Q&A with Tommy Hilfiger

Kicking off his partnership with Macy's this Fall, Tommy Hilfiger is a busy man.

Tommy Hilfiger is a very busy man. His exclusive partnership with Macy’s kicked off this week, feted by a huge event Tuesday that also celebrated the launch of his new fragrance. His women’s business is up 60 percent from last year, and he has a string of upcoming store openings, including a Fifth Avenue flagship. Then there’s the TV show, reuniting with his Harley-Davidson and, of course, his fashion show Thursday.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

WWD: What are your inspirations for the spring collection?

Tommy Hilfiger:
I thought it would be great to do relaxed American glamour. It’s reminiscent of Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston in the early Eighties. I wanted to do a remix of old values into new conditions of American sportswear.

WWD: What are you trying to convey through the show this year?

T.H.: The big idea for me is really about that easy glamour, not glitzy glamour. It’s chic and sophisticated and the proportions are a little fuller — more of a wholesome glamour.

WWD: What is the role of the runway show now that the line is exclusive with Macy’s in the U.S.?

We have 800 stores around the world. We sell the collection through Bleecker Street and will in our new flagship on Fifth Avenue and our new stores in Washington and Miami.

WWD: How does what is sold at Macy’s compare with what’s shown on the runway?

T.H.: Macy’s gets American casual sportswear inspired by everything we do as a lifestyle brand; however, it’s affordably priced. It will be relaxed American sportswear, but it won’t have the glamorous aspect — chiffon dresses and silk pantsuits — because it’s more casual. But color-wise it will have a lot of the same influences: We love khakis with whites, and orange is the new red, and we still love red, white and blue, but in a more refined way.

WWD: How’s business?

T.H.: We just got the news that we are 60 percent ahead of last year in women’s.

WWD: What is the concept behind Tuesday’s event at Macy’s?

The theme is American icon. We have an iconic American brand with an iconic American institution, Macy’s, with a new iconic American fragrance, Hilfiger. Someone is going to win a Harley-Davidson Sportster, and I am going to ride one in.

WWD: Do you ride motorcycles, then?

T.H.: I’ve got my license and my Harley. I’ve been riding for a while, but I didn’t for the last few years because a good friend was in an accident. But I am riding tonight.

WWD: What are you looking forward to this year, both personally and professionally?

T.H.: This upcoming year will be an exciting year. We’re opening up the flagship on Fifth Avenue. And we have our new show, “Ironic Iconic American” — a special that could possibly turn into a series. Our Miami opening is during Art Basel. We’re opening a store in Dublin. We’re doing a city tour with Macy’s visiting all of the top Macy’s doors. I’ve never been busier.