Tommy Hilfiger was as surprised as anyone by the runaway success of his Tommy x Gigi collaboration, crediting model Gigi Hadid for its success. The 66-year-old designer, known for his preppy sportswear, plucked the then rising model from the catwalk of his fall 2015 show, signing her as a global brand ambassador and a co-designer on a capsule collection based on her style and branded with both their names.
The Tommy x Gigi collection debuted as his first-ever see now, buy now show in September 2016, generating 900 percent increased traffic to tommy.com in the 48 hours following the show. At the time of the first Tommy x Gigi show, the model, part of the 'Insta-model' generation, had around 13 million Instagram followers which has now shot up to 35.7 million.
"We engaged with Gigi Hadid at the beginning of her trajectory, and I think it was just a feeling that we had that this girl was going to be beyond what any other model or any other 'It' girl could be," Tommy smiled to WWD as he explained why he zoned in on the model. "If you go with your gut in this business, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work. This time it worked beyond our expectations. Way beyond."
“="That's so sweet of him to say," smiled Gigi. "I'm glad he feels that way because it was a big risk to take. It's done really well and the world has embraced the collection."
Tommy founded his eponymous company, which is now worth $6.6 billion, in 1985, and although he has previously worked with celebrities including Britney Spears, Kate Hudson, Lizzy Jagger and Ivanka Trump, he has never shared a co-designer billing with anyone until Gigi.
"I think a lot of it had to do with her personality,” he explained. “She's very sporty, healthy, kind, nice, fun, funny, friendly and she has a spirit that is very much in keeping up with what our brand values are. It seems like it was a marriage made in heaven.”
The second Tommy x Gigi event, Tommyland, took place in Venice Beach in February, and the third will take place in London during London Fashion Week on Tuesday.
Tommy's working relationship with Gigi, which runs for another two seasons, came at the perfect time for the designer who admits he worried about "keeping the brand youthful".
"I was always afraid of losing the youth," he shared. "Keeping a brand youthful is a lot more work and takes a lot more creativity. But it's very exciting."