Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2012

Five Questions with Tommy Hilfiger

One of the few designers to show both a men's and women's collection each season, Tommy Hilfiger has reinvented classic American cool for more than 25 years. He talks to TIME about this season's inspirations, why he loves Karl Lagerfeld and which deceased celebrity he would have liked to dress.

What inspired the men's and women's collections this year?
[The] military played a big part. We did a military-cadet theme for men, and for women, town and country is a big theme with the sporting life as an undertone. The inspiration is really the heritage of classic sporting life — it's Greenwich, Conn. meets Park Avenue. Sporting life infused with sophistication.

You celebrated the 25th anniversary of your label a couple years ago. How do you stay inspired year after year?
It's always iconic, classic American somehow. If you look over the years, you see a lot of the preppy heritage coming through. This year is no different, but this is just more sophisticated. I also believe people enjoy the sporting life and the outdoors, so it always has something to do with that. Over the years, these themes present themselves, but they're done in a different way every time.

Is there a celebrity you'd like to dress who you haven't worked with yet?
That's quite a question — do you want alive or dead?

I always thought Jackie Kennedy was pretty cool, and I would like to have dressed her because I think she had great sporting lifestyle, and she also had great heritage and was from a very interesting family. Today, it varies. A lot of the young stars are dressed by stylists, so they don't have their own taste. If you look at some of the girls like Nicole Kidman — she has a great sensibility. Gwyneth Paltrow also has great style of her own. Brad Pitt would also be on top of the list — I think he's pretty cool.

What other shows are you looking forward to this season?
I would say Karl Lagerfeld has the most exciting shows in the world. I've been to a couple of his shows, and if I were to choose another show to attend, it would be Karl's, whether it would be for Karl Lagerfeld or Chanel. Karl is the showman of the world.

What's your favorite part about New York?
Classic stories about New York Fashion Week. We were at Madison Square Garden once, just before show time, and Naomi Campbell had a skirt on which the zipper broke. We had the seamstresses practically chasing her down the runway, but she made it down the runway and back without anyone helping. She was moving like a real pro and the audience was not interested in looking at the zipper, but at Naomi Campbell [instead].