Known for his all-American sporty aesthetic and celebrity following, fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger is headed to Australia.
The New York-based designer is making his first trip Down Under as his eponymous label continues its expansion into the Australian market.
The billion-dollar brand has achieved “phenomenal” sales spikes following limited edition collections with supermodel Gigi Hadid and Generation Z muse, Zendaya.
Speaking to News Corp Australia, Hilfiger said his business had achieved “incredible growth” in Australia since its launch into the market in the early 2000s.
“We’re living in a global society now — a lot of fashion people are choosing the same sense of style, it’s quite individualistic in a way, but they’re all mixing and matching high and low, and a lot of the same brands,” Hilfiger said, speaking from his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.
His style inspo is what’s happening now — right this minute. He wants to know what’s cool (and who is cool) before it happens. “Pop culture makes the world go ‘round,” Hilfiger told News Corp Australia.
“What’s going on in Hollywood with the Hadids and the Kardashians, what’s going on in the music world with Drake and Rihanna.”
“It’s about what’s happening in the sports world … and people who break out of their boxes and become disruptive in their own right.”
This has led Tommy Hilfiger to a string of hugely successful celebrity partnerships, including with Hadid, 24, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, 34, and Euphoria star Zendaya, 23.
Ahead of his trip to Australia next month, Hilfiger said the impact of those collaborations on sales had been “beyond belief, beyond our expectations” and “selling out to the piece”.
“Customers want immediate gratification — they see it on the runway and they want to buy it, and wear it the next day,” Hilfiger said.
“It’s a combination of having the right styles but also making it available immediately.”
After four #TOMMYXGIGI collections, Hadid remains a close friend of the brand. The Victoria’s Secret model sat front row at Hilfiger’s show in New York last month, wearing a figure-hugging set which looked like a catsuit with a high-neckline and “Z” motif (it stands for “Zendaya”, FYI).
“We’ve always been influenced by pop culture — fashion, art, music, entertainment,” Hilfiger said.
“And we’ve actually been sort of in the epicentre of the music world and the Hollywood world, what is sort of ‘cool’ today.”
Hilfiger credits the late Karl Largerfeld, who was the creative director of Chanel and Fendi, for giving him some game-changing advice.
“I really picked his brain quite a bit,” Hilfiger said, recalling their friendship. “When I asked him why Chanel was so successful under his watch, he said, ‘Tommy, it was not difficult. It was rather simple — I went into Coco Chanel’s archives and I reinvented and recreated many of the looks to make them relevant for today.’”
Hilfger continued: “So I took that advice and I went back to my archives, and started to reinvent and reintroduce a lot of the street styles from the 80s and 90s”.
“As a result of that, a lot of millennials and young people embraced it as it was authentic and real.
“I allowed Gigi to play with it (the archives) and recreate it with me. I said to Zendaya, what do you love? And she loves the 70s, so it was perfect for me because when I started my original business, my jeans shops, it was in the 70s. I understood the whole vibe.”
In front of well-heeled 900 guests, Tommy Hilfiger staged a block party-style runway show in Harlem during New York Fashion Week for the launch of the latest TOMMYXZENDAYA collection.
The brand transformed the Apollo Theatre into an open-air catwalk, with an elaborate set that featured retro convertible cars. In a show that championed body and ethnic diversity, the models included Winnie Harlow, Sara Sampaio, Candice Swanepoel and Alex Wek, as well as Halima Aden and pregnant supermodel Ashley Graham.
“I think the industry has to move towards it (diversity),” Hilfiger said.
“We’ve been inclusive and diverse for many, many years and now, they (other brands) are sort of catching up.”
This season’s TOMMYNOW collection, featuring fitted blazers and high-waisted trousers, had a “real Harlem gangster, New York look and a 70s appeal,” Hilfiger said.
In a departure from other shows at NYFW, this runway was live-streamed and featured clothes that were available to buy in a see now, buy now retail strategy.
This show marked a return to New York for the brand, after staging launches in Paris, Los Angeles, London, Milan and Shanghai.
There was no shortage of on-brand Hilfiger touches — the TOMMYXZENDAYA T-shirts for sale at the pop-up store, with the words “For One Night Only” as if it was a Kanye West concert.
The show was a 70s take on modern power dressing: leather flares, bow ties, checked blazers, along with spotted silk, see-through shirts and midi skirts featured on the runway, teamed with knee-high boots, velvet suits and body suits fit for a Charlie’s Angels reboot.
There was snake print on silk scarfs, high-waisted skirts and mod-style trench coats, made for those channelling their inner 007 or Bianca Jagger.
Hilfiger’s runway shows have become a must-see spectacle during fashion season, staged in Los Angeles, Milan and Paris, and this time, it was livestreamed online from four angles — front row, director’s cut, head-to-toe and overhead.
Prior to the show, Hilfiger announced this season would be the final TOMMYXZENDAYA collection.
“Over the years, our ‘See Now, Buy Now’ runway event has evolved into one of fashion week’s largest experiences, with the consumer at its heart,” Hilfiger said last month.
“It has become a platform of inclusion and diversity through bold statements of what fashion and the runway should look like.
“With redefined power dressing at its core, the collection’s bold tailored pieces are infused with a modern twist that celebrate the strength that comes from fearlessly being your true self.
“We didn’t want to hold anything back tonight, with Zendaya’s vision, dedication and strong voice bringing a unique edge to our collaboration.”
Originally published as Fashion legend heading to Australia