To say that there were many moving parts to Tommy Hilfiger’s spring TommyNow see-now-buy-now extravaganza would be not only a bad pun — the show, titled Drive, was race-car themed — but a massive understatement. An extraordinary amount of things have to fall in line to make these massive shows a success — it’s astonishing and remarkable that they have. Then again, Hilfiger runs a well-oiled machine.
Hilfiger has managed to capitalize on the see-now-buy-now moment in a way no other designer has by committing to it on another level from a production, design and delivery perspective, and by making it a social/digital tidal wave triggered by the power of Gigi Hadid, who collaborates on the Tommy x Gigi capsule collection. One hundred percent of the men’s, women’s and Gigi collection were available to purchase online the second they hit the runway. By the following morning, the collections will be shoppable in 20,000 physical points of sale. The whole shebang has dovetailed serendipitously with the revival of streetwear, logomania and Nineties nostalgia, which Hilfiger has major rights to — he was one of the original kings of logo-fied street gear the first time around twentysomething years ago. Oh, and earlier this month Hilfiger announced a multiyear strategic partnership with four-time Formula One World Champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, through which he will become its official apparel partner. Just in time for a Formula 1-themed spring collection of sportswear primed for optimum logofication.
After London last season (and Los Angeles and New York before it), Hilfiger staged the spring spectacle in Milan, choosing the Milano Congressi fairgrounds, which used to be the main hub for fashion week back in the day, as the site for his speedway. “From our viewpoint, Milan is one of the major fashion capitals of the world,” Hilfiger said backstage. “It was either going to be Milan or Paris, and we thought the Paris schedule was going to be so crazy.” The dusty old fairground was outfitted with a racetrack set worthy of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise. There were cameras, giant LED video screens and pit crews working on Mercedes-AMG Petrona F1 cars, which Hilfiger estimated cost $5 million a pop.
Alas, the cars never looped the track — they’re shipped engine-less, Hilfiger said — but Gigi and crew did in cropped tops and moto pants; cropped moto jackets and sweat pants, racing striped bathing suits; bomber jackets decorated with auto-racing patches; Hilfiger flags tops and denim from the Nineties archive. One of the guys wore a T-shirt with the old George Lois/Hilfiger “hangman” ad campaign that put him on the map all those years ago. Everything was cute, wearable and branded, just like the kids like it.
Asked if he ever fears being able to top himself with the next TommyNow production, Hilfiger didn’t demur. “Yes, because the success of the see-now-buy-now has been so dramatic, we’re always thinking, ‘How can we better ourselves next time around?’ he said before the show. “But the audience has been buying during the show, so that’s our success barometer. We think they’ll do the same for this show.” Rev your engines! Add to cart!