Backstage at Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2013

Sunday September 9th, 2012 – The Highline

For the past few seasons, Tommy Hilfiger has presented his mens and women’s collection outside of the fabled tents, leveraging the background scenery to tell a narrative. This season was no different for his women’s showing, which was set inside of the Highline park on Manhattan’s lower west side. Lanterns, with their auburn fiery glow were lined along the entrance and hung over the runway, dancing in the wind as a cool breeze broke the stifling summer heat from the day before.

Backstage, stylist Karl Templer and makeup artist Diane Kendal were busy adding their final touches to their works before Tommy comes in for a final inspection. Diane helped makeup artists work on their models, who were busy being powdered, primed, and perfected on a stage above the clothing racks where Karl was finalizing his styling choices. Mr. Hilfiger’s arrival was met with excitement by the staff, who all seemed exhilarated to present his vision in its final form. After taking a peek at the look board followed by an inspection of the clothes and luxurious leather bags on the accessories table, Tommy could hardly wipe the smile from his face. As his staff pressed on, he took some time to provide interviews with the throngs of magazines lined up to speak with him.

Back at the Highline, as guests streamed in so too did the wind, picking up briskly off the Hudson but having the net effect of making the lanterns dance above like wind chimes; it was almost surreal for its simplicity and natural beauty which seemed fitting for TH. In fact, it was almost as if Tommy himself meticulously planned everything to set the perfect, right down to the weather.

Lights dim for just a moment and then in flash of light, all was revealed. One by one, models stepped down from a small wooden Hampton’s cottage at the head of the runway, and revealed TH’s new take of his much-lauded ’85 nautical and safari collection. Bold variations of the Americana color palette, with its regal blues, bold reds, and subtle whites, produced brilliant zigzag print shirtdresses and swimsuits as well as Balenciaga-esque multi-striped leather dresses. Trompe l’œuil rope prints on suit numbers and twisty shirt frocks offered a modern take on maritime motifs, while varsity silk dresses with patriotic trimmings looked modishly minimalist.

A few looks from the men’s collection earlier in the week also made it to the women’s runway, almost as if their counterpart model girlfriends took it from their boyfriends closets and transformed them into something only a women could carry. Case in point, cable knit sweaters with mustard trims and striped cardigans, worn to the waist on the men, reappear elongated to short-dress proportions.

Stripes, whether in breton or multi-tonal patterns, looked sleek on many numbers, be it on a sand silk blouse, navy and white knit polo, or as an open-weave dress. From the sea to a Dakar rally across the Sahel, Tommy shifted into high gear with racing stripe motto pants and jackets and sand tone swimsuits and wide-legged trousers. For evening, a pair of mustard and red trapeze dresses with white hems summarized the collection in one fell swoop: it demonstrated Mr. Hilfiger’s ability to deliver on effortlessly simple clothing, that are simply empirically sophisticated.


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