To say Tommy Hilfiger show was a carnival is an understatement at best. The American designer pulled out all the stops, showcasing what a well-oiled marketing team looks like for their first in-season fashion show, except maybe for the budget and available resources. From the moment they decided to tap Gigi Hadid as co-designer for the fall collection, to the opening of the gates for over 2,000 public guests to attend the show, the acknowledgement travelled fast through the social media-sphere, much like a well-orchestrated advertising campaign would: the show was set to be the event of the week.
All for what, you may ask? The response is brilliantly simple: the shopper. “We really wanted to listen to the consumer, and she wants buy now, wear now,” said Tommy Hilfiger at a press conference on Friday morning. “We thought it would be a great concept to please the consumer. But she also wants experience and experiences, so we opened it up to the public to be a multi-media extravaganza.”
Yet the brilliance of it all was not merely due to the building of anticipation, or even the carnivalesque bells and whistles, but in how innovative the approach was. The show was designed with social and digital at its core. Initiatives such as the two onsite digital pop-up shops allowed guests to instantly purchase the Tommy x Gigi collection, while viewers at home could – for the very first time – shop the collection via almost every social channel including Snapchat (which many retailers have struggled to nail). Now that’s a social show if we ever saw one (all possible puns intended).
Tommy Hilfiger left no digital stone unturned. The team secured the largest billboard in Times Square to live stream the show while simultaneously partnering with Facebook to create TMY.GRL, an artificial intelligence conversation commerce experience. In laymen’s terms, it's a tool that consumers could use to shop by chatting to a bot on Facebook Messenger.
“We love technology and you have to be ahead of the curve, otherwise in this business you'll be left behind,” warned Hilfiger. “We want to be the leaders in it. With our chatbot with Facebook, it’s not only direct-to-consumer but it’s direct-to-consumer in a high tech way.”
By leveraging a plethora of technology, the show’s multi-pronged approach to digital innovation was unparalleled. Their willingness to experiment with new platforms and features puts them in a strategic position as the brand continues to attract their new, growing customer base: Generation Z.
“It (the show) has so many parts to it that are relevant for today's consumer and marketplace,” added Hilfiger. “We wanted to do something breakthrough, disruptive, and incredible.” And the fall show did exactly that.
But let us not get completely distracted by the carnival and still touch on the essential, as it is after all NYFW: the collection. Although in part designed by the 21-year-old model, the bulk of the collection felt naturally close to the brand’s design DNA, incorporating the expected nautical elements albeit masked with an off-duty coolness. A nod to sportswear was seen in matching track sets and basketball jersey dresses that felt more like high street trend items rather than pieces in a ready-to-wear collection. An element of coziness was also expressed in the long-line sweaters and textural coats but was quickly offset by the billowy volume of barely-there sheer dresses and the odd crop top.
Regardless of what will be written or said about Tommy Hilfiger’s show, it is undeniable that he brought out the big guns, not just through his iconic and defining designs, but most importantly through his brave experimentation with all things digital. And that – after all is said and done – is truly what makes it the event of the week.