Fashion: The Greatest Carnival of All

Ahead of Tommy Hilfiger’s NYFW spectacle, we revisit fashion’s carnival obsession

The fashion industry is the biggest circus in town. Strange figures and shady people in elaborate costumes ask people to step right up to various spectacles and drop their money on the biggest ongoing scam of all: trendy clothes. Every tribe has its ringleaders and those who will jump through hoops. It’s a fun ride, even if there are a few clowns.

In an unwittingly self-referential way, fashion also takes great inspiration from the big top, with countless collections inspired by carnival lore, runway shows that set the scene, and parties complete with fortunetellers, carousels, bumper cars, and beyond. Where the love affair comes from is anyone’s guess, but it might have something to do with the fact that the carnival fairground is the only place on earth whose eccentric, self-aware (and yet, not self-aware enough) characters are slightly stranger than we are.

Whether it’s on Louis Vuitton’s runway or at Alexander Wang’s after party, the carnival theme pops up without fail every few seasons, and for Spring 2017, it’s Tommy Hilfiger’s turn. During NYFW, the iconic American brand will grab the proverbial torch, and debut its new collection, a collaboration with Gigi Hadid, during a fashion fair at Pier 16. Titled “Tommy Pier,” the pop-up will feature a Ferris wheel, games, and food, and will re-open the day after the show for customers through the Hilfiger Club.

We’ll have to wait until September 9th to see if Hilfiger puts on the greatest show on earth, but in the meantime, we’ve revisited six of the best fashion carnival moments of all time. Hold on to your hats, folks, and click through our slideshow to see the fashion set’s best carnivals to date.

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