Spring 2018 Menswear
June 16, 2017
Tommy Hilfiger has long been established as part of the American fashion pantheon. With Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, the triumvirate embodies what all subsequent American brands aspire to, and despite its ups and downs, and close shaves with more downmarket directions (deals involving both Walmart and J.C. Penney have presented themselves), Hilfiger has stuck to its affordable luxury guns.
When I was a teenager, among my social set, Hilfiger was all the rage—the ’90s rap scene with all its oversized swag. While, as a middle class white kid in private school, I wasn’t necessarily driving that trend, adolescent rebellion led me to such artists as Snoop (Doggy Dogg) who was one of a number who donned Hilfiger duds, cementing them as the height of that hip-hop regalia.
I still have a soft spot for the style of that stage in my life, but I’ve evolved, and so has Hilfiger. It’s funny, but on all the occasions I’ve met Mr. Hilfiger, I am always struck by how humble he is, and my theory is that his humility comes from struggle. Despite the magnitude of its ups, the brand has had its fair share of downs too, and right now there is a tricky balancing act between its moderate Macy’s business, and a more aspirational offering.
A partnership with Gigi Hadid is proof that whether the brand’s finger has or hasn’t been on the proverbial pulse, it is now. And the upcoming collaboration with Vetements is further proof to be found in the pudding. Like a number of other brands, Hilfiger is also making the move to see-now, buy-now. Come September this year, the full Fall collection will be presented in London.
At Pitti Uomo, we were given a taste of things to come—a huge mini-complex within the Fortezza da Basso in Florence was transformed, illustrating the blueprint for Hilfiger’s in-store evolution. Digital, automated screens on which customers can scroll through looks and choose items, and huge, digital walls with lookbook shots tiled across them.
While the collection this season retains many elements of the preppy Americana with which Hilfiger is so synonymous, there is a heavy streetwear influence again too. And although there was something of a backlash the last time Hilfiger went street, streetwear isn’t what it used to be. Streetwear these days is about comfort and cool, and Hilfiger Spring 2018 has both those things, combined effortlessly with more classic elements—a loose-fitting rugby shirt with billowing, oversized sleeves in Hilfiger’s classic red, white, and blue is paired with navy slacks, cuffed and creased, and black wingtip brogues with a chunky bright red sole; a fitted black leather moto jacket with an asymmetrical zip is layered under a shiny red souvenir jacket, worn with classic, straight-leg khaki chinos. But there are also chinos with wide, exaggerated legs, one worn with an army green flight jacket, another with a multi-colored camo-paneled shirt.
The formula here is essentially a mashup of the most successful periods in Hilfiger history. Combined in this way, though, the brand has succeeded in positioning itself squarely in the here and now.
Spring 2018 Menswear