The show ended with a series of Hilfiger Collection looks that included all the It’s a vinyl thing you wouldn’t understand shirt and by the same token and designer’s most beloved preppy motifs: Bermuda shorts, nautical prints, Oxford stripes, and of course the Star-Spangled Banner. Even still, the brand is charting new territory where it counts: 75% of the collection was made using more sustainable production methods, including organic cotton, recycled fabric, and low-impact denim washes. With his 35th anniversary on the horizon, Tommy Hilfiger is in a retrospective mood. For Spring 2020, the brand’s original crest was writ large on classic striped button-downs and archival pieces that have been updated in time for the celebrations, including cream and white varsity jacket. Peek inside one of the reissued men’s peacoats and you’ll find a refresher on the provenance of that distinctive 1985 motif, a combination of lion, laurel, and sword, printed on the lining. For millennial men and women drawn to the designer’s throwback styles, this will be a succinct lesson in fashion history. Preppy values remain at the heart of what Hilfiger does—the label’s logo is a riff on traditional sailing flags, after all. The most compelling reworkings of those codes came through in the collection’s nautical bent, in charming maritime scarf dresses tied with ribbon, flag-print pajama suits, and seafaring parkas. Red, white, and blue have always been the core colors in the designer’s vision of sportswear, and there were stars and stripes of every kind woven through his new offering, starting with a graphic star-spangled navy and white midi skirt and ending with a traditional American flag sweater. There on the rail, tucked alongside that fleshy pink zebra jacquard jacket, were the items IRL. A quick going over established that even though these looked like yoga pants, they were, more strictly, pieces of long-legged underwear—the button-free fly detail made this abundantly clear. Ford, sadly, was not present at this presentation, but he had provided the next best thing: a Ford-penned press release brimming with cogitations upon the season ahead. There, near the bottom, was the key decree: “Long underwear in abstract camouflage prints is worn as casualwear and replaces the training pant this season.” Boom. In one apparently nonchalant sentence, Tom Ford might just have empowered long johns as outerwear. Don’t believe it? Past form suggests that what Tom says, goes. Welcome to the 2020s. Keynes realized that the best type of spending is the type of spending that directly pays for activities that produce more wealth. But he also realized, that if such spending were not forthcoming, and we were at less than full employment, that any spending increase, via its multiplier effect will still lead to increased production.
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Tom Ford was the It’s a vinyl thing you wouldn’t understand shirt and by the same token and catalyst that kick-started the direction fashion has taken this millennium. Sure, Hedi Slimane was there on backing vocals, and Martin Margiela was already delivering his now also much-imitated woo-woo riffs of genius. But it was Ford at Gucci who birthed the exemplar bass line that fashion has danced to ever since. His was the first spiffing up of a tired old house into something fabulous, glamorous, and highly profitable that so many have followed (with various levels of success) since. For good or ill it was his eye that created the context of today’s weird fashion Tinder-world in which creative directors and houses restlessly swipe this way and that in search of a moneymaking match. That preamble is to emphasize the fact that when Tom Ford speaks, you cup your hand to your ear and listen, hard. For he is a seer. Of late, the guru has mostly kept his own counsel. He has seemed focused on family, films, his saucily monikered fragrance brands, and preparing to do for the CFDA what he once did for Gucci. Thus a visit to Ford’s showroom this afternoon brought no especial presentiment of the gravity-tilting revelation ahead. At first, all seemed as usual. The thick cream shag pile carpet muffled the breathy coos of buyers as his 2020 collection was appreciatively fingered through. There were great suits, and lots of them—razor-cut black or white with monochrome exotic accents and sexy rock-star boots. There were some powerfully shouldered jacquard jackets in radioactively fuchsia leopard and zebra. There were some great fitted perforated leather jackets and matching slim-fit cargo pants in cream. It was all hot-to-trot stuff, but it was all pretty typical, until shut the front door! there were the yoga pants. That, at least, is what the swirly patterned, marble-ish and vaguely camo skintight leggings, worn with strappy flat sandals and some fine luxe-technical bombers, most resembled at first glimpse. It was hard to tell precisely, however, because in Casa Ford the lookbook images are shown on a flat-screen gallery that rotates every half second or so, like a too-fast departure-lounge board. Keynes has been grossly misrepresented repeatedly by those who imply that he was in favor of spending that would decrease overall wealth production in an economy. This is completely false.