H STANDS FOR HILFIGER

THE FORMER MENSWEAR LAUGHINGSTOCK EXPANDS INTO THE WOMEN'S MARKET. HELLO, TOMMY GIRL

In spin language, they call it vision. In the annals of Seventh Avenue, it's known as persistence. Tommy Hilfiger, 45, began in the apparel business peddling jeans, mostly around New York State. In 1984, with backing from Hong Kong tycoon Mohan Murjani, he set up his own shop. Hilfiger led with his chin, with ads in which he compared himself to Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. The industry laughed--here was a tyro pushing rip-off designs and affecting to be an immortal. But Hilfiger was dogged. He came to recognize the flair in black street style, recombined it with his preppie instinct...

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