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Hilfiger makes fashion splash with 'It' girl Gigi


Feb. 16, 2016

Tommy Hilfiger headlined day five of New York Fashion Week by sending model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid down an ocean-liner themed catwalk to open and close a trans-Atlantic voyage-themed show as snow fell outside.

Hilfiger, who has turned affordable but fashional apparel into a global empire, is known for his flamboyant Fashion Week shows, which each season transform the Armory on Park Avenue into a spectacular set. "Years back, in the '20s, the '30s, when the people would travel trans-Atlantic they would get dressed properly," the 64-year-old design king told AFP ahead of the show, explaining his inspiration.

The models wearing his fall/winter 2016 collection strode the deck of the ocean liner, which pumped steam into the air through giant funnels against a night sky backdrop of glittering stars.

Hadid, who has collaborated with Hilfiger on a capsule collection to debut in September, opened the show dressed in a bias-cut, silk print dress, walked second in an embellished silk blouse with black retro briefs, and closed the show in a gold sequined sailor dress and tiara. The supermodel and Los Angeles "It" girl, aged 20, and her millions of adoring fans are precisely the customers that marketing savvy Hilfiger is keen to snap up.

Hilfiger, dressed in a captain-style navy jacket, made a victory lap at the end of the show for which he created a special "InstaPit" for the Instagram creators transforming the way fashion is consumed. French navy allusions featured prominently on captain-style jackets and coats, embellished with braiding, and there was a sprinkling of 1970s styles and shapes thrown in, such as high-waisted bell bottoms.

Hilfiger said the collection was made sexy with whimsical, fun print dresses and crepe de chine, which would be layered up in winter with a sweater or a jacket, or paired with a stunning black leather coat.

Winter Wonderland

"We made it sexy by doing a lot of crepe de chine," he told AFP. "At the same time even her shoes have a wink and a nod and the wink is the sense of humor and the nod is to the navy and military influence."

Couldn't have done it without these ladies. Brilliant show everyone! -TH #TommyFall16 #NYFW #BonVoyage

A photo posted by Tommy Hilfiger (@tommyhilfiger) on

The models wore ankle socks and gold loafers in an almost grungy look Hilfiger said was optional. "The socks we thought were appropriate for a young woman of today who wants to have some sort of a nostalgic look in her wardrobe," he said. Trousers were finished with a lot of braiding and button detail, there were high-waisted wide shorts and wide-legged jumpsuits, vintage swim pants and a modern motorcycle jacket was given a nautical feel.

In September, the label will allow customers to buy clothes straight from the catwalk, doing away with the customary six-month lag that Instagram has undercut by zapping images across the world in seconds.

Other highlights of Monday

Los Angeles luxury label Thomas Wylde, founded with British roots and a rock n roll culture, celebrated 10 years in the business with a second collection from creative director Jene Park.

The effervescent Park described it as her ultimate "Winter Wonderland" celebrating the brand's first decade, and a lifetime of love and passion "mixed with a little Disney Magic to make my dreams come true." The South Korea-born designer told AFP it reflected Venice, the upmarket beachfront neighborhood where the fashion house is based. The dominant use of vermillion red -- including striking red fur -- represents bougainvillea, she said.

"For me its celebrating," Park told AFP. "You're beautiful, you're confident, you're a superhero, you're a woman, you wear it with confidence." Ethical label Maiyet said its inspiration came from Italian architect and furniture designer Carlo Mollino, offering a classic wardrobe in trademark desert hues for its professional, global clientele.

Such is the buzz the label is creating, the Chelsea venue was packed to the rafters for the show of suits, evening dresses, sharply tailored coats in understated vanilla, brown, rose and mint.

There were tight cigarette trousers, an elegant brown leather dress with spaghetti straps, and stunning red evening dress with a billowing train and slits on the thigh. There were capes, very on trend this season, ankle boots and pumps with heels that looked like old fashioned door knobs. (AFP)