Talk of the Tents

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Tommy Hilfiger mixes menswear and mod

The riff on menswear? lots of glen plaid,

The riff on menswear— lots of glen plaid, Prince of Wales checks, houndstooth, and so forth — was perfect for the setting: designer Tommy Hilfiger dreamed up a set for his Fall 2013 show that looked like an Ivy League library. (Feb. 10, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

Tommy Hilfiger’s show at the Park Avenue Armory on Sunday must have achieved a new record -- for longest runway. Ever. It was like an airstrip, stretching out for what seemed like miles. 

But then, Hilfiger is an old hand at injecting some theatrical flair into what is, at heart, very traditional clothing. For fall, he borrowed heavily from menswear (not so surprising) and some mod elements (wait a minute!) reminiscent of 1960s London.

The riff on menswear -- lots of glen plaid, Prince of Wales checks, houndstooth and so forth -- was perfect for the setting: Hilfiger dreamed up a set that looked like a cavernous Ivy League library, with shelves and shelves of books, which had served as the backdrop for his menswear collection shown a few days earlier.

He layered on the prints -- check overcoat over check blouse and check tie -- and used them to nice effect on double-breasted blazers worn with kicky short skirts and these clever boots that looked like penny loafers worn with socks. 

Much of the plaids, chalk stripes and argyle popping up was oversized, graphic -- a mod, Mary Quant kind of flavor. But all new and most intriguing of all were these mighty unusual cable knits bonded to leather. Appearing on cardigans, sweater dresses and a turtleneck, the leather had a 3-D quality, rippled like a standard fisherman’s knit sweater. Leave it to Tommy to find a way to give a preppy staple some rock ‘n’ roll edge.