Q and A with Tommy Hilfiger

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

FAIRFIELD -- A premium apparel line for Tommy Hilfiger? Move over Versace.

After years of designing sportswear and jeans, Hilfiger is introducing a new line, H Hilfiger - an elegant, refined clothing line with an edge to its look.

To launch the new line, Hilfiger is teaming up with Macy's West this Saturday to debut his spring '04 collection in a full runway show at Macy's Union Square Park in San Francisco at 3 p.m. The bonus: Hilfiger will be available for autographs at 3:15 p.m. in the Macy's Woman's Store.

His much anticipated H Hilfiger advertising campaign features black and white photos of rock icon David Bowie and supermodel wife, Iman, wearing the recently launched line. And like H Hilfiger, the mood of the campaign is marked with sophistication and elegance.

"This is our first ad campaign to be shot in black and white, which is totally new for us, and it's a perfect way to make a bold statement to launch our new H collection," Hilfiger said.

And from Atlanta, Ga., Tommy Hilfiger (and his real name is Tommy) stops from his busy schedule to discuss his new collection and its audience.

Is your new line, H Hilfiger, a departure from the Tommy Hilfiger sportswear and jeans?

Yes. It's a step up from sportswear because it's more sophisticated. It's where you can have work clothing during the day and take it into the evening, and that's something unusual because people don't have that. The line is really designed and engineered so you don't have to change from day to evening.

Your colors are usually red, blue and white. Is that what this new line will have?

Reds and blues are my signature colors, but that's really used for casual wear. This palette is different, more sophisticated, more grown up. The idea is more luxurious, so they're not red, blue or white like the other lines. Instead, the line has brights with neutral and gray with blacks and blues - I think for dressier clothing, color is important, and I think splashes of color are important.

Was H Hilfiger tested in stores prior to launching the line?

We tested it in stores and it was enormously successful, so we decided to spread it out. We decided to differentiate ourselves from other department stores and so we chose Federated department stores (Macy's, Bloomingdales, Burdines) to become our exclusive customer.

In your opinion, how would you compare this line to other designers?

I think this offers the customer a totally different opportunity. This is really a designer line made to be worn in that it's also affordable.

Do you design a line that people want or a line you think people should wear?

Well, I design the men's line for myself, so I want other people to wear it as well. We also want a sexier and feminine look for the woman, and it worked out well because women are responding so well.

Have you looked back at any "Tommy Hilfiger" fashion released to the public and thought, "What was I thinking?"

Yes (he laughs), that happens all the time.

What made you want to be a designer?

Well, it's fun to create new ideas. I really wasn't happy with what was being offered to me. And from that standpoint, my clothes seemed very boring. And menswear for myself, is my favorite item to design.

How do you feel when you see someone wearing your line?

I'm very proud - it makes me feel very good.