From a vantage point atop a technicolor ferris wheel parked at the end of Pier 16 at South Street Seaport, throngs of Tommy Hilfiger show attendees milled about fanning themselves in the muggy heat as the sun set in the west. Across the East River, Brooklyn offered a glowing Instagram and Snapchat-worthy backdrop, a strategy that was clearly intended to improve brand engagement. In the past year, Tommy Hilfiger has pivoted in a new direction in an attempt to court a younger consumer base, and this carnival extravaganza was the culmination of more than six months’ work.
Not only did the event display Gigi Hadid’s collaborative collection with the brand, but it also showcased instantly shoppable looks from the ready-to-wear category. With 2,000 tickets given away, the audience was comprised of industry members and non-members alike, making democracy, access, and immediacy the show’s central theses.
With 2,000 tickets given away, the audience was comprised of industry members and non-members alike, making democracy, access, and immediacy the show’s central theses.
With an expensively produced consumer-facing event, an enormous audience of fashion insiders and outsiders, a partnership with “It” girl Hadid (who also opened and closed the show), and a thoughtless pop soundtrack, Hilfiger is now built for mass appeal. Those watching the live stream on Tommy.com were invited to “Save Look X” as each outfit walked past the cameras, which created an automatic shopping wish list. As far as a marketing strategy goes, Tommy Hilfiger’s new business model is the new gold standard.
The clothes themselves were structured along the same lines, as the classic sportswear motif got a youthful upgrade in the form of flattering coveralls in velvet and gold, denim mini skirts, figure-hugging sailor pants, and luxe moto jackets. Looks crossed multiple sport sectors, including track and field and basketball, with options that included cozy oversized hoodies and sweatshirts, silk basketball jerseys, basketball shorts, cropped sweaters, and more.
At this point, Hadid’s partnership with Hilfiger has become entwined with the brand’s evolved DNA, which was radiantly obvious by the fact that every look seemed to have been pulled from her existing wardrobe (which can only be described as extremely partial to athleisure and body-conscious silhouettes). But like the chicken and egg conundrum, it’s hard to say at this point if Hadid created the new Hilfiger aesthetic or if Hilfiger created the new Hadid aesthetic. After all, Hilfiger has been happily kitting Hadid out for dozens of public appearances since the announcement of their joint design venture.