Fake “Kanye West” at Philipp Plein is the First Big Scam of 2019

Philipp Plein is reportedly out nearly $1 million as a result of the alleged scam.

Kanye West
Will Heath/Getty Images

This season’s memes might leave something to be desired, but its scams, well, they’re pretty top-notch. Designer Philipp Plein fell prey to the first great scam of 2019 (Dan Mallory, of course, really being a 2018, and earlier, scam) when he booked who he thought was Kanye West to play at his New York Fashion Week presentation this week. It turned out, he did not book Kanye West. Seems the summer of scam, which started all the way back in 2017 if you can believe it, is still going strong.

TMZ reported Friday morning that a “former friend and associate of G.O.O.D. Music” reached out to Plein, positioning himself as West’s representative, in order to coordinate a performance; he negotiated a $900,000 contract for West to appear at the label’s Monday evening event. “Kanye West” even signed the contract—TMZ published a photo of the alleged agreement, signature and all, though The Cut pointed out the signature itself bears little resemblance to documented, actual autographs signed by West.

Nevertheless, the scam proceeded full tilt: Plein wired the sum into a bank account, which was swiftly emptied out before the truth of the matter was revealed. On Tuesday, the Switzerland-based brand sent out invitations to its Monday evening event, advertising West’s participation, but when news of the performance made its way to Twitter the following day, his wife, Kim Kardashian West, debunked the claim. “You on The Tonight Show, Kanye rumored to be performing at Philipp Plein, all roads lead to NYFW.. Issa Kardashian West takeover,” a follower tweeted at her, to which she replied, “He’s not performing at any fashion show this season. Just a rumor.”

Cue the collective stomach drop on the part of whatever Plein representatives looked over the brand’s contract with not-Kanye West before not-the rapper signed it. Per The Cut, subsequent invitations to the Plein event included no mention of the rapper’s performance, and the brand hasn’t publicly commented on it yet. But honestly, it’s probably better press for Philipp Plein than any of the brand’s fashion shows ever could be.

Related: Philipp Plein Fall 2017: Madonna, Kylie Jenner and The “Hot Felon” Help To Make NYFW “Great” Again