Normally, fashion gimmicks make me laugh or roll my eyes, but once in a while, I just find myself shaking my head and wondering, “Why?” German designer Philipp Plein‘s show in Milan this week featured one such stunt, and I actually still don’t know exactly how I feel about it.

During his Autumn/Winter 2013 show on Monday, Plein chose to add some controversial elements to his collection, including machine guns, balaclavas and gas masks. He also gave the shirtless models body paint messages, such as the one above  which reads, “ONLY KILL FOR LOVE” while another said “LIFE’S A GAME AND IT’S NOT FAIR.”

Freedom in fashion is all well and good — actually, it’s entirely necessary to create new things — but with all terrible shootings that have been going on in the past few months, it feels needlessly provocative. Making a statement is one thing, but fashion designers are known for trying to push buttons to get controversy (and therefore buzz) surrounding their collections. Plein, in particular is the type of guy whose ads have featured what appear to be two twin brothers making out, Terry Richardson and a frighteningly retouched Lindsay Lohan, i.e. he likes to add elements, besides clothes, that will make people stare.

But guns are different, for some reason. Like sexual violence in fashion campaigns, I find weaponry and gun violence to be a bit more tasteless since they’re both ongoing problems and to put them in a beautiful, sexy context makes them seem more appealing rather than deplorable. If both were a thing of the past, I would likely have less qualms about it, but here it just feels like a “LOOK AT ME, WE’RE SO EDGY” thing. Nevertheless, fashion is like performance art in a way, and I would likely never want a designer to be censored; I just prefer to keep weapons off the runway and out of the hands of models.

I’m very interested in how you readers feel, though. What do you think: was this a good use of design and accessorizing or in poor taste?

Photo: Getty Images Europe