Tommy Hilfiger A/W 2016
Tommy Hilfiger A/W 2016 with Gigi Hadid. Photo credit: Yanni Vlamos

We’re going to talk a lot this season about the different things designers try in an attempt to get more out of their fashion week presentations. Everyone has their own idea of what might work and we’ve already seen some do amazingly well and a few crash and burn. One thing that has not changed in all this is fashion’s penchant for spectacle and for this season, at least for New York, it would seem that Tommy Hilfiger is top contender for that prize.

Accustomed as we are to over-the-top Hilfiger sets, he went beyond what anyone in New York has done before by completely taking over Pier 16 at the South Street Seaport and setting up a two-day carnival. Lucky fans who were able to snag tickets can still enjoy the rides, cotton candy, and temporary tattoos through Saturday evening. Of course, there are also plenty of booths selling Hilfiger merch, too. The lights, the smell, the atmosphere, you would think that would be enough to make Tommy happy.

No, he had to go one step further and enlist the collaborative assistance of one of the most popular models on the planet: Gigi Hadid. Whether Tommy took on the spoiled little rich girl for her fashion sense (she’s been a model since walking for Desigual in 2014),  her online following (roughly three times the population of New York City, according to Vogue), or her daddy’s ability to help underwrite this extravaganza (rumored but not substantiated) is anyone’s guess. Whatever his reasons, it worked. Social media was lit up all afternoon with millions of Millennials anxiously waiting to see what Hadid would be wearing.

Then, Hadid’s BFF Taylor Swift showed up to sit on the front row and the Internet couldn’t think of anything else for the next 20 minutes.

For all the spectacle,however, one thing about the adoring Hadid fans is that they actually pay attention to what she’s wearing. They have a proven track record of rushing out to buy whatever outfit she posts on Instagram. So, if one is wanting to jump-start their see-now, buy-now effort I can’t think of a better way to do it than with a celebrity whose fans are all too anxious to buy right now!

Hadid, of course, led the show herself, if you could actually see her through the wall of cell phones being extended out over the runway. I’m guessing the shrunken sailor jacket, knotted tank, fringe neck scarf, and oh-my-gawd tight leather pants she was wearing are likely already sold out, or at least in short supply for popular sizes. There were also plenty of sweater dresses, oversized silk basketball jerseys, roomy red hoodies,  low-slung distressed jeans, studded jackets, branded tees, and enough nautical wear to dress an entire navy.

One could definitely see touches of the model’s influence in the collection, but it was still very much a Tommy Hilfiger presentation. There was no departure from the traditional red, white, and blue color scheme. Everything rode that line between sporty and sexy. There is nothing in the collection that doesn’t look accessible, though one is likely to need daddy’s credit card to actually make a purchase. The Tommy brand didn’t suffer any from the collaboration.

There is one curious element missing, though.  While the model casting included all of Hadid’s best friends, the one person that was missing was her younger sister, Bella. Nowhere to be seen. Could this be a case of extreme sibling rivalry?

When everything is said and done, it will be interesting to see if Hilfiger releases any numbers showing whether sales exceed the cost of this spectacularly expensive show. Just how much purchasing power can a celebrity like Gigi Hadid bring to a brand? If this move proves successful, don’t be surprised to see others looking to bring in heavily followed celebrities for “collaboration” as well. The concept seems like a good one, but the numbers ultimately decide whether this tale is worth retelling.

Now I need a donut.

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