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Tommy Hilfiger: Rockabilly Preppies in Aspic

Godfrey Deeny
September 12th, 2010 @ 9:32 PM - New York

Tommy Hilfiger celebrated his quarter century as a fashion brand with a star-studded front-row, a mega party in New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and a spring 2011 collection on Sunday, Sept. 12, that seemed caught in a time warp of his very beginnings as a designer.

Hilfiger said his collection was “where Rockabilly meets the country club set,” though there was precious little rock on the catwalk, but loads of traditional prep. So, for next spring Hilfiger wants to see women in slimmed down versions of the sort of clothes socialite Babe Paley wore to lunch on Fifth Avenue or cocktails in the Hamptons in the Sixties – like cropped navy blazers over huge windowpane check pants; or navy tennis sweaters paired with twirling pink georgette skirts. That said, they’re in far shorter lengths than those worn by Paley, in Hilfiger’s case about five inches above the knee.

On guys, he’d prefer to see plaid tuxedos over pink elongated shorts with some great electric blue faux leopard moccasins.

His show soundtrack was also dominated by music from his early design days – whether The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mack or The Doobie Brothers – adding to the creeping sense of nostalgia at this anniversary.

An knowledgeable student of American imagery, Hilfiger is also capable of cutting a great floor hugging red carpet gown, like the navy georgette version that won a burst of applause just before the finale. His front-row, including Jennifer Lopez and “Gossip Girl”’s Chace Crawford finger-snapped and stomped their feet throughout the show, which ended with the designer taking an extended ovation before the green hedge country club show backdrop.

The designer, a famously generous gent, laid on a grand fete after the show, and had rock band The Strokes play a live concert. But by the end – after witnessing 46 revamped versions of classic Hilfiger looks - the pre-show announcement that this was “the first collection of the next 25 years,” did seem a tad ironic.

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