NYFW: Swing Kids Are In at Tommy Hilfiger

Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/FilmMagic
Tommy Hilfiger

From Gigi Hadid and Hailey Baldwin on the runway to Lucky Blue Smith and Jourdan Dunn in the audience, Instagram Nation was out in force.

When Michael Jackson sang, “We’re the party people, night and day,” he couldn’t have known that almost 37 years later those lyrics would resonate in ways even the King of Pop couldn’t imagine.

Off the Wall, Jackson’s seminal 1979 album, provided the soundtrack for Tommy Hilfiger’s nautical-theme show Monday morning at the Park Avenue Armory. The elaborate set resembled the deck of a cruise ship — christened the T.H. Atlantic, natch — and that was reason enough for all the party people of fashion to shift their selfie game into overdrive.

Suki Waterhouse, Rachel Zoe, Jourdan Dunn and Lucky Blue Smith were among those in the Instapit” front row (Instagramming with the hashtag #TommyFall16 was strongly encouraged), which was placed on the deck of the ship to face back to the audience, a sly way for Hilfiger to turn fashion’s buzziest style influencers into part of the show.

Not that they detracted from the runway models, as Hilfiger always gathers an A-list cadre for his shows. Gigi Hadid, Hilfiger’s current face of the brand, opened and closed the show, while Hailey Baldwin, Taylor Hill and Stella Maxwell were among those also sporting the nautical-theme looks, each woven through a '40s thread. “We started with a '40s sensibility, and gave it an entirely contemporary twist,” Hilfiger told Pret-a-Reporter. “The idea of getting dressed up to make an important journey sparked my imagination.”

That feeling of polish was seen in pieces like printed satin pajamas under a navy double-breasted blazer, bias-cut satin skirts paired with nautical-striped sweaters, or the wide variety of dresses featuring floaty knee-length skirts and peter-pan collars. At times the accent was heavy on the sweet — tiaras on some models bordered on precious — but you could also see how these looks could be taken apart, with key pieces like navy sailor pants or skirts with striped borders quickly becoming must-haves for the season.

And like other designers, Hilfiger is mindful of the direct-to-consumer conversation that’s driving fashion. “The scope and scale of the show we put on today, with some of the world’s top models and latest digital and social-media technologies, is perfect for a consumer audience,” he said of the live-stream event. “It’s the natural next step in our history of staging one of the largest, most entertaining shows of New York Fashion Week and [thereby] democratizing fashion.”

Judging from the party-centric vibe and pieces like Hadid’s finale dress, a sailor-inspired look covered in gold sequins, chances are Hilfiger was likewise inspired by another iconic Jackson lyric wafting through the air: “Don’t stop 'til you get enough.”