Gigi Hadid, Naomi Campbell and More Celebrate Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger: American Dreamer
November 3, 2016
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November 3, 2016
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On Tuesday evening, the Clocktower restaurant on Madison Avenue had a red, white and blue look. The walls were hung with vintage photographs of American icons: Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, the Guggenheim, the entrance to Radio City Music Hall, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean and Muhammad Ali.

The room was filled with American success stories: Serena Williams (the American superathlete), Christie Brinkley (the all-American model) and Gigi Hadid (the American social media star). And amid it all was the host of the event, the living, breathing patron of Americana: Tommy Hilfiger, celebrating his new memoir, “American Dreamer: My Life in Fashion & Business,” written with Peter Knobler.

“I’d forgotten a lot,” Mr. Hilfiger said of working on the project. “I kept remembering more. I thought if I don’t write it now, I might forget everything.” His favorite memories focused on the early days. “I loved going into business as a teenager,” he said. “I feel a rush remembering it. I loved moving to New York and meeting Andy Warhol and going to Studio 54.”

He wasn’t the only one at the party recalling his youth. Alan Cumming said that when he arrived in New York, he modeled for Mr. Hilfiger — his first modeling gig. “You told him what your dream was, and when you walked down the runway, that came up on the screen,” Mr. Cumming said. “I wanted to be in a house in the middle of the forest away from everybody.”

At the party, however, Mr. Cumming seemed fine being at the center of the crowd, staying from the very beginning until the very end, around 9 p.m. And did his clothes pay homage to the man of the hour? “Duh! Besides my jockstrap, it’s all Tommy Hilfiger,” he said.

Ms. Brinkley, wearing a navy military coat also by (duh!) Tommy Hilfiger — similar versions of which covered the shoulders of at least half a dozen other guests — was also looking back. “My moment was the ’80s, the worst fashion decade ever,” she said. “As soon as I wasn’t doing as much editorial anymore, that’s when it became good. When I came in, it was very conservative.”

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And then, as it inevitably does these days, the subject of the election came up. “I sincerely hope that celebration of individuality we now see in fashion will be reflected in our vote,” Ms. Brinkley said. “Let’s hope we don’t go backwards.” Not everyone was so optimistic. Moments later, not far from Ms. Brinkley, a guest asked his companion, somewhat dubiously, “You think she’ll win?”

But the night wasn’t about Nov. 8; it was about Mr. Hilfiger. As the designer moved from room to room, the crowd — including Naomi Campbell, in a colorful, furry coat — shifted with him, some pecking on the circulating cheeseburgers and lobster buns as Keith Richards’s daughter, the D.J. Alexandra Richards, spun the Chainsmokers, Michael Jackson and Yacht.

Those who didn’t have a chance to pay tribute to the man himself had to find consolation in picking up one of the many copies of the memoir off the glass-topped tables or in having their faces transposed onto the book cover in the selfie booth.

The selfie activity captured the attention of just about everyone: Models like Kirstin Liljegren, professional as ever, pursed their lips and tossed sultry glances at the camera; couples young and old posed together; and friends like Maud Welzen and Romy Schonberger grinned in unison.

Earlier in the night, Mr. Hilfiger had spoken about the importance of social media to his brand. “The consumer is the one saying: ‘I want it now’ and ‘I want an experience,’” he said. “‘I don’t want to wait six months for it. I want to be sharing and showing my friends.’” Hence his decision to collaborate with Ms. Hadid on a see-now, buy-now collection.

It was no real surprise, then, that he also got in on the action — sort of. As the night wound down and the final lemon meringue tarts were passed out, Mr. Hilfiger was pulled in for a group selfie in front of the selfie booth.

Mr. Cumming held the camera phone high, the model Karolina Kurkova smiled knowingly, Ms. Brinkley smiled wide, and Mr. Hilfiger opened his mouth, freezing his face into excited surprise.

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