Vroom vroom: Hilfiger revs up for spring at MFW

hilfigerWhen Tommy Hilfiger announced his deal with Formula One World Champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport a few weeks ago, I though it was just another sponsorship deal.

But if the label’s runway show in Milan at the weekend was anything to go by, it’s much bigger than that. In fact, as the brand’s four-year headline-grabbing deal with supermodel/Instagram influencer Gigi Hadid comes to an end, its seems Mercedes and motorsport are stepping up to the plate and are going to be the big influences on its collections for at least a few seasons.

And while Hadid’s perky, sexy, sweetly casual approach may have seemed like a good fit for TH, the motorsport links works just as well, if not better.

The final Tommy Hilfiger x Gigi Hadid see now, buy now collection was heavily motorsport influenced and I actually liked it more than any of the brand’s other recent collections (I have to think back to SS16 to find one I liked more).

So with Hilfiger now targeting F1’s giant half a billion-strong audience, what did the show have to offer?

A runway like a racetrack, pit lanes for people to buy the collection in a celebration of motorsport style and a collection aesthetic that made me want to dig the Paul Newman movie Winning out of my dusty DVD pile.

F1 may have dispensed with its walk-on ‘grid girls’ (in a wave of #metoo-influenced attempts to not appear sexist) but Hilfiger seems happy to provide some motorsport glamour.

Think Gigi Hadid in moto-meets-athleisure leather trousers with matching crop top; her sister in a bandeau with the words ‘speed winner’ on it; a pit crew jumpsuit covered in Hilfiger branding; the black and white of the chequered flag cropping up here there and everywhere (bra tops, cycle shorts, visors, crop tops); chopped-off skinny-cut moto leather jackets in red, white and blue, and so much more.

In fact, red, white and blue (with black thrown in for good measure) was the dominant colourway and stressed the relationship of each piece to the others, even when the moto theme was less obvious.

And that’s good news – after all, not everyone wants to spend the summer dressed as a grid girl. For the rest of us, there’s a series of easy-to-wear casual pieces with a heavy dose of Americana (think flags and classic American casualwear pieces). Bombers, festival shorts, tees, easy knits, mini skirts and swimwear.

Highlights were the long sheer skirts with prints that combined both an F1 influence and some flag-waving for the US of A. But they were about as dressy as it got. For the most part, looks such as a vivid red cropped sweat with drawstring red leather pants, some oversized striped shirting or denim with tiny appliqués of cartoonish or heraldic lions fed into the ultra casual approach that so many people take to dressing today.

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