BY: HAL RUBENSTEIN
“NOW” NOT THEN
The man’s name and image are now as American and probably more familiar than Huckleberry Finn’s. Tommy Hilfiger is quintessentially and most unapologetically, red, white and blue, just like Old Glory flying over a county fair on the 4th of July. And yet, the Hilfiger brand at 35..., the Hilfiger brand exudes a time defying exuberance, expanding its global reach with the freshness of a just posted Snapchat, thanks to the designer’s unshakeable faith in reinvention, refusal to take fashion too seriously, and ingenious ways of exciting its ever-growing customer base.
The most recent example of Hilfiger’s inspired unconventionality has been the staging of his spring 2017 fashion show (Gabriel has shot some of our favorite looks), disguised as – what else- a spectacular county fair along California’s Venice Beach boardwalk, complete with fire jugglers, Pendulum rides, instant art, Fergie performing onstage, and Lady Gaga amid 3000 others in the audience, witnessing Tommy X Gigi, Hilfiger’s newest collaboration with model and social media goddess Gigi Hadid. The multi-million dollar production resulted in 2 billion views, and a near site-crashing avalanche of online sales, because while the livestream of the carnival looked like the best time ever, Tommy’s clothes resonated with the same colorful, effortless joy.
Happily, we at Gabriel saw an immediate connection. What better way to display our own unshakeable faith in FINE JEWELRY EVERDAY fashion collections than to pair Gabriel’s sleekly beautiful diamonds than with Tommy’s uncomplicated ease? Turns out, the matchup looks sensational. But don’t just take our word for it. Listen to Tommy’s enthusiasm when we showed him the pictures from our collaborative photo shoot “This looks just GREAT,” he said. What can we say - Gabriel loves Tommy, too!
HR: You are on fire! What is going on?
TH: At 35, we had to find a new way to way of reaching customers we were in danger of losing and ones that might overlook us. But thanks to our collaboration with Gigi, they all came back or found us.
HR: What does Gigi’s connection mean to the Tommy Hilfiger label?
TH:Gigi is beautiful, smart, and like so many of her generation, she wants style to be effortless and available. They see fashion as immediate gratification. They don’t see the point in waiting for what excites them. They want what they want right now, not next season. And their impatience has had notable influence across the board on other shoppers. But it’s all around you. Look at what you can buy on Amazon, often by the end of the day. Why wait six months to buy the clothes you’d love to wear tomorrow?
HR: What’s the best part about “buy now, wear now” fashion for you as a designer. And what’s its drawback?
TH: As a designer, I love having an immediate awareness of what your customers want at this moment, and whether you have made them happy. They readily share with you what they like, and offer opinions. Also buying and returning has become so easy, you learn what they like and what they’re disappointed with pretty quickly. You don’t waste weeks waiting for sales figures.
However, younger people don’t necessarily shop in stores. And I don’t like to see that traffic slowing down. There is still something wonderful about self-discovery when it’s right in front of you. Being able to touch and feel fabrics and textures before you make a decision. So I think what we have to do is create unusual shopping and retail experiences.
HR: So though you can make clothes for everyone, you can’t necessarily pitch them in the same way to everyone?
TH:Pretty much. Young people have no brand loyalty. Older shoppers do. But that doesn’t mean they want the same thing over and over. We had become very expected in our style point of view and we decided to tap into youth culture, not to abandon our core men and women, but to find a way to share with them the spirit and refreshing individuality Gigi has that gives her such authenticity.
HR: What do you want people who aren’t Gigi’s age (21) to see and“steal.”
TH: I love the way young people mix everything together. It’s as if they have declassified the categories of their wardrobe. They wear the old with the new, the dressy with the casual. It explains the rise of LA as a fashion center. The fun there is seeing the choices made to avoid that jean uniform. The result is Adidas track pants worn under a Chanel jacket. Or as you can see in the photo shoot look how well the simple elegance of Gabriel pieces go with our casual Gigi collection, like your diamond hoops and our boyfriend sweater or you look at the block color and floral dresses we have done, which, just like all of your jewelry, goes so easily from day to night. Versatility is the key to looking good today.
look how well the SIMPLE ELEGANCEof GABRIEL PIECES go with our CASUAL GIGI COLLECTION, like your diamond hoops and our boyfriend sweater or you look at the block color and floral dresses we have done, which, just likeall of your jewelry, goes so easily from day to night. VERSATILITY IS THE KEY to looking good today. -Tommy Hilfiger
HR: So the rule is forget about rules?
TH:Exactly, and what’s just as important, there is no longer just one place to look for inspiration because that possibility is everywhere. Instead, you have to set your eyes to always be open for what’s new. You may spot it on a rock singer, a big star on the red carpet, a person online, someone passing you on the street, your daughters best friend, or it could be in your closet and you just never gave yourself the time to explore. So that hoodie could go great with a leather pencil skirt, or can put on big diamond hoops to go with that satin baseball jacket. How about pairing a lace shell with jeans and motorcycle boots, or play with ropes of your really cool gold chains our striped denim jumpsuit. How easy, exciting and youthful is that! Take it all the way: a Birkin bag with rolled up khakis and high tops, tons of gold bangles dangling below the cuffs of your boyfriend’s white shirt. Play with your clothes. Play with your accessories. Play with your jewelry. But don’t do it to make a statement. Do is because it’s fun.
HR: Is there any one way you are not at all like Gigi’s generation?
TH:Oh, there are way too many, unfortunately. I still love to drive. They don’t. Dee (Tommy’s wife) and I really love shiny things. I think they will grow into that. (We all do). But the one striking difference is that some young people never wear shoes. Only sneakers. They own hundreds. I guess it’s cheaper than collecting Birkin bags or estate jewelry but I don’t think even Gigi can convince me of that.