New York Fashion Week has its fair share of designers with extravagant, thematic sets. There's Marc Jacobs, who, per tradition, closes out the week by pulling such stunts as transforming an iconic movie theater into a functioning venue. Kate Spade's presentations have become a hot ticket item, too, highlighting the brand's feminine offerings via a jazz club or flower market. But no one does a spectacle quite like Tommy Hilfiger, who has erected a football field, a Caribbean island, a ski resort and a gerbera daisy field for his ready-to-wear shows. For fall 2016, the designer raised the bar, this time placing his runway aboard the deck of cruise liner, the "T.H. Atlantic," nestled inside the Upper East Side's Park Avenue Armory.
As I sat facing two giant smokestacks emitting real, frothy smoke, it was as clear as ever that Hilfiger spared no expense when constructing this catwalk. Strung atop the ceiling were strands of floating tea lights, and front row guests sat on convincing wooden benches (i.e., the label's first-ever "InstaPit") arranged side by side. With a giant American flag waving from the ship's stern, it was, perhaps, the label's most Instagram-able display yet.
The clothes followed suit. When The Washington Post's Robin Givhan wrote that certain pieces "looked more like costumes than clothes," she wasn't wrong. We spotted not one, not two, but 15 (!) variations of the classic captain coat, and seven sailor pants (counting a pair of wide-legged overalls worn by Binx Walton). There was a series of knee-length silk dresses, many of which featured an illustrated nautical print containing yachts, waves and starfish. Sailor stripes took many forms, including a navy-and-white leather top on Stella Maxwell and heavy trousers on Alice Metza.
To be fair, the pieces looked as beautiful in-person as they do now through a screen. Details like sequined collars and metallic piping made for one of the most intricate collections I've seen this season. But — am I alone here in thinking that a number of styles and flourishes were reminiscent of other brands's signatures? A slew of models (including Hilfiger collaborator Gigi Hadid) wore tiny tiaras, an accessory made relevant again at Saint Laurent's spring 2016 show. In the third-to-last look, Walton sported a jazzy, cap-sleeved silk dress in a fire engine red that immediately recalled Jacobs's '30s-inspired spring 2016 collection. A pair of glittery, high-waisted underwear as seen on Sara Sampaio was reminiscent of Dolce & Gabbana's spring 2015 version, and the metallic trompe l'oeil embellishments on Hadid's gold finale dress were distinctly Gucci.
Any likeness aside, the collection's vintage Americana theme was undeniably on-brand for Hilfiger. Get ready to see a number of these pieces on upcoming red carpets and late-night talk shows alike — but in the meantime, click through the gallery below to see Hilfiger's fall 2016 collection in full.