What’s In A NAHM?
No surprise to hear that the garment trade is in Ally Hilfiger’s blood. But while, she says, she’d always kept being a designer in the back of her mind, for years it went no further. “The front of my mind was thinking, I want to be my own person, I want to do my own thing. I don’t want to be categorized as being in the same business [as] my parents,” Hilfiger said by phone from her Garment District studio. “I did many different things”—styling and acting and the ubiquitous foray into reality TV among them—”and it helped me grow independently as a business person. But it’s in my blood to be in this business. I feel like I’ve been in school for this for my whole life.”
When fashion did come calling, she started by consulting on her father Tommy’s collections. “I definitely rolled up my sleeves and got my hands quite dirty,” she assures us. Her graduation comes this season with NAMH, the new line she’s debuting with designer Nary Manivong. (NAMH is Nary Ally Manivong Hilfiger; Manivong’s namesake collection is being put on hold to focus on the new venture.) The collection is based on the shirtdress (like the one at left)—”taking the classic and twisting it,” Hilfiger says, turning out versions in wools, silks, and specialty fabrics. “I really believe in perfecting the art of these shirtdresses. They’re so wearable, for so many types of women.” Designed, patterned, and produced in New York, they’ll debut at the line’s presentation during New York fashion week. And while there are probably some skeptics out there waiting to be convinced, proving naysayers wrong is another family trait. Let’s not forget there were more than a few people asking “Tommy who?” when that infamous mid-eighties Times Square billboard put the future mogul’s then unfamiliar name up there with Calvin, Ralph, and Perry Ellis.