February 08, 2007
The backdrop of a redwood forestthere was mist in the "treetops"soared to the ceiling of the Hammerstein Ballroom. The setting evoked a pure American spirit; at a stretch, you might say it was kinda like the way that Tommy Hilfiger once embodied red, white, and true-blue American sportswear for the rest of the world. But, as his recently opened Paris boutique shows, Hilfiger now means something altogether different, and his collection reflected that new perception. If the backdrop was primal, the clothes were anything but. They'd been shorn of the street and the rock show. Trimly tailored plaids were now the foundation, in everything from a black watch peacoat to a glen plaid tux. The look was collar-and-tie dressy: tartan shirt, tie in another tartan, plaid suit over all. Hilfiger also indulged his affection for menswear tradition with houndstooth coats, velvet suits, and pinstriped gray flannels. But these functioned as relatively restrained accents among the symphony of cross-hatching that defined the collection. The show notes invoked "classic American cool," but what the clothes really embodied was the internationalism of Hilfiger's style now.