"This is the show I’ve always wanted to present," announced Tommy Hilfiger in his show notes, "a true democratisation of fashion," in reference to the brand’s embracing of the runway-to-retail business model that was rolled out at TOM FORD earlier in the week, and is also promised by the likes of Ralph Lauren and Burberry this season. For Tommy Hilfiger, however, this was a cause for some serious celebration, with the All-American designer hosting a two-day extravaganza on New York’s Pier 16 – Tommy Pier – complete with pop-up shops, a 40-foot Ferris wheel, games, rides and food stalls selling hot dogs and doughnuts.
And then there was the unveiling of the collection. A collaboration with model-of-the-moment, Gigi Hadid, and a look back at the brand’s "greatest hits", in the designer’s own words: "It’s nautical meets street." How does that translate? The first exit – Gigi, of course – summed it up in one courtesy of a shrunken naval blazer, complete with frogging, layered over an anchor-emblazoned tee and teamed with zip-up leather biker leggings. Sailor knits, studded leather jackets, denim hot pants and caban capes followed, before a line-up of cropped American football tops, track pants and basketball vest dresses demoed the ultimate in louche athleisure.
With model pals including Hailey Baldwin, Taylor Hill and Lineisy Montero backing her up on the runway, and BFFs Taylor Swift and Martha Hunt, as well as Olivia Palermo and Doutzen Kroes, on the front row, Gigi more than proved her worth in helping to define a new era of the Tommy girl.
The Tommy Hilfiger AW16 collection, presented on Monday 15th February 2016
In the grand tradition that has become staging a fashion show around an elaborate installation (in the last few years we've been to the supermarket, on a train, around a carousel), Tommy Hilfiger took us from last season's Mustique holiday to a winter cruise.
Led by a beautifully curvaceous Gigi Hadid, troops of models circled the deck clad in Forties-style tea dresses, complete with floral prints, puffed sleeves and ruffled collars. Teamed with ankle socks and heeled loafers, they were charming and nostalgic. Trousers came wide-legged, high-waisted and buttoned-up in true sailor style and were paired with shrunken sweaters edged in tulle.
The classic Breton top was reimagined as a leather tunic with a square neckline, while navy and white pea coats and capes topped many of the looks. These were clothes that celebrated women's curves and a collection that put a smile on the fash pack's face, thanks to the smiley models and jubilant Michael Jackson tracks.