Tommy Hilfiger closes out London Fashion Week with 'rock circus' show

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. designer Tommy Hilfiger closed out London Fashion Week with a rock-themed show held at a venue famous for classic rock concerts, featuring model and social media star Gigi Hadid as the centerpiece of the event.

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The show - dubbed “TommyNow” - represented Hilfiger’s third collaboration with Hadid, with whom he designed the “TommyxGigi” collection that was on display at Tuesday’s event, in addition to the Hilfiger label’s spring/summer 2018 styles.

The collection was a rock and grunge-infused take on the traditional “preppy” styles - clothing associated with upmarket U.S. schools and universities - that have come to be associated with Hilfiger.

These included cheerleader skirts and letterman jackets, offset with studded leather shoes and thigh-high socks, as well as T-shirts and woolly hats reminiscent of 1980s rock band tour merchandise.

“TommyNow continues to put the consumer at the heart of the event, fusing fashion, pop culture and entertainment, and connecting with our global fans in an authentic way,” Hilfiger told Vogue magazine before the show.

Hadid, who has over 35 million Instagram followers, was one of the highest-profile models to grace the London Fashion Week catwalks this season.

She was joined by her sister Bella and brother Anwar, in a show that saw models walk through the audience as well as on the runway which ran through the center of the venue’s ‘in the round’ stage.

Hilfiger’s show was a “see now, buy now” event - a recent trend in the fashion industry that sees labels make outfits displayed in catwalk shows available to consumers to purchase immediately.

Viewers watching the event live online were able to click on any outfit they chose and purchase the items right away.

Held in London’s Roundhouse concert venue, which over the years has played host to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, the show was the latest incarnation of the pop-up carnivals Hilfiger has staged during the last two seasons.

Hilfiger’s autumn 2016 “Tommy Pier” show in New York featured a Ferris wheel and a range of fun-park amusements, while “TommyLand,” the spring show held in Los Angeles this year featured roller skaters, skate boarders, acoustic musicians and fire-breathing performers.

Hilfiger is one of the best-known names in the U.S. apparel business, with over 1,600 retail outlets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The company, which is now owned by clothing giant PVH, reported global retail sales of $6.6 billion in 2016.

Hilfiger, along with Italian label Emporio Armani, were the most prominent international brands that chose to forego showing collections at other fashion weeks - New York and Milan respectively - to participate in the London event this season.

Their participation gave the event a boost, as Britain’s fashion industry - which experts say contributes £28 billion ($37 billion) to the country’s economy - faces uncertainty as the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union.

($1 = 0.7404 pound)

Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London