TOMMY GIRL: RISD alum David Stark has been busy casing venues for what will be the school’s first New York City presentation of its senior fashion students’ work. Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter Elizabeth and other soon-to-be grads will take part in the May 18 event, which Stark will also design. At Saturday’s Senior Thesis Crit select soon-to-be graduates presented their finery to a jury that included Derek Lam, Tina Lutz, Neil Gilks, The New School’s Steven Faerm, Elle’s Alison Cohn and RISD Apparel Design head Meg DeCubellis, Catherine Andreozzi and Mary Kawenski. The location — Tommy Hilfiger’s corporate office — was deja-vu-ish for his daughter even though her father was not in the building. Recalling how she was 10 or 11 when he first moved into the space, she mentioned how he took her to the design room and asked if she liked the spring collection. “No, the floral Liberty print is all wrong,’” she recalled shaking her head with a laugh.
Now she is more inclined to call him for professional advice and she said she puts in extra hours at RISD so that classmates understand her commitment is not one of nepotism. Wearing a blue Marni cardigan she pinched from her mother’s closet, dark gray Acne jeans and tan woven Bottega Veneta-like Nike sneakers, Hifiger said she presented her concept and story boards to her father who had approved.)
Growing up with her sportswear designing father and children’s wear designing mother indirectly lead her to the concept of packaging. “I always wanted to wear track suits when I was younger and I was forced to wear smock dresses and traditional clothing. When I design, I don’t like it to be either but I still like both.” she said.
Her senior thesis drew inspiration from Japanese propaganda books and a Berlin art store among other things. As was the case with the other RISD students, jurors were deft but direct. Lam advised Hilfiger, “Sometimes you are a little bit hesitant to discuss your concept. You always kind of say one thing and kind of step back to say, ‘Well, I might do this or I might do that.’ But then when you did your looks, it was so authoritative. You got to the point were it was very strong. So I think you are more of a process person more than a this-is-my-idea-and-I’m-sticking-with-the-idea…so with whatever you’ve done, it’s best to explore the things you haven’t already done to build upon this.”
She like her classmates still has a few months to iron out the kinks. RISD Apparel Design majors will have their runway show May 9 in Providence, and then their New York debut on May 18.