Tommy x Zendaya: hotter than ever in Harlem
Now, that’s what we call a finely fabulous, funky fashion moment – as Tommy Hilfiger moved his link up with Zendaya to the Apollo Theater on 125th Street in Harlem on Sunday night.
Tommy’s transfer from ritzy Paris last season to funky uptown was gutsy, and the result was an action-packed show, and a collection that referenced the glory days of black culture in the 1970s.
Harking back to the heroes and heroines of Blaxploitation movies like Shaft, Superfly and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the clothes had all the steamlined style, flared fantasy and big-collared proportions of that great decade, with large dollops of sass and the sexiness thrown in for good measure.
Security was tight all the way from the 125th Street subway station to the Apollo, where an audience of over 1,000 marched into the famed auditorium and out the other side into a dramatic movie-style exterior set.
Before a pair of brownstone stoops, a troupe of dancers were already grooving as the audience took their seats. A trio of violists, perched on the rim of a red Ford Thunderbird convertible, backed up a quartet of brass.
This see now, buy now Tommy x Zendaya fall 2019 collection opened with some great elongated pants, waistcoats and jackets in sleek leather, often paired with houndstooth jackets – cut with big jut-away lapels and pinched waists. Houndstooth in multiple scales often combined in the same garment – like the winter cabans and spruce business suits, though, overall these were frequently Friday night clothes. Fitted out with mega polkadot chiffon scarves, massive fedora hats and spike heel boots.
“Think Diana Ross and the Supremes; Martha and the Vandellas; James Brown; The Four Tops and Marvin Gaye. Those were the Motown stars of the Seventies and they all dressed head to toe in velvet, satin, matching shoes and matching trousers, hats and shirts. The year of movement on stage in a uniform way,” explained Tommy.
Mid-way through, even a few menswear ideas, notably a faux snakeskin suit worn by a model who did a sensational display of breaks and jitterbugs – earning a huge cheer. It marked the first time Hilfiger has done animal prints. And to finish the action, the lovely Sudanese model Alek Wek, in a laser-cut red velvet pantsuit studded with crystals.
Zendaya marks the third Hilfiger collab with a major star – following on from Gigi Hadid and Lewis Hamilton. Hilfiger is mulling taking the latter to London next February.
“See now, buy now has been very successful. We have not thought of leaving that idea behind. It’s about bringing the collections quickly to the people,” opined the designer.
Hilfiger again showed his uncanny ability to tap into the zeitgeist. His timing with Zendaya could not have been better, seeing she is currently the lead in the hottest new American TV drama – Euphoria.
“I guess we have been a little lucky with our timing,” smiled Tommy, before going on to outline some of the differences in the collabs.
“Zendaya has a stylist, Law Roach, who is incredibly involved. Gigi was just on her own. Zendaya is like dealing with a design team, which is different. Their demands on fit, and the level of sophistication is higher. Gigi wanted fun and youthful and beach. This is different, and it leads us into a business we are not already in, and to meeting a consumer we didn’t really know,” said Tommy.
He has always been an equal opportunity employer – and almost one fifth of the cast of some 60 models were plus size, and very much proud of that.
“I thought it was great. It managed to combine the tailoring of the Seventies, yet make it look modern,” said Olivia Palermo, the Instagram star who has just launched her own e-tailing business.
At the finale, Tommy took his bow with Zendaya and gentleman stylist Roach, who wore a leather skirt – winning a standing ovation.
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