After holidaying in Mustique this summer, Mr Hilfiger was so inspired he reconstructed a paradise, of sorts, for his upbeat, colour-zapped show. A boardwalk runway, powdery white sand and enormous pool of water served as the set. With Bob Marley on the soundtrack and an Insta-girl casting, he conjured a collection influenced by all things Caribbean, as seen through the Tommy filter. So Oxford shirts were personalised with embroidered eyelets and denim jackets, and chinos were faded as if left out to dry in the sun. But essentially, this was Club Tropicana. Colour-drenched billowing dresses? Check. Strappy little crochet dresses and bikinis? Check. Silk kaftans that might’ve wardrobed Princess Margaret and other aristo Brits back in the day, espadrilles on their feet, swinging an outsized beach tote? Check, check, check. It was a great, wholesome, all-American take on the Bahamas, with a finale line-up of sun-kissed models splashing through the giant paddling pool.
Barbarella-cum-Barbie? On steroids? Not just any old synthetic blonde wigs, these were massive. Not just any old 1960s go-go boots, these were rendered in bright, shiny rubber. You get the picture. What Scott does best – and brilliantly, though, god knows, he’s like Marmite when it comes to dividing the critics – is bring a cartoon image to life. It’s loud, brash and kind of ridiculous. But it’s also brilliant fun to watch and his audience – from Rita Ora to the cast of Empire – look great in the stuff. (As did the lady in the rainbow-striped plastic jumpsuit, gold visor and multi-platform sneakers with spikes sticking out of the toes.) But on a serious note, it’s also beautifully made by Alberta Ferretti’s AEFFE Group. If you’re into clothes that don’t take themselves too seriously (though the endeavour behind them is a deeply serious business for Scott), then you’ll love his 1960s vixens in shimmying sequin shifts, clingy knitwear featuring Spongebob-like faces, raincoats printed with graffiti-scribble, black and white passport photos covering a shift dress, or primary-bright water pistols decorating a mini skirt. Peel off the wigs and false eyelashes, take away the pantomime styling and you’ve got pop-cult-youth clothes that hit the mark. And if you don’t think it’s fun, boo-hiss to you.
3.1 Phillip Lim
The problem with showing in such a cavernous venue is this: the audience is too far from the clothes to see the craft that went into them, the show takes too long and the weedy little audience can’t muster the atmosphere needed to fill the space. (And a fashion writer spends precious lines writing about that and not the fashion.) I get it, he wanted to make the moment monumental: 10 years in business is a big deal for any designer. He also wanted us to 'stop and smell the flowers' (that’s what he called the collection), to pause for a moment and take it all in. But the huge mounds of earth – a ‘sculptural installation’ by environmental artist Maya Lin (the Lim staff were going to repurpose the soil back into New York City community gardens) – simply distracted from the point: Phillip Lim makes beautiful, intelligent, refined clothes and yesterday’s collection, which celebrated subcultures, was no exception. In a palette of army green, ivory, navy, black and tan, he extolled a woman who likes a fancy twist – quite literally – to her clothes. Origami-like sashes of satin coiled around bare backs, across shoulders and waists. Blouses came scooped up and ruffled at the back to reveal naked shoulder blades. Voluminous silk-organza trousers were tied at the waist with trailing ribbons. And he absolutely nailed the long lightweight parka in black and navy – one of next season’s key pieces, as proposed by so many here in New York, and done best here. Ultimately, the clothes looked good. If only we could’ve been up close and personal with them.