Tommy Hilfiger loves California so much that he decided to replicate the Golden State in the heart of Manhattan. The designer, who oversees a worldwide fashion empire, brought in truckloads of white sand to create a "beach" replete with surfboards, dunes and boardwalk-turned-runway.
"We have editors, buyers and people who come from all around the world. We want them to come to New York, which is our real home, and put on a show for them, not just a runway presentation" Hilfiger told The Daily Front Row.
"A show adds a lot of ambiance to the whole collection. The models and styling are important, but the background and scenery are equally important."
(He isn't kidding about the worldwide thing. The Hilfiger digital press kit comes in six languages: Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and English.)
All that sand made a great showcase for a sun-kissed collection, although it was a bit humorous to watch the queen bee fashion editors in sky-high stilettos wobble in the sand as they made their way to bleacher seats on each side of the beach.
Hilfiger opened the show with nifty dresses, skirts, blouses and jackets made of neoprene and neoprene-bonded leather in shades of burgundy, beige and blue. One-piece "scuba" swimsuits featured cutouts on the side and, in a more demure version, contrasting fabric where a cutout should be.
Skin-tight scuba pants in two-tone stretch fabric exuded athletic sex appeal, but leather shorts and pants folded down at the waist — which looked like someone left the fly open — were borderline trashy.
Just about everything else in the collection — silk double-breasted jackets in aqua and orange, a mini-dress that resembles a basketball jersey worn with two-tone leather hightops, silk tuxedo track pants with contrasting stripe down the side, Hawaiian silk bowling shirts and bustiers — had a carefree endless summer feeling and lots of good vibrations.
At the end of the show, it was strangely silent in the cavernous hall near the Hudson River. The Voguettes — Anna Wintour and her underlings — were about the only ones applauding. Then it hit me why. Just about everyone else had their smartphones out to capture the perfect beach scene.