Preppy style as we know it in its modern form is ambling—maybe we should say vacationing—into its third decade. Time, says Tommy Hilfiger, one of its original codifiers, for a little update. So while Tommy recently created a new collection, Prep World, to keep the spirit alive and export it worldwide, his namesake line is trying something new. "We're calling it indie prep—indie rock meets preppy," he explained at an intimate presentation at the Lion today. "The classic silhouettes become a bit slimmer; it's chicer, with very interesting, new, fresh detail."
"Fresh detail" is a promise often made and seldom honored, but the collection did have a welcome snap to it. The traditional navy and red became Air Force blue and burgundy, which recurred throughout. The suit was cast off in favor of separates, worn in concert and in conflict—like a black-grosgrain-trimmed navy tux jacket worn with (gasp) burgundy-piped pinstripe pants. The dress pant was a skinny wool flannel cargo. And the chunky hand-knit turtlenecks came color-blocked.
Partial credit goes to Simon Spurr, the English menswear designer who's now consulting on the line. While in his own collection he tends toward Euro suave, the chance to let his hair down seems to have done him good. There was a brisk, poppy elegance on display that feels like a true meeting of the minds. It's a little late in the day to be shocked by prep, but for the first time in a while, it felt attention needed to be paid.