Does Tommy Hilfiger’s Comeback Mark The Return Of Americana Fashions?

Maybe it’s just my generation, but I don’t ever remember a time when Tommy Hilfiger was considered cool. I was aware that in the not-too distant past, TH designs were pretty classy, but by the time I was style-aware, the brand had already become cheapened into patriotic logo fashions. Basically, no one was going around bragging about their hot Hilfiger handbag. As the designer says himself, “The large logos and the big red, white and blue theme became ubiquitous … It got to the point where the urban kids didn’t want to wear it and the preppy kids didn’t want to wear it.” In fact, I even remember a scene from the MTV reality series “Rich Girls” in which 16-year-old Ali Hilfiger is recruited by her dad to come in and review his collection. It was both no surprise and heartbreaking as she went through every piece, not really liking anything, and suggesting massive changes as a team of pissed-off designers and her obviously disappointed dad looked on. Not that Ali has turned out to be some huge style icon, but Tommy probably could have benefited from an overhaul along the lines of her suggestions back then. Turns out, Tommy Hilfiger has finally gotten around to re-branding with the help of Peter Som, going back to his roots with a collection that’s distinctly Americana-preppy, with collegiate-feeling blazers and sweaters, smart trench coats, and some elegant evening wear. Even Anna Wintour is singing his praises: “Tommy has been able to come back and reinvent himself and you have to give him a lot of credit for that.” Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if Hilfiger’s new flavor hits a chord, and trickles down with an influence … although we shudder to think about an Abercrombie or AE circa 2002 revival. [NY Times]