LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant over the weekend at Milan Fashion Week has drawn criticism for coming across as being in poor taste.
Acclaimed German designer Philipp Plein unveiled his Autumn/Winter 2020 collection Saturday in a Milan “mega show,” and it included models donning glittering purple and gold tank tops and hoodies with Kobe’s No. 24.
In the background behind the models – which included actress Jada Pinkett Smith and social media personality Olivia Culpo – the catwalk featured a helicopter.
“Step inside a giant garage space filled with the ultimate collection of big boys toys,” the company said in a news release accompanying the new collection. “A fighter jet, helicopter, offshore boat and super cars all covered in gold leaf.”
The tank tops were priced at an affordable $2,070, while the hoodies were priced at $3,150.
According to Plein, sales from the Kobe-inspired items will go to Bryant’s nonprofit Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
“As a sporting and cultural game changer, Kobe Bryant was the perfect example of what can be achieved with a no limits attitude to dedication,” the company said. “Philip Plein is proud to make a donation in his memory to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation in honour of Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.”
In a statement Monday to Page Six, Plein wrote that the catwalk had been designed prior to Kobe’s death.
“The catwalk setup was already planned and designed in November 2019, way before this tragic accident occurred,” he wrote. “This is the reason why they (sic) were gilded helicopters on the runway. I would have clearly removed them if possible, but it was too late to replace them.”
On Monday morning, thousands of people attended a public memorial service at Staples Center honoring Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
On the morning of Jan. 26, Kobe, Gianna and seven others were killed when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in the Calabasas hills amid heavy fog.