When I was a youngster, I attended a religious institution where the uniform required a burgundy blazer. Most of my peers and their parents scoffed at the color choice, but I always thought it was kind of chic. Tommy Hilfiger recalled my younger days with a preppy A/W 2011 collection that started with a burgundy overcoat, and brought the color back again and again, in his blocked sweaters, scarves, trousers and jackets.
Hilfiger, with some help from Simon Spurr, evoked “both boarding schools and Brooklyn clubs” with “a foundation for separates,” a movement away from his base for one of America’s kings of the suit. But the mix of prep and indie has been accomplished with great intelligence, as the moleskin blazers and Pendleton striped shirting mixed effortlessly with slim cargo and jersey knit track pants. The whole package was tied together with a focus on outerwear: motorcycle jackets, overcoats (with toggles), bonded macs and heavy bombers dominated. I would have been sent straight to detention if I’d showed up to class in one of his blazer-and-sweatpant combos, even a blazer at natty as these ones, but I like the concept. And classic Tommy fans need not worry: the suits are still power players. This season the trousers have been shortened to give a little more attention to the white-soled boots that clomped up and down The Lion’s dining area.
If there was a distraction here, it was the stripes: the militaristic armbands, stripes and lapel pins, which didn’t kill any vibes, but added an unnecessary dimension (you’ve got preppy and indie—you really need military too?). This swing into youthful revolt is a determined, happy one for Tommy Hilfiger.
It may even be fitting to name this collection Tommy Boy, a nod to a film of my youth that carries much of the same joy, character, and irreverence.
**All photos: IMAXTREE