Earlier today, I spotted two oft-photographed young fashion editors wearing the high-heeled duck boots that Tommy Hilfiger showed for Fall. A minor anecdotal incident? Perhaps. But for a man who has the masses sewn up, a glittery little chunk of fashion cred has to be gratifying—especially in the year his business turns 25.
The new life in last season's collection was evidently the result of bringing in designer Peter Som to splash a bucketful of his uptown-eccentric sensibility over Hilfiger's rotating library of classics. The partnership continued on the Spring catwalk, where the new contender for coveted shoe is a leather Top-Sider raised onto a blocky platform heel. The theme, in case you hadn't guessed yet: Twisted Country Club. At this madcap Maidstone, a girl can wear her khakis as a backless halter dress, and no one frowns on a flippy tennis skirt in Pepto pink silk.
Meanwhile, her rocker-wannabe boyfriend isn't afraid to express himself by the color of his socks, which will inevitably be visible between the hem of his rolled-up chinos or skinny pegged trousers and the top of his (possibly leopard) loafers. He can take a bright hue in bigger doses, too. You say powder pink double-breasted blazer, he says canary and magenta madras trousers.
It was a peppy, preppy vision that, at times, neared the far boundaries of Hilfiger's codes. Yet it never spilled into something that felt untrue to his spirit. Before the show, a disembodied voice announced crowd-control directions for Hilfiger's very lavish post-show party in celebration of his 25th anniversary. Then came the promise that this was the first collection of the next 25. Not a bad start at that.