Tommy Hilfiger’s second capsule collection with Gigi Hadid made its debut last month in Venice Beach, California and has since landed in Tommy Hilfiger stores throughout Ireland. The sophomore collaboration, like their previous effort, employed a See Now, Buy Now runway model which deviates from the typical six-month seasonal turnover. Instead, the Spring/Summer 2017 collection was immediately available to purchase online and in store in more than seventy countries worldwide. While only a fraction of this season’s output arrived in Dublin’s Grafton Street branch, the offering is succinct in summarising the collection’s principal ideas.
To put it simply, there is nothing unfamiliar about this collection. That being said, there is strength in Tommy Hilfiger’s predictability – or rather, his consistency. Since 1985, the brand has remained deeply entrenched in its founding aesthetic influences; preppy Americana and popular culture. Over the course of thirty two years, the only changes to the brand – aside from it’s gargantuan growth – are its seasonal variations of preppiness and the celebrity name that inspires it. From Mick Jagger in the nineties to David Bowie in the noughties, this star influence now comes from Gigi Hadid, whose rockstar level of celebrity has earned her the dual role of brand ambassador and celebrity designer. It’s hard to gauge how much creative input celebrity designers have in capsule collections, though it is safe to assume that this season’s distinctly Californian rendering of Americana is an ode to Hadid’s own experience of America, having been born and raised in Los Angeles.
This fusion of surf-inspired style and seventies hippy chic with the signature principles of Tommy Hilfiger’s preppy typology produces an energetic mix-and-match of colour blocking, bomber jackets, oversized polo t-shirts, wispy floral dresses and regular insertions of the American flag print. As previously mentioned, this is nothing new, but it is consumable, practical and fun.
The See Now, Buy Now channel, which typically exploits the feverish desire of consumers post-show, continues to be a fruitful marketing tool for the brand. Within twenty-four hours, the collection hasd almost entirely sold out online. Its offerings in Dublin still remain widely available though, with only a handful of the collection’s hits in store.
The show’s overarching gradation from Californian cool to Californian hippy is signified by a geometric bodycon two piece, an embroidered varsity jacket and a chiffon maxi dress. Interspersed throughout are a number of pieces that weren’t shown on the runway, including cartoon graphic t-shirts and hoodies, baseball caps, tote bags and purses, all retailing at various price points. While the collection’s price diversity is welcomed from a consumer standpoint, the clothes just aren’t as convincing hanging on a rail in Dublin as they might have been on Gigi and Co in Southern California. If anything, the varsity jacket with its embroidered emblems of Americana feels kitschy and somewhat disconnected on a display in the Grafton Street store.
The collection’s highlights can be found in the bodycon co-ord worn by Hadid in the international advertisements and in the print maxi dress, a style derived from the dress she closed the show in. Their allure lies not just in the quality of their fabric or their interesting design, but largely in their association with Gigi Hadid. Her powerhouse personal brand salvages this collection from stumbling into what could have been a cartoonish ode to America. It seems that while the concept of Americana is a hard sell in 2017, Hadid’s image remains universally in-demand.