NEW RULES – Last September, Tommy Hilfiger brought his experimential “see now, buy now” fashion show to Shanghai, displaying his debut collection with Lewis Hamilton and visions to reality.
Tommy Hilfiger understands what his customers want. He listens, and from that, he conjures a norm-breaking traveling spectacle curated exclusively for his fans. Most recently, he brought that to Shanghai, on a balmy Tuesday night at the Port Cruise Terminal, located at The Bund.
Kicking off a day before New York Fashion Week, the TommyNow Fall 2018 runway show marks the brands fifth “see now, buy now” fashion show after New York, Los Angeles, London and Milan. This meant that there was no six-month wait for the clothes, a move opted by many luxury fashion brands. “Millennial customers want immediate gratification,” Hilfiger said a day before the show. “They want to see something on the runway and buy it that day to wear the next day.”
Then there’s the traveling fashion show itself, another norm-breaking move from the conventional fashion week calendar. Hilfiger even compared it to a world rock tour. But why Shanghai? “We really believe that going to where the customers live is very important. And
Shanghai to me is one of the fashion capitals in the world,” he answers. “We think that the Chinese millennial consumers are so in tune with what’s going on in the world and we want to embrace them as well as hoping that they’ll embrace us even more.”
Rest assured, he’s not the only one who wanted to embrace the Chinese market. Michael Kors, Coach, Gucci, Tiffany & Co. and many other brands have tapped extensively into the country and specifically its millennial market. Last year in November, Victoria Secret also brought its fashion show to Shanghai. So, it seems that it’s the perfect time for Tommy Hilfiger to bring TommyNow to Shanghai, which the brand deemed its “highest growth potential market.”
And So It Begins
As expected, Tommy Hilfiger did it with a splash, with over 1,000 guests in attendance, including VIPs and celebrities from around the world. Eyes and cameras were particularly drawn to Exo’s Chanyeol and Girls Generation’s Taeyeon, whose arrivals set off greater commotion than the majestic Shanghai skyline behind it. Yet the biggest welcoming cheers was reserved for British F1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton, who won his fifth Italian grand prix just two days before the show.
Guests were ushered to take their seats through a Hall of Fame tunnel filled with giant portraits of Tommy Icons, many of whom walked on the show, like Hailey Baldwin, Winnie Harlow or Maggie Jiang. After the tunnel came the view of the glittering waters of the Huangpu river and the colorful skyscrapers across the Pudong skyline—one of which has a Tommy Hilfiger flag on it. The river cruises passing by simply added to the show’s aesthetics.
The runway itself proceeded in an orderly fashion with three separate collections. First, there’s the TommyXLewis collection, which marks Lewis’ first collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. “If that [auto racing] is his number one priority, this [fashion] would be his second,” said Hilfiger.
On that account, the pieces were a clear merge of the two personalities: Hamilton’s street-style and Tommy Hilfiger’s classic American cool DNA. Or, as the show notes puts it: sports-prep meets street. “It’s all the stuff that I love and I would wear,” Hamilton said backstage. “I like taking risks all the time. I like wearing colors and I don’t like dialing it down. I don’t feel like I actually have to dim my light in order to make people around me comfortable. I like to shine as bright as I can and encourage others to do the same.” How does that translate to the clothes? Well, perhaps Hilfiger described it best when he summarized the collection in one word: eclectic. “It has a sport side, it has logos, military influences, color and fit and fabric that are modern,” he explained. True to his word, the TommyXLewis delivered a diverse range of clothing, with easy-to-wear pieces that’ll effortlessly fly off the shelves.
To start, a swarm of color-coordinated tracksuits in red, canary yellow, green, white and black opened the show, as 28 models—led by Hailey Baldwin, Maggie Jiang and Lucky Blue Smith—stepped out alongside socks and sliders. Several tracksuits had the word “Loyalty” on the back, taken directly from Hamilton’s arm tattoo—a value that his father instilled in him since he was young. Socks and sliders, meanwhile, had either that or Hamilton’s initials ‘H’, styled in gothic and serif. Sometimes, the initials were placed on top of Tommy Hilfiger’s white and red flag, which serves as the collaborative logo of the TommyXLewis collection. These were present throughout streetwear essentials like hoodies, varsity jackets, and fanny packs worn across the body. Athleisure styles also came to the front as tracksuits were paired with a point-collared military pea coat and zip-up boots.
All that being said, pieces from the TommyXLewis collection that featured fewer logos were even more compelling. One such piece is the military-green parka jacket that has two zip-thru layers, meaning that there is another detachable jacket inside the parka for two coats in one. Another highlight is the multicolor check pattern on boxers, shirt or hoodie shirts, Inspired by tommy Hilfiger’s multi-plaid shirt from the ’90s.
The Hilfiger collection—the second one—was more traditional. But it also showcased reworked classics plucked from the ’90s. By definition, it featured his signature flag. In the Hilfiger collection, he showed a wide range of riveting coats, in checks, patchwork, color-blocked motif or classic military-styled. Turtlenecks, one in vintage mohair, are also reworked with looser napes. Collegiate stripes, meanwhile, were reinterpreted in multiple colors and featured the Tommy Hilfiger crest from 1985. The final collection, Tommy Icons’ women’s collection, echoed the same spirit, using classic Hilfiger patterns reissued with relaxed proportions and modern ways.
Altogether, a total of 112 looks were presented that night. Finally, the show was closed by Hilfiger and Hamilton walking hand-in-hand down the runway, followed by an army of Tommy’s Icons, dubbed “The Leaders of Now” and “The Icons of Tomorrow.” It was an iconic moment, which left many excited and wondering in anticipation just what will TommyNow do next? And where? “TommyNow is always evolving. It’s like an amoeba, it’s always moving,” Hilfiger exclaims. “We use our spontaneity and our gut to lead us into what is going to happen next.” So, there’s always going to be something unexpected to look forward to from the spectacularly nonconforming TommyNow.
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