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Tommy Hilfiger Talks Families Both Fictional and Real at his American Express Fashion Show

Courtesy of American Express

You might have thought that on Thursday afternoon, the door had closed on New York Fashion Week Fall 2012. But I still had one last show to attend. American Express invited me to hit the Lincoln Center tents on Thursday evening. Tommy Hilfiger re-staged his Spring 2012 show for their cardmembers, along with a little help from stylist Mary Alice Stephenson and electro-pop band Cobra Starship.

Backstage, in between drooling over the rows of wooden-heeled boat shoes (that will soon be mine) and perhaps a few too many male models, I caught up with Tommy himself for a quick chat.

Tommy, the first thing I thought of when your Fall 2012 collection hit the runway was Downton Abbey. Any chance you watch the show?

Yes, it was definitely inspirational in that I wanted the clothes to look very English and very cool.

Tell me more about the fictional family you've used in your spring campaign, The Hilfigers. What are they like? What are they into?

Well, they definitely travel around—they've been camping out west together, and they went to a country estate another time. They travel as a family and have a lot of fun doing so. They're diverse, just like our customer base. They're healthy, wholesome and have one heck of a time.

I have to bring up your daughter Alexandria for a minute. I saw her NAHM collection last week and loved it. Has she always had design aspirations of her own?

She's an actress, artist and a designer, and I always knew she'd pursue on of those three things in the end. I'm personally really happy she wound up designing, because I actually might be of some help from time to time. The other things I wouldn't be able to help with! She's actually very focused and knows what she wants and likes, so she probably doesn't even need any of my style advice. Business advice, maybe [laughs]!

Later on, Tommy and Mary Alice conducted a quick Q&A right on the runway, during which the designer revealed he once wanted to pursue a very different career path. "When I was 18," he said, "I wanted to be a rock star. But since I couldn't really play, I decided that the next best thing would be to look like a rock star, and I opened my first clothing shop soon after."

Fittingly, the runway presentation that followed was accompanied by a live set by Cobra Starship. As the models (and even a few Basset Hounds) walked the runway, we spied many guests shimmying in their seats—and one Erin Fetherston, who dates Cobra's lead singer Gabe Saporta, happily snapping photos of her sweetheart from the front row. Adorbs.

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