“It’s always been my dream to have a store in Knightsbridge,” Tommy Hilfiger told us over breakfast this morning at his brand new flagship store on London’s Brompton Road. “When I was 18 I opened my first shop in my hometown of Elmira, New York, and it was the size of the fitting room in this shop. I sold bell-bottom jeans, incense, candles and all the appropriate gear for music-loving fashion fans at the time.”
The designer, who is celebrating 25 years in the business, isn’t your typical fashion man. For one thing, he’s built his brand primarily on accessible casualwear. “I always wanted my line to be affordable and accessible, because where I grew up people couldn’t really understand why anyone would pay outrageous amounts for fashion. Now it’s become very popular with the H&Ms and the Zaras to offer consumers great fashions at great prices. But it’s always been my philosophy and we’ve never changed that.”
For another thing, he doesn’t believe in style rules. “Years back you could only wear a plaid tie with a solid suit. But we think that throwing the rule book away and allowing the customer the opportunity to style it up they way he or she wants to is much more desirable.”
And finally, Tommy isn’t your traditional publicity-shy designer. He’s appeared in several reality TV shows, starring his “slightly dysfunctional” (as he calls them) family, and even portrayed them in his ad campaigns. “My favourite ad ever is the Hilfiger family campaign that’s running right now because it mimics my real family, which is large and very diverse.”
The store is, as you can imagine, a prepster’s paradise. “This look is originally British, with the Scottish tartan and the navy blazers worn in boarding schools or rowing teams at Henley. We’ve taken that look and made it more casual and less serious.”
So what are we drooling over in this shiny new store? The printed silk pyjama pants (worn as daywear with a cableknit cashmere knit), the sequined bubble skirt, the chunky navy knit cardigan woven with grosgrain ribbon, the patent platform sandals, the tartan stuffed puppy dogs… and that’s just for starters.
Check out the new Tommy Hilfiger store at 63-65 Brompton Road, London, SW3.
By Maria Milano