Tommy Hilfiger has been in business 20 long years, and he spared no extravagance last night to celebrate the milestone anniversary. As the lights dimmed on a star-studded front row that included Lou Reed, Paris Hilton, Jason Lewis, and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, who was scheduled to perform at the after-party, a movie of the designer's career highlights began rolling on the runway's enormous screen. Clips from his myriad rock concerts, fashion shows, countless celebrity photo ops, and reality TV hit The Cut whizzed past to a soundtrack by David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz, and Hilfiger's old pal, Mr. Jagger.
Next came the models: exactly 100 of them, in tried-and-true preppy staples like seersucker suits, madras bermudas, rugby sweaters, and tan "I spent the summer at the beach" bare feet. In a tongue-in-cheek nod to his early days as a hip-hop clothier, boxers peeked over the waistbands of low-slung khakis and Nantucket-red pants, but everything elsetennis-racket-print shirtdress, anyone?looked pulled from a Kennedy's closet. A huge beaded anchor splayed across a flaring skirt took the all-American and nautical themes at least a league too far, but Hilfiger made no apologies. As he came out for an enthusiastic bow, he sang along to the Rolling Stones hit "Only Rock 'n' Roll": "I like it, I like it."