T-shirt, fall back.” The price is worth it to Ice-T because he says Plein’s stuff is durable if he takes care of it, unlike his first luxury purchase: an $800 Versace belt he wore every day until the gold plating faded. He took it to the store hoping they could fix it. “What do you do with your belt fades? Like, if I thought they were gonna fix it. They said, ‘You buy another one.’”

While Ice-T still loves luxury fashion, he’s learned as he’s aged that material things are less important than he once thought they were. “Like living with two chicks, you know, you think is gonna be fun. No, no, maybe for 24 hours.”

My Night at Philipp Plein’s $13 Million Townhouse