LONDON — Tommy Hilfiger, a man with an enduring passion for collegiate style, is heading to Britain’s oldest university — Oxford — to address the student union today.
Hilfiger follows in the footsteps of Diane von Furstenberg, Roberto Cavalli, Anna Wintour, Emanuel Ungaro and others and is scheduled to give his talk at noon. “I just want to know one thing: Do I pick up my diploma beforehand or on my way out?” he asked during an interview at his Regent Street flagship and showroom here on Tuesday.
Hilfiger said he planned to talk to the students about “25 years of Tommy Hilfiger, how we developed the brand, how it’s evolved and how we continue to celebrate it.” He said he planned to work an “American Ivy League” look for the occasion.
After the address at Oxford, he’ll head to Copenhagen, Lisbon, Milan and — finally —Paris to open his 8,850-square-foot European flagship on the Champs-Elysées on Nov. 17.
Separately, the company on Tuesday revealed plans to open its largest flagship in Asia, a 10,946-square-foot unit in Tokyo that will span three floors and carry the sportswear and runway collections and Hilfiger Denim. The store will open in March 2012 and the company said it will anchor the 108 Tommy Hilfiger stores currently in Japan.
“This store will serve as the primary flagship location for our brand in Japan and will further support our significant retail business in Asia,” said Fred Gehring, chief executive officer of the Tommy Hilfiger Group.
“Following the group’s acquisition of the Tommy Hilfiger Japan Corporation in 2008, we have continued to develop the existing business by strategically aligning the Tommy Hilfiger brand’s regional positioning with its global identity. The Harajuku store reflects our firm belief in the potential for future growth in Japan and is the first in a series of steps to increase our presence in the market,” he said.
In Copenhagen, Hilfiger will launch Loud, a fragrance for men and women, and pay a visit to The Danish Design School to judge a competition of students who’ve created pieces inspired by American fashion. In Portugal, he’ll judge a similar competition at The Lisbon School of Design and will open his first store in the city. Hilfiger will also donate selected archive pieces to MUDE, the city’s design and fashion museum.
Hilfiger said during the interview he was bullish about business.
“It’s been 25 years and the company is at such a height — everything seems to be working,” he said, adding that the consumer mood is improving. “There is a lot of activity out there. People are still price sensitive, but they want what’s new and fresh. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”