Beige sofas and inflated egos: What it was really like inside Molly-Mae’s PLT show
As protestors raged outside, influencers obliviously sipped on prosecco
As we all know, it’s been a very busy few months for Molly-Mae. And after six months of planning and solid “graft” last night Molly-Mae opened her first fashion show for PrettyLitteThing. Unsurprisingly, the vibes were sickly-sweet and the show was everything you’d expect. Influencers spent the night posing on beige sofas and sipping on a cocktail called The Molly Marg. Tommy Fury, Maura Higgins and Chloe Sims schmoozed with Drag Race UK winner Krystal Versace and TikToker Max Baledge on the – you guessed it – beige carpet. Every British influencer with over 200,000 followers had turned out to see Molly-Mae’s new PLT collection of trench coats and crop tops. And yet – outside in the drizzling rain – protesters including ex-Love Islander Brett Staniland, shouted through megaphones and held up signs expressing their anger at PrettyLittleThing’s £3.50 worker wage.
But would this protest have any impact on the guests inside as they munched on their mini lobster tails? Given the heavy criticism she’s faced over her “ignorant” 24 hours in a day comments, would the show be an opportunity to silence Molly-Mae’s haters once and for all by proving the impact her “work ethic” has? Or would she use the show as a way to tell the world she does care and can dial it back on excessive displays of wealth? I went inside to the show to find out.
As a journalist with only 300 Instagram followers I began my night at the Molly-Mae fashion show in the rain queuing outside The Londoner Hotel. My fellow non-influencers and I were temperature scanned and checked in by a military grade system as paparazzi took photos of ex-Love Islanders. Whilst in the queue a male model with over 300,000 followers spoke with fury on the phone at not being recognised “I feel like my name has been mixed up” and another female influencer demands to know “where do WE queue?”. We (male model included) were ushered in after 20 minutes, given our wristbands and quickly escorted past the floor to ceiling poster of Molly-Mae where Janice Joostema is being interviewed.
Descending down the marble staircase flanked by security guards it was like walking into the final round of Love Island auditions. Everyone is tanned, toned and flashing their abs in crop tops and leather trousers. They’re taking pictures of themselves or if they’re famous enough a photographer is taking shots of them. Meanwhile the rest of us head for what we’re really here for – the free bar.
Three tequila signature cocktails are on offer with predictably saccharine names. There’s The Molly Marg, Pretty Little Paloma and Runway Ready. I obviously had to opt for The Molly Marg, which was surprisingly decent. Everything, down to the napkins and hand sanitiser are stamped with PrettyLittleThing by Molly-Mae branding which is a trend that expands to the bathroom. In the dark marble bathroom, complete with a boucle sofa of course, there are PrettyLittleThing brushes, beauty blenders and lipgloss on hand so every influencer is always camera ready.
Two members of the crew jokingly (I hope) tell me they began working at 6am yesterday and haven’t stopped since. As I leave, in a fit of delirious giggles they hype each other up by saying “we’re in this together”.
Back inside the waiting lounge even more influencers have arrived and there are whispers in the room of a protest outside, but a discussion on unfair pay is quickly abandoned when Tommy Fury arrives. He is all smiles and appears completely unaware of the tense situation outside. Instead he chats to a few people and is followed by Molly-Mae’s manager Fran and a security guard. Since when did champion boxers need security?
The room is hot with frustration and inflated egos and much like all fashion shows, the 7:30pm start time quickly passes without anyone being able to take their seat. Eventually we are allowed into the main showroom which has been decked out in a classic girl boss millennial aesthetic – neon lights, chain mail curtains and Jorja Smith on the speakers. As a non-celeb I’m sent to my seat in row three where a goodie bag roughly costing £80 (the same amount a PLT Leicester factory worker would make if they worked 24 hours solid) is waiting for me.
Soon, the 200 plus crowd makes it to their seats where Maura Higgins, Ellie Brown, Tiffany Watson, Chloe Sims and Tommy Fury are of course given their front row seats. The room plunges into darkness – save for the neon lights – and Molly-Mae’s subdued voice comes over the speaker “This is PrettyLittleThing by Molly-Mae” and then the show begins.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but I should have known it would be exactly as it was. Every look that came down the runway was accompanied with massive “woos” from the crowd. Anna Wintour would have died. The model lineup is full of Kim Kardashian clone PLT models – tanned, full lips, big eyebrows, long hair and toned bums. Credit where credit is due; the lineup also included multiple plus size models, a model in a hijab, a model in a wheelchair and one with a rose gold prosthesis. No one was expecting Versace, but the collection is the PLT standard: trench coats, ribbed dresses, co-ords, crop tops, leggings, satin trousers and belt bags all priced between £6 to £90. Like the great designers before her, Molly-Mae follows in the footsteps of Lagerfield, McQueen and Westwood by partaking in the lap of honour around the catwalk. There is clapping, a million camera flashes, more woos and then just like that it’s over.
Molly-Mae’s voice over (the only time you hear her speak all evening) echoes on the speakers, instructing us to exit the room in order for them to make it over for the ULTIMATE after party. The influencers don’t listen to their leader and instead head to the runway to get their pictures in.
As a perpetual goody two shoes I head back to the bar where more cocktails are on offer as well as prosecco, beers and vodka mixers. Waiters bring around the tiniest of boujie looking canapés. Mini lobster tails, steak on wasabi crackers and fish sprinkled with saffron because why wouldn’t Molly-Mae have a spice worth more than gold served at her party? The journalists and PRs descend on the meagre number of snacks, the influencers continue their posting.
Long after the half an hour turn around they promised, the crowd thins as people begin to leave. And they probably had the right idea. The room reopens and the benches have been removed and replaced with roped off plush velvet sofas and tequila bottles, incredibly reminiscent of a pretentious Mayfair nightclub. I’m told they’re for the models. Yep, they’ve really created makeshift VIP booths to separate the influencers from us common folk.
The woman of the hour mingles with the crowd for a few minutes before sitting on a private sofa with two friends and scrolls through her phone. Her smile reappears when a photographer approaches her. She poses and returns to her phone.
The truth is these big scale PR events look exceptionally fun on Instagram. With the champagne flowing, photo booth pictures of girls with cheekbones that could cut you and videos showing off their goody bags, it’s hard not to get FOMO. But this is not the reality. So often people are not engaged with the event. Instead they’re checking their phones, air-kissing hello, complaining to their tired looking agent and peering over their shoulder to check they look better than the girl next to them. Molly-Mae’s event was this at its finest.
If there was any doubt that Molly-Mae’s influence had diminished over this group of people then this event quashed that.
Though the protest raged on outside, it was as if it wasn’t happening at all to the influencers inside. With a glass of prosecco in their hand and a perfect Instagram ready to post, the protestors didn’t matter. Maybe they do feel guilty about promoting PrettyLittleThing, but from the constant selfies and pouting, you wouldn’t know it. The protest didn’t matter – it was a blip – on an otherwise perfectly filtered night.
Featured image credit via David Fisher/Shutterstock