February 06, 2008
"It feels iconic," said Tommy Hilfiger of showing at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Then he flashed a grin at the mention of his recent pop-culture tome celebrating Americanaa subject fetishized in every collection he's ever designed. Once upon a time that meant hoodies and jeans. Now, in the third season since the brand was remade, it means realas in self-consciously grown-upclothes. For Fall, Hilfiger made the sixties- and seventies-era photographs of Sam Haskins his guiding light for their "pure, clean, and understated look." Those references were evident very literally on the runway. Princess coats, sheath dresses, and tunic tops over wide trousers recalled the boomer years a bit too readily and, red-white-and-blue palette notwithstanding, were bloodlessly executed. There were moments of sexiness: for example, a body-hugging knit dress and a mixed-pattern ensemble of a plaid bow blouse and polka-dot skirt that had a frisson of youthful energy. But on the whole, this seemed to be a collection skewed to a much older customer than this label used to aim for. It would be too bad if, in the process of luxe-ing up his line, Hilfiger took all the fun out of his fashion game.