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Gigi Hadid Tommy Hilfiger
via @tommyhilfiger

Gigi and Tommy take fashion to the funfair

Staged at a carnvival, the designer’s AW16 See Now, Buy Now show blurred the line between fashion and entertainment

Last year at New York Fashion Week, Givenchy did something radical: it invited 1,500 members of the public to its SS15 show, a move that was heralded by the owner of a major fashion PR company as “the officialisation of fashion as entertainment.” Last night, Tommy Hilfiger did something to the same effect by inviting a similarly large amount of non-industry professionals (around 1,000 people) to attend his AW16 show, staged at New York’s Pier 16 – which he had transformed into an IRL funfair, complete with rides, temporary tattoo booths, and cotton candy machines. What could be a more fitting location to sell the idea of fashion as entertainment than a funfair?

Of course, Hilfiger was selling more than an idea, he was selling clothes – immediately. This was the designer’s inaugural ‘See Now, Buy Now’ collection, whereby the clothes and accessories were made available to purchase straight after – no, during – the show, instead of after a six-month wait. In fact, you can watch the entire proceedings online now and click on each look as it comes down the runway, see the breakdown of items and purchase them. The transition between see, want, buy has never been more seamless – or more immediate. 

But the idea of entertainment went beyond the funfair – it was on the catwalk where Gigi Hadid and her fellow model stars Hailey Baldwin, Stella Maxwell and Sara Sampaio walked (together, these four women have over 35 million Instagram followers, which illustrates something of their pop cultural gravitas), and it was on the front row too where Taylor Swift, Martha Hunt, Gigi’s younger brother Anwar and Kris Jenner sat.

Gigi was central to this show – not only did she model in it, she designed part of the collection in collaboration with the designer, took over his Snapchat account and walked the finale with him, arm-in-arm. Together, they make a fitting pair – as the quintessential All-American girl next door, she represents the brand’s values in a way that reflects the times – and has that all important social media reach.

This was fashion engineered to be entertaining and to appeal to as many people as possible, representing a new type of runway. Shows used to be exclusive events, reserved only for a select few industry insiders – this was anything but.