LOS ANGELES — Tommy Hilfiger is teaming up with Los Angeles shoe designer George Esquivel to launch a limited-edition collection for men and women set to debut Aug. 23 on tommy.com and in select stores on Sept. 1.
This story first appeared in the July 1, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 900-pair run of brogue and loafer styles is handmade in California with premium, locally sourced leathers and materials. The designs combine Hilfiger’s trademark preppy aesthetic with Esquivel’s signature quirky details, including bright outsoles, prominent stitching and antiqued leather washing. The shoes feature vintage details such as hand-punched perforations, hand-appliquéd logos and the Tommy Hilfiger + Esquivel logo emblazoned into the leather with a branding iron. In a subtle nod to Hilfiger style, the medallion on the toe of the wing tip is in the shape of an argyle print. Each pair comes with shoe bags and red, white, blue and brown laces in a numbered box.
The shoes, retailing for $399, will be sold in the brand’s Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London and Tokyo flagships and stores in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Zurich, Vienna, Milan, Dublin, Istanbul and San Diego.
“George and I first met in 2009, when he was nominated for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. Then, in 2011, George participated in the organization’s Americans in Paris program, which provides a platform for emerging American designers to showcase their talents during Paris Fashion Week,” said Hilfiger, who serves as a mentor for the program.
Esquivel then made shoes for Hilfiger and his wife Dee when they were in Los Angeles. “Seeing George’s collection, I thought a collaboration between our brands would be a great initiative, so I asked him to design a men’s shoe for our fall 2013 runway show. The result was a beautiful, high-quality piece. Developing it into a capsule collection was a natural and exciting step for the brand,” said Hilfiger.
Said Esquivel: “The collection takes the essence of what we both do, which at the core is being an American designer. We are both influenced heavily by Americana and music, and I love his take on preppy.”
Said Hilfiger: “The brand has always drawn inspiration from our classic, American, cool heritage and signature preppy style. That’s my vision and my formula, but I’m always looking for emerging talent to come in who respects that vision and wants to modernize it a bit.”
While Esquivel has done other collaborations, nothing matches the scale of the Hilfiger project. “The biggest collaboration I’ve done is 200 pairs. We only produce 4,000 pairs a year, so this is helping me reach a new audience and grow and explore the business. Tommy has definitely been a mentor for me in that respect,” he said.
Hilfiger said he’s open to more collaborations. “Collaborations are a great vehicle for trying something different and to bring a fresh perspective to my vision. I love innovation; I’m always looking at opportunities and finding new ways to update the American classics,” the designer said.