Hilfiger transforms NY runway into Caribbean escape

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Tommy Hilfiger, the US fashion giant who heads a multi-billion dollar global empire, injected Caribbean life into New York fashion week Monday with an upbeat parade of beach chic.

The master of mise-en-scene, whose sets are among the most elaborate of the twice-a-year style-fests that are New York fashion week, transformed a Manhattan warehouse into a Caribbean escape.

The Tommy Hilfiger woman “is youthful, she is fun, she is one who loves life,” the designer told AFP backstage.

Hilfiger, who owns a house on the ultra-exclusive island of Mustique, said the theme of his spring/summer 2016 collection was “island life.”

The catwalk, fashioned into a wooden walkway, encircled a lake where a boat was moored against a sandy island. There was a wooden beach bar complete with straw roof, table and stools, and sand around the catwalk.

The backdrop was finished with palm trees and a hazy pink sunset, with little lights strung in the beach bar to give the sense of a beautiful, hot day about to transition into a fun-filled night.

The clothes were a riot of color and stripes: short dresses with full, bouncy skirts edged with red, yellow and white hems. Cloche-style stripy knitted hats were ubiquitous in bold colors, pink, purples and reds.

Hilfiger said hand crochet, Caribbean tropical prints and loose flowing fabrics played a strong role in the collection.

There were colorful, knitted string bikinis, a crochet shrug, sundresses and long maxi dresses in a variety of vertical and horizontal colored stripes, with full skirts and blocks of color.

It was a happy, fun look. There were multi-colored Caribbean-style prints fashioned into jumpsuits, pants and blouses.

There was also a nod to sportswear with sexy string vests and tracksuits. Instead of making a final lap on the catwalk, the beachwear models splashed through the water, frolicking and waving their arms.

Hilfiger then emerged in a navy blazer, waving to the crowd, blowing kisses and flashing the peace sign.

The clothes are “beachy, for vacations, for visiting the island, the Caribbean tropical print, loose flowing fabric,” he said.

The tech-savvy designer used Twitter Halo for the first time at his show, allowing it to be broadcast live in 360 degrees through a multitude of cameras.

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