New York Fashion Week: It’s Opposite Day at Tommy Hilfiger’s fall-winter menswear presentation

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The Friday showing of Tommy Hilfiger’s fall-winter 2011 menswear collection felt like the the fashion week equivalent of Opposite Day.

Fresh off last season’s outsized 25th-anniversary bash in the cavernous tents at Lincoln Center, the designer chose to show his menswear in the clubby, intimate dining room of The Lion restaurant in the West Village -- a space roughly the size of a Manhattan apartment.

And, while the designer milled about, chatted with guests and posed for photographs before the show began, he didn’t step out to make the traditional designer’s appearance after the runway finale.

But Tommy Hilfiger’s biggest -- and most significant -- move in the opposite direction was the menswear collection itself. Having plumbed the preppie pantheon for decades, and even kicking it up a notch with his spring-summer 2011 ‘twisted country club’ collection, Hilfiger has toned down the color, trimmed down the silhouette and turned to the indie music scene for inspiration.


That meant burgundy wool, gray cashmere and military green cotton alongside the navy blues and khakis of the Hilfiger DNA, with the occassional punch of claret red (in cashmere and corduroy).

Along with the clubby influences of British boarding schools and Brooklyn clubs, Hilfiger mined the military motif in a way he hasn’t in the past, (‘Airforce blue is the new navy,’ proclaimed the show notes), with lapel pins that resembled military insignia, regimental stripes and a subtle camouflage pattern print that pairs the aforementioned shade of blue and black on single-breasted suit jackets and cable knit sweaters.

Back in November, it was announced that designer Simon Spurr (who is showing his eponymous line during New York Fashion Week) had been tapped to serve as a creative consultant to Tommy Hilfiger menswear, and his influence could be seen here, especially in the sharp-tailored pieces, and the recurring double-stripe motif Spurr favors appearing on wool coats and neckties.

It wasn’t completely Opposite Day, though: Like many of the menswear labels shown in Milan and Paris in January, the collection was heavily focused on outerwear pieces, including the nearly ubiquitous toggle button coat (Hilfiger threw in a few chunky knit scarves with toggle button closures for good measure), and blanket wool coats.

At first blush, the fall-winter 2011 menswear collection may seem like an abrupt shift from the traditional Tommy we all know and love, but with the label now officially in its second quarter-century, it’s actually more of an evolution.

Call it Tommy 2.0

-- Adam Tschorn in New York

Tommy Hilfiger Fall-Winter 2011 runway collection photo gallery