Philipp Plein attends the Philipp Plein boutique opening on December 21, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)

Philipp Plein Just Body-Shamed A Reporter on Instagram

The designer posted a picture of Amanda Bynes, apparently mistaking her for reporter Alexandra Mondalek.

by Emma Specter
Feb 13 2019, 3:39pm

Philipp Plein attends the Philipp Plein boutique opening on December 21, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)

It's Fashion Week, which means New York is once again awash in talk of body positivity. An increasing number of brands, from Chromat to Gypsy Sport, are walking the walk and sending models of all shapes and sizes down the runway—but, as Victoria’s Secret Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek’s comments about trans and plus-size models this November ably demonstrated, the fashion industry still has a long way to go.

That truth was echoed this week by designer Philipp Plein, who took to Instagram to post a series of irate, body-shaming stories targeting Alexandra Mondalek, a reporter who wrote a negative review of his Fall 2019 dinner show on Monday for Fashionista.

"Next time I will make sure you get enough food! I promise," Plein wrote atop an old photo of Mondalek, interspersing clown faces and images of Spongebob Squarepants's Patrick Starr eating burgers over Mondalek's tweets critiquing the show. Bafflingly, the last image Plein posted—inscribed with the message "Next time you want a free meal babe show up on time at the show 😘"—was actually of actress Amanda Bynes, not Mondalek. (Mondalek maintains she was on time to the show.)

The sequence of events that led to Plein's Instagram meltdown kicked off at Monday night's show, when, Mondalek told GARAGE on Wednesday, she was met with a chaotic line outside the event—"typical Plein." Mondalek experienced difficulty finding her seat and was "smushed" into a bar/balcony area with "I don't know how many other people. Maybe 100?" for the roughly two-hour duration of the event. Frustrated, Mondalek began to tweet.

"It wasn't about the food, it was about how you present an event," Mondalek told GARAGE, noting that "everyone I’ve worked with at [Plein's PR agency] Karla Otto has been really respectful of me in the past and I feel like there’s a mutual respect there. Even if I have opinions about how the event was handled, I don’t think they’re responsible for Plein's behavior. That said, do I think anyone in fashion should work with someone who is so grossly disrespectful to women, or to anyone? No."

"I wrote my story for Fashionista, and it obviously wasn’t a nice review, but I’ve reviewed Plein for Yahoo Style in the past, and that was more of a reported piece focusing on his business, so I felt like I was in a position to describe the sequence of events as they happened," Mondalek said. "Fashionista published the story—honestly, I didn’t think it would get much traction, I’m not Robin Givhan. But the next thing I know, my Twitter DMs are blowing up with people I don’t know, people are tagging me in Plein's instagram stories. I saw the stories at 9pm last night, and he's since deleted them. I’m not anticipating an apology."

Mondalek, who sat down with Plein for an hourlong interview at his Upper East Side home two years ago, sees the incident as indicative of a larger pattern of physical judgment at work within the fashion industry, telling GARAGE: "It sucks to be put into this position where the most personal thing to you — your body — is put up for judgment to over a million and a half people. Even though we’ve come a long way in fashion in celebrating difference, there are miles to go in terms of reaching true body positivity and equality."

"When we discuss body positivity," Mondalek continued, "we do so with the image of someone who’s a size 14, a size 16 or above — for me, I was a size 10 [at the time the photo Plein posted was taken], and I’m a size 6 now. Not that any of that matters—the crux of the issue is that you shouldn’t talk about anybody's body—but it just shows that there’s so much judgment outside of the 2-4 spectrum. If you don’t look like an influencer or a model, theres' room for judgment there."

What about the Amanda Bynes pic? "Maybe someone tagged me as Amanda Bynes on BFA? It’s definitely weird. I have never met Amanda Bynes, I think that photo was from the Paper shoot she did, which I had no involvement in either. I don’t know if it was just a blind rage for him, or what."

GARAGE has reached out to a press representative for Philipp Plein for comment, and will update this story accordingly when we hear back.