'Bizarre, mean, and incredibly unprofessional': Designer slammed for fat shaming writer who reviewed his collection

Designer Phillip Plein <em>(Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Philip Plein)</em>
Designer Phillip Plein (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Philip Plein)

A fashion journalist is being targeted by a designer after she wrote a scathing but honest review of his New York Fashion Week show.

After receiving an invitation to cover Philipp Plein’s show, held at an upscale restaurant in Manhattan, freelance writer Alexandra Mondalek was quickly unimpressed.

Slated as a three-course black-tie dinner event, Mondalek said there was barely standing room and that not everyone was fed. Because everyone was so crammed in, she also said that it was hard to actually see the clothing, which she also was not impressed by.

In her review of the event for Fashionista, she called the show “tragic.”

“It’s hard to see how Plein’s vapid, soulless and cheap aesthetic fits at all into where fashion is going — let alone how tone deaf his gross displays of personal wealth are in today’s society — so perhaps it’s best we leave it behind altogether,” Mondalek wrote.

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After her piece was published, she started getting DMs on social media calling her “fat” and “ugly.” She quickly found out that Plein had posted about her multiple times to his Instagram account, which has more than 1.5 million followers.

Plein criticized both her work and her weight, posting pictures of her with offensive stickers about her body as well as clown emojis, which Mondalek screengrabbed.

Mondalek recounted Plein’s unprofessional and hurtful behaviour in an essay for InStyle.

“Rather than begin a discourse with me, the fashion writer, about my review, Plein came after me, the person,” she wrote. “As I was writing criticism of Plein’s work, I welcome criticism — harsh or otherwise — on my own. It’s what any of us hopes to do when we challenge a designer to do better, by writing that their collection fell short.”

“But to lash out at a review and attack my body? It’s hurtful, but also neither here nor there,” she continued. “I was deeply ashamed of the photos he’d posted of me, before realizing it is Plein who should be ashamed.”

Despite being “shattered,” Mondalek said it was important to hold people accountable for their behaviour.

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“What is clear is the he thinks weight, and eating, are things women should be ashamed of. It was bizarre, mean, and incredibly unprofessional.”

Plein has since deleted the posts and posted a series of stories to his Instagram page.

“I’m reaching out to you because I really wanted to make a few things clear here,” he said. “I got really, really upset when I saw your article and your tweets.”

“I don’t really know if you’re aware of how much work and energy I put into that show,” he continued. “I felt your article was not really based on facts but more, like, emotional and so I got really emotional also.

“I definitely made a mistake of putting up a picture of you and food,” he said. “You were talking about food. If you’d talked about chairs I would have put up chairs. I have no problem with overweight. I use overweight models in my fashion shows and campaigns.”

Plein ended the video by inviting Mondalek back to another show where he promised she would be accommodated.

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