HILFIGER'S SURPRISE SPLASH WITH CARIBBEAN VIBES

While watching the Caribbean inspired, 70s styled Tommy Hilfiger NYFW runway show I thought to myself, it’s about damn time.  It was quite literally a splash!

The colors — bright, varied, and bold — popped out on the sandy boardwalk replete with pool to the side of this Mustique inspired set (though if you think about it, it could really be any Caribbean island that’s usually a playground for rockstars, royalties and “poorists” alike) as models glided along in exaggerated, bright colors reminiscent of island living.

I’m not usually a fan of Tommy Hilfiger but this new Island line with 70’s styling and multicultural models I can appreciate. If you are part of the millennial generation it may appear as new and innovative with injection of colors imitating pop art, and if you were a product of the 70s then you may have been transported back to the era of self imposed Rastafarian rebellion complete with mellow reggae music and cannabis infused haze.  Hilfiger reinvented the traditional cricket sweater in crochet and polos in netted mesh. His T-shirt dresses were done in multicolored leather and patchwork trim – I’m still having flashbacks of that powder blue calico suit with patchwork trim for pockets that my mother made when I was 6 years old.

But, nostalgia aside, what does this homage from a Fashion insider mean for the Caribbean as our own designers attempt to move towards stuffy, sophisticated styles that doesn’t quite fit in with our tropical lifestyle?

Should our emerging Caribbean designers be embracing designs that reflect a fusion of easy breezy breathable style?

Or should we be trying to reinvent the wheel, as is the currently norm?

Some additional things to consider when thinking of the Caribbean’s natural resources and Mr. Hilfiger’s island oasis.

The set took approximately five months to make -- overcoming tricky elements (like water and palm trees), conducting research, making renderings, and testing colors. According to Hilfiger, "We create our shows to be encompassing experiences that reflect and enhance the collection inspiration. Guests come from all over the world to watch—and I want to give them a show."

THE SET

  •   20,000 gallons of water was used.
  • There was enough sand to cover 7,000 square feet.
  • 100 customized beer bottles were made as props for the Basil's Bar replica (each one was slapped with the Tommy Hilfiger label).
  • The props, including the fruit crates, fishing nets, ropes, shells, floats, anchors, and boat) were all real objects, and many, vintage. Much of it was hand-stenciled with the Tommy show colors.
  • The dinghy was reclaimed and scenic-painted.
  • The sky backdrop was hand-painted in 1968 by old-school Hollywood artists.
  • 14 palm trees were transported from Florida. They were hybrids with faux resin bases and real palm fronds.

THE COLLECTION

  • The Caribbean floral print features hidden reptiles and insects.
  • The animal motifs (the monkey and lion) were inspired by a photo of Mick Jagger in Mustique.
  • The belts were inspired by Caribbean police officers.
  • The jewelry was handmade by a design team that combined elements collected from all over the world.
  • The crochet was handmade for the show.