Fashionâ€™s love affair with the disco decade continued at the Tommy Hilfiger show at the Apollo theatre in Harlem, New York.
The brand presented its second and final collaboration with the actor Zendaya and â€œimage architectâ€ Law Roach, the man behind Celine Dionâ€™s recent style transformation.
The collection picked up where their last project left off â€“ still in the 70s, still dancing. Pussybows and flares were in full swing, as were silver hoop earrings the circumference of saucers. There were black and white spots peppered over silk blouses, scarves and cowl-neck dresses with thigh-high slits. Hats appeared many guises, from the wide-brimmed one worn by the Ashley Graham to Winnie Harlowâ€™s black and white houndstooth print baker boy-style cap.
Velvet, leather, leopard print and faux snakeskin came in black, white and deep burgundies, choreographed into coordinated outfits. In the second part of the show, the clothes â€“ and the moves â€“ turned up the volume with metallic flares, dresses, halter-neck jumpsuits and suits.
In notes that Hilfiger sent to guests before the show, the collaboration was described as putting â€œredefined power dressing at its coreâ€. The designer explained further: â€œWe wanted to celebrate and champion female empowerment through fashion.â€
The musical heritage of the Apollo, which has hosted shows by Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and Otis Redding, played into the brandâ€™s long-term relationship with music. It was hip-hop culture that helped Hilfiger achieve international success.
With their first collection, he and Zendaya made headlines with a Paris show in which 59 black models, aged 18 to 70, walked and Grace Jones performed. This show, with a roster of models that included Halima Aden, the 67-year-old Harlem native JoAni Johnson and Alek Wek, continued the theme of inclusion, chiming with the long overdue push for greater diversity in fashion in general, and this fashion week in particular.
The brand saw the show as a homecoming. For the past three years, since adopting the see-now, buy-now model, which cuts the time customers have to wait to buy clothes from six months to seconds, it has been on a #TommyNow worldwide tour, Zendaya picking up the baton after the supermodel Gigi Hadidâ€™s four-collection collaboration.
The business model seems to be making sense commercially. Although cashing in on instant gratification, as many brands are now opting to do, could be seen as a controversial move at a time when consumers are being encouraged to make their fashion choices more conscious and sustainable.
The show fits with the current emphasis on experience over the static catwalk mould: a cinematic set was made to look like a block party, complete with brownstone steps, parked classic cars and snatches of city life, from sirens to rattling trains, made into an opening soundtrack.
But it was far from pedestrian â€“ saxophonists, drummers and trumpeters were on hand to play live and models largely gave up on walking, instead dancing their way down the catwalk to tracks such as Aretha Franklinâ€™s Respect, Bobby Womackâ€™s Across 110th Street and Curtis Mayfieldâ€™s Move on Up.
It was a spectacle made to appeal to media-savvy millennials for whom, research states, experience is valued over â€œstuffâ€. With Hadid, Hilfiger put on two mammoth fashion shows, one a â€œrock circusâ€ at the Roundhouse performance space in north London, the other a fairground in Los Angeles.
Collaborations with pop culture icons are also a smart move. â€œThey have always been an important part of our heritage,â€ said Hilfiger. â€œEach collaborator sees our brand through a different lens which allows us to translate our values in new and exciting ways.â€