Red, white, and blue still ring true forTommy Hilfiger. But this time around, it’s a “deeper red, a deeper navy, and off-white,” said the designer backstage before his show. The reason? He had looked to the U.K. and its heritage dressing for fall inspiration—specifically the Savile Row shop of menswear revolutionary Tommy Nutter, tailor to sixties and seventies rock stars (see Mick Jagger, the Beatles). “He was irreverent and he mixed patterns,” Hilfiger said. “Which I love.”
So that explains the playful, but not wacky, combination of blown-up pinstripes, argyle printed over houndstooth (quite nicely on a white blouse), and Prince of Wales plaid set amidst a backdrop of trompe l’oeil double-story library walls to the sounds of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds.
And the silhouettes, those are pure collegiate prep; Hilfiger’s other inspiration was the Ivy League, with some Oxford thrown in for good measure. And it starts with freshman year–miniskirts, peacoats, double-breasted blazers, topped off with university scarves and fedoras and knit hats (by Albertus Swanepoel). It’s what you might imagine Serena Frome, the smart and pretty heroine of Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Sweet Tooth, wearing at Cambridge before she joins MI5 and becomes a spy.
But things get a little more sophisticated from there. Hilfiger goes to pinstripe territory with a slim-cut suit, laser-cut leather-and-suede dresses, and a head-to-toe navy houndstooth look of overcoat, turtleneck, and trousers. And the most grown-up of all are the last three looks Hilfiger showed, all-ivory jackets, dresses, and trousers that would make any coed or graduate, British or American, Princeton or public school girl very happy.