Harlem’s Mama Foundation, Tommy Hilfiger And Zendaya Bring Fashion Party To Harlem

September 9, 2019

Tommy Hilfiger never shies away from spectacle when it comes to his runway shows, and his return to New York Fashion Week 2019 after several years was no exception.

For his latest collaboration with actress and singer Zendaya, Hilfiger brought his fashion uptown to the Apollo Theater here in Harlem — actually, to a street just outside the famed theater, where the designer set up a stage filled with musicians and dancers to celebrate Harlem-inspired fashions of the late 1970s and early ’80s.

To a soundtrack of live funk music and classics like Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” models sashayed joyously down the runway in pantsuits featuring tailored jackets and high-waisted, wide-legged trousers in tweeds, houndstooth prints or polka dots. Accessories included lots of chunky platform shoes, scarves and big, wide-brimmed hats.

The clothes were more luxurious than Hilfiger’s typical sporty style, with lots of leathers and velvets and faux fur. In a backstage interview, he said he chose Zendaya as a collaborator for what he sees as her intrinsic sense of style. Zendaya said she and her design team were given a lot of leeway.


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Hilfiger said the collaboration brought his company a new dimension.

“This is a reinvention for us, because it took us to another area of fashion that we’ve never been into,” the designer said.

The huge cast of models was a diverse crowd, in terms of size, background, gender and age. Many of them pranced joyously to the ’70s and early ’80s music, played by 20 or so musicians who were set up in classic American convertibles of the period. The musicians were from Vy Higginsen’s Harlem-based performance training center, from the Mama Foundation for the Arts.

Photo credit: Tommy Hillger via source.

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