Designer Tommy Hilfiger closed London Fashion Week on Tuesday with a "Rock Circus" night marking his first catwalk show outside the United States.
The much-anticipated showcase of Hilfiger's See Now, Buy Now Autumn/Winter 2017-2018 collection brought a touch of sportswear chic to Fashion Week, closing the five-day event with a high-profile bang.
The 66-year-old American designer, king of a fashion empire that last year saw sales of 6.6 billion USD, picked the Roundhouse as a venue, an arts space known for concerts by legendary stars like Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and David Bowie.
More than 1,000 guests watched 64 models parade under a "Rock Circus" banner to booming music, as images were broadcast on a giant circular screen. First to step out was model and collaborator Gigi Hadid, wearing thigh-length black socks, ripped denim shorts and a full-length mohair wool coat worn over a black sweater.
"Gigi is very involved with designing the Gigi Tommy collection with us. So a lot of the ideas came from her style," Hilfiger told AFP on the eve of the show. The collaboration will also promote the brand's online presence thanks to the social media profile of the model, who boasts nearly 36 million Instagram followers.
Hadid was followed onto the catwalk by her sister Bella, who wore a black hooded fleece dress featuring an eye symbol in a circle of silver sequins. Leather biker jackets with long zipped sleeves and featuring animal print added to the rock music vibe, along with leather shorts and trousers.
Showcasing on British soil, Hilfiger made a notable nod to Scottish heritage with a series of tartan patterns. They included a mini-skirt far shorter than any traditional kilt, featuring a sparkly "H" and star.
Tuesday marked the third presentation of Hilfiger's "TOMMYNOW" concept, an on-the-road catwalk similar to a band tour. The idea had already proven successful on home soil, with stops in New York last year and Los Angeles in February, each bringing with it extravagance and extraordinary costs.
Hilfiger has been able to make them profitable, adopting the "see now, buy now" immediate sale approach that has emerged over the past few seasons -- a trend that he is certain will not be going away.
The designer has taken the idea even further by creating an app that enables guests to take a photo of a model and buy their outfit instantly. "Young people especially, they see something on the runway or they see something that looks cool, they want to wear it the next day. They don't want to see it on the runway and wait six months to buy it," said Hilfiger.
The designer sees the digital age -- and the social media hype that comes with it -- as an irreversible trend and an opportunity to be seized. "I think we have to continue to move forward and we have to embrace it," he said.
Other than Hilfiger, London Fashion Week saw another big name hit the catwalk on Sunday: Giorgio Armani. The involvement of both designers in this year's event has been a boost for the British fashion scene, which is well-known for bold young designers but has, apart from Burberry, often lacked major brands.
Their presence is especially welcome in light of Brexit, which has prompted fears of a flight of talent and capital from the UK and has exposed the country to considerable economic uncertainty. (AFP)
Photos: TommyNow AW17