Tommy Hilfiger takes over the Oyster Bar in Grand Central for a joyous New York-centric fashion show


NEW YORK (AP) — Tommy Hilfiger threw himself a welcome home party Friday night at Grand Central’s Oyster Bar with Questlove as his DJ and Jon Batiste serenading Anna Wintour on his melodica while a bevy of global celebrities looked on.

Turning the iconic restaurant into “The Tommy” club for a night, Hilfiger called his New York Fashion Week show “A New York Moment,” rolling out roomy, ’90s prep classics for the bash. The last time he hit town for fashion week was in September 2022, when his crowd braved rain for his “Tommy Factory” show at a Brooklyn drive-in theater.

This time, happy and dry underground beneath the transportation hub’s vaulted ceilings, fans lined ramps for a glimpse of K-pop’s Nayeon, her countryman Junho Lee, Indian actor Sonam Kapoor and various other friends of the brand: Sofia Richie Grainge and Damson Idris among them. Sylvester Stallone popped in at the end.

As the crowd sipped cocktails in booths, Hilfiger stuck to what he knows on models walking through: rugby shirts, blazers, chinos and varsity jackets in corduroy and herringbone. There were tailored women’s coats in wool, checks and earth-toned tweeds, and chunky cable knits and mini-dress polos in cashmere.

Hilfiger put some of his famous guests in pieces that were shoppable as he continued to embrace a “see now, buy now” approach to fashion shows.

Who’s wearing his take on so-called affordable luxury?

During a preview Thursday at his Madison Avenue offices, Hilfiger ticked off his primary markets of today: Germany, France, Italy, England, Turkey, various parts of Scandinavia and Greece among them.

“That business is now bigger than the U.S. business,” he told The Associated Press. “We’re going to bring it back in the states now because we have really focused a lot on international growth. And this is a statement we’re making, that we’re coming home, and we’re taking it very seriously.”

And who had the most fun during his New York return? Hilfiger himself. He sipped a martini as he posed with Stallone and others for photos after his finale, when Batiste played along to his hit “Freedom” as he walked through the crowd. The designer even briefly joined Questlove in his booth.

On the runway, Hilfiger kept his logo messaging to a minimum as he attempts to “grasp,” as he called it, U.S. consumers once again.

“We have to do it in a different way. We have to give them more elevated product, more modern fabrics and fits, and avoid redundancy,” he said. “We’ve got a very big polo shirt business, chino pant business, Oxford shirt business. But the consumer wants more than just that. Those are his or her staples. We’re now going to bring some more excitement. And some more sophistication.”

Hilfiger started his eponymous brand in New York in 1985. PVH acquired it in 2010. Global retail sales of the brand’s wide range of products totaled about $9.1 billion in 2022.

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