Roll up, roll up...the latest TOMMYNOW show will roll into Milan Fashion Week this weekend. But did you know Mr Hilfiger started out selling hippie incense in a New York suburb? Here's a tour in pictures through the Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand's rise to fame...
It all started…
Raised in a large Irish Catholic family in a New York suburb, Tommy Hilfiger started early, opening a local store called People’s Place when he was just 18. It soon became known to the local youth for selling its bell—bottom jeans and hippie incense. A precursor to the global Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand that we’ve come to know, Hilfiger tells us his ‘vision was always to design clothes of incredibly quality, great value and at an accessible price.’
The Nineties hip-hop years
What’s red, white, blue and American all over? Why, a Tommy Hilfiger design, of course. So far, so much in common with fellow US fashion giants such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. All have built brands on an idealised version of American style. But Hilfiger’s label is younger. Literally (it was founded in 1984), and also in terms of its appeal. It’s downstreet style to their uptown tailoring, if you will.
Repackaging preppy style into a cool new model, the Hilfiger empire soon evolved into an it-brand with big logos, bravado, and even bigger shows to boot. Destiny’s Child, Britney, TLC, Gwen Stefani… all of our favourite 90s icons have been trailblazers for the infamous branding.
Across the 30-year term for the Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand, Hilfiger has turned his hand to nautical, sporty, rock & roll, and Americana style. Fusing iconic styles of the late Sixties and early Seventies with modern and athletic twists. Fast-forward through the nineties and noughties and Tommy Hilfiger was 2017’s most tweeted about fashion brand, with a whole new millennial fashion following buying into its youth culture and retro branding.
Runway Revolution: The Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand’s best fash-tainment shows
One of the pioneers of the ‘see-now, buy-now’ runway show, Hilfiger has turned his TOMMYNOW catwalks into a new breed of ‘fash-tainment’.
‘It’s evolved into a world tour, making pit stops in cities around the globe like a rock’n’roll tour’, he says.
We’ve seen Lady Gaga take over LA’s Venice Beach, and a ‘rock circus’ at London’s Roundhouse in Camden during last September’s London Fashion Week. This month, the Hilfiger show will roll into Milan. And our favourite moments so far?
From Tommy’s Very Own Sgt. Pepper Moment
Location: New York’s Upper East Side, Park Avenue Armory
Wowee: Nothing short of rock & roll royalty, Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger, opened the show, with Ella Richards, granddaughter of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, joining the model line-up. All the while, Tara Ferry, son of singer and songwriter Brian Ferry, rocked a thumping beat on the drums.
To scoring high with ‘Game Day’ Spirit for the Tommy Hilfiger Fall 2015 Fashion Show
Location: New York’s Upper East Side, Park Avenue Armory
Wowee: Their 30th Anniversary, a football stadium, complete with AstroTurf runway, Super Bowl hype and a team of models, with Gigi Hadid, Jourdan Dunn, Anna Ewers and Binx Walton stealing the show in awesome high lace-up footie boots – game on!
Cat-walking through a tropical lake? Why ever not. For the Hilfiger Castaway SS16 Show, models soaked up the good vibes in Tommy’s Island Paradise.
Location: Outside, bustling New York. Inside, the Caribbean dream!
Wowee: A Bob Marley soundtrack, a Tiki bar, palm trees and a giant Mustique inspired swimming pool to splash around in, with Gigi Hadid leading the way in a multi-colour swim suit for the runway finale = the moment all Insta-fans went wild for those crochet bikinis.
From a full scale nautical extravaganza on the T.H.Atlantic…
Location: New York, all aboard the T.H.Atlantic for the Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand.
Wowee: Joining Tommy’s crew for AW16 were insta-girls Taylor Hill, Stella Maxwell, and Hailey Baldwin. Inspired by the glamour of 1940s cruise liners and dressed up travellers, no detail was left untouched, with vintage trunks, steam billowing from the ship, and nautical razzle-dazzle a-go-go.
To hopping on board the #TOMMYNOW hype for the Tommy Hilfiger AW16 New York Fashion Week Show
Season: TOMMYNOW AW16
Location: New York’s South Street Seaport Pier 16
Wowee: The first collaboration between it-girl Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger to launch the brand’s ‘see-now-buy-now’ era, this funfair extravaganza boasted a 40-ft ferris wheel, tattoo parlour, old-school arcade games, and of course candy floss! Taylor Swift was cheering on from the sidelines. There was an army of around 1000 fans snapping away, and Gigi took to the helm in style on the Tommy pier.
Hitting up Venice Beach for the ultimate West Coast Fashion Festival
Location: Venice Beach, California
Wowee: For SS17, Hilfiger moved his show east to west, with models arriving via ‘Air Tommy’ to the sun-drenched California location; the Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand’s very own Coachella amusement park with rides, Cali-cool rollerbladers and performers. Star studded as ever, Gigi and Bella were in full force on the runway, Lady Gaga made a surprise front row appearance arriving in a white Rolls Royce (what else!), and Fergie rocked the Tommyland stage.
Rocking our home-turf at London’s Roundhouse in Camden
Location: The Roundhouse, Camden, London
Wowee: Where grungy met preppy, thrown in with rebellious 90s heritage, Hilfiger’s TOMMYNOW Rock Circus was a whole new take on fash-tainment, as Tommy crossed the pond to our home-turf in London. The Roundhouse, legendary for hosting the likes of the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, a fitting location for this Rock & Roll spectacle. Jam-packing the venue with 1500 guests rocking out to a hip-hop soundtrack – Puffdaddy, Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg all in the mix – no shortage of celebs, flying acrobatics, and The Chainsmokers taking to the stage, Hilfiger’s circus took entertainment to even greater heights.
Tommy’s own personal Rock & Roll Hall of fashion fans
The world-tour approach is fitting, as the Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand’s roster of famous fans and collaborations reads like a who’s who of the music world.
‘Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to partner with pop-culture icons such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Iman, Beyoncé, Lenny Kravitz and The Chainsmokers,’ Hilfiger tells us. ‘Whenever I create a collection, I look to the next generation. My children keep me updated with the latest in music, art and entertainment – I love to collaborate with cool up-and-coming influencers to bring a fresh lens to my designs.’
What happens when you combine the iconic Tommy signature with international supermodel Gigi Hadid’s style? A stampede of young fans and a revved-up Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand image. When Marie Claire talked all things fashion and girl power with Gigi Hadid, it’s clear to see there’s no stopping this millennial super. With her 38 million followers on Instagram and counting, she’s flying the flag for the Tommy Hilfiger fashion brand.
For their Spring 2018 collaboration, Tommy and Gigi are celebrating all things speed, taking inspiration from Tommy’s love of motor sports and Gigi’s fast-paced lifestyle. Think Tommy’s classic and preppy style, racing stripes and logos, supercharged with a playful athleisure twist. This capsule collection premieres at the next hotly anticipated TOMMYNOW extravaganza, which will close Milan Fashion Week on 25th February. If you just can’t wait till then, you can add your favourite items to a TommyXGigi wish list online ready to purchase as soon as the models hit the runway, and watch a sneak preview of behind-the-scenes for the making of Spring 18.
Keep flying the flag, Tommy… we can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for Milan. Stay tuned for all the latest Milan Fashion Week pictures at marieclaire.co.uk.