Never afraid to embrace a theme in earnest, Tommy Hilfiger transformed the Park Avenue Armory into a football stadium, practically to scale, with a real Astroturf field, bleachers, a scoreboard and a hi-def Jumbotron that zeroed in on unsuspecting audience members just like they do at the games. Hokey? Yes, but that’s the point, and if it didn’t make you smile, there are still plenty of cool, sleek, affected shows in barren Chelsea warehouses to come.
“I’ve always been inspired by American football,” said Hilfiger. “I love the uniforms, I love the game, I love the energy.” Lest things get too literal, he left the shoulder pads and tight pants in the locker room and crossbred his sport reference with “Love Story.” Nevermind that Ryan O’Neal’s character was a hockey player, this was Tommy’s world, a happy collegiate one at that, full of pretty, popular girls in navy, camel, maroon and gold. They wore mohair varsity sweaters and kick-pleat skirts; there were bomber jackets aplenty, some in bright satin, one with a knit collar; he offered peacoats in shearling and navy with a soft stripe trim. Jumpers with velvet bodices and Empire waists were a tasteful approximation of cheerleading outfits and football jerseys came reimagined in bright leathers bearing the number 30, for 30 years of Tommy Hilfiger. It was a happy collection of Americana, a little kitsch but well done in luxury fabrics. The only thing egregiously out of place was the Patriots helmet Hilfiger held for his bow. As a boy from Elmira, N.Y., he had the right colors, wrong team.