February 08, 2013 New York
Nutter favored bold patterns. Therein lay Hilfiger's greatest debt. Men's designers this season have been rediscovering the classics—houndstooth, glen plaid, Prince of Wales—and Hilfiger took them all, piled them on top of one another, and played with the scale. But this was Tommy on Tommy (maybe that should be Tommy, Tommyfied), so the proportions were 2013. "The real sixties and seventies Savile Row pieces have four-to-six-inch lapels," Hilfiger said. "We've reshaped it for today." The fabric innovations were today, too. Wools were bonded to macs or to shearlings, which themselves were flocked with patterns. Knits were bonded to leather and ponyskin. In the case of an argyle sweater, what looked 2-D from afar turned out to be a study in 3-D relief.
"Savile Row meets Ivy League," Hilfiger's own description, is the kind of glib catchphrase he delivers every season. It didn't come close to capturing the suave, brash fabulosity of the collection. (A teddy-fur jacket was actually Steiff—it could've been your childhood bear!) It wasn't just that Tommy was coming full circle to his predecessor Tommy. It was that the Englishness that consultant Simon Spurr has been injecting into the collections these past few seasons sat side by side with Hilfiger's made-in-the-U.S.A. reds, whites, and blues—bonded together, literally. It marked the summa of a fruitful collaboration that's coming, alas, to a close. Which fact alone is enough to make you hope that these clothes make their wending way to the stores.