Tommy Hilfiger was among the most high-profile names to announce they'd be skipping New York Fashion Week this February, in favor of showing elsewhere — in this case, London. The occasion? The fourth installment of his ongoing collaboration with Lewis Hamilton.
The reason for showing in the U.K. was simple, Hilfiger told Fashionista backstage, ahead of the see-now-buy-now show: "It's Lewis's home."
The American designer and the British Formula One driver debuted their design partnership in Shanghai in September 2018 and have taken it to Milan and New York. But for Spring 2020, they wanted to return to Hamilton's home base.
"We've done it in Milan, we've done a party in New York — it was really important for me to bring it home and highlight the great culture we have in London," said Hamilton. On top of hosting the show there, that meant booking a British choir to perform and tapping some superstar local talent (um, hi, Naomi Campbell opened) to walk down the runway.
As far as the Spring 2020 pieces themselves, "I wanted it to be very universal, very unisex," Hamilton said. "You'll see at the show, there's all ages, all different ethnic backgrounds and sizes. I want it to fit everywhere." The collection also featured a collaboration within the collaboration — with singer H.E.R., who helped create some of the graphic neon pieces seen on the runway.
Another element that was important to Hamilton was having sustainability narrative — something that has come up in past installments of the collaboration. "I'm constantly pushing these designers to find new ways of making materials in the lowest impact way," he explained, noting how, this time around, the brand worked with Sorona to develop some of the down featured in the collection and used organic cotton, fabric made from recycled water bottles and vegan glue in the shoes.
"Lewis brought his ideas to us," Hilfiger said of working with Hamilton again. "He brought his own closet to us — vintage, streetwear, workwear, denim. We thought, 'This is fantastic, because he loves what we love.'" He was also very involved with the process, down to picking buttons and logos, according to Hilfiger: "He's not just a great face or a great athlete fronting a brand. He's designing the brand with us."
Over the past few years, Tommy Hilfiger — once a marquee on the New York Fashion Week calendar — has shown in Paris, Shanghai, Milan, L.A. and, yes, even London (for his Fall 2017 Tommy x Gigi collection). Though the brand returned to New York last September, Hilfiger isn't down traveling just yet. "We're a global brand, so wherever we go we have lots of fans," he explained. "And many of these fans don't have the opportunity to see fashion shows because fashion shows are usually New York, Milan, Paris and London. Going to Shanghai, going to L.A. we've really taken the show on the road. And we'll continue to do that."
See all the looks in Tommy Hilfiger's Spring 2020 collection in the gallery below:
Disclosure: The British Fashion Council partly paid for my accommodations in London during fashion week.