Taylor Swift was, as usual, at the center of a paparazzi storm.
She’d just reunited with her bestie Gigi Hadid and was passionately embracing the supermodel, both of them encircled by a fleet of security guards and hysterical teenage girls outside the Tommy Hilfiger fashion show—a collaboration with Hadid—at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport.
The two swayed back and forth for a dramatic 10 seconds or so, tempting this reporter to hoot and chant—“Make-out! Make-out! Make-out!”—over the shrieking fans.
Finally Hadid untethered herself to admire her friend’s post-Hiddleston glow and outfit: a white sailor dickie tucked into navy velour shorts, which Hadid designed with Hilfiger for their see-now-buy-now collection, Tommy x Gigi.
Earlier, Swift has breezed into the carnival-themed show moments before it began and settled into the front row with Martha Hunt, another model friend in her ever-expanding girl squad.
Hadid was being powdered and fanned across the street when the Hilfiger team heard the turmoil of Swift’s arrival, which had stalled the show. Staffers then waded out into traffic, with Hilfiger himself suddenly emerging to march dozens of models over to his amusement park.
A crush of paps and fashion photographers slipped into a gated-off area behind them, provoking more than a few nervous breakdowns. “THE TENT IS AT CAPACITY!” one Hilfiger staffer wailed, teeing out her arms to push back other terrified Hilfiger staffers and stray cameramen.
Hilfiger has pulled off plenty of audacious fashion productions in the past, transforming large venues into football stadiums, cruise liners, and Caribbean beaches.
But the carnival was an unprecedented spectacle, not just because of the set—food and game booths (Tommy’s Famous French Fries, Gigi’s Boxing Club, etc.), nail art and temporary tattoo stands, and a 40-foot Ferris wheel—but because it was the brand’s first buy-now-wear-now presentation.
Two-thousand people scored tickets to the show, more than half of whom were consumers eager to get their hands on pieces from the Tommy x Gigi collection at two pop-up shops on the pier. The collection was also shoppable via livestream on Tommy.com starting at 7:00 p.m. EST, when the show was scheduled to begin.
It finally kicked off around 7:30 with Hadid in a sailor jacket, knotted white tank, leather pants, and fringe bandana scarf—the first in a series of looks that seemed to reflect her lifestyle and personality.
A long, sheer printed dress worn with a fringed bandana scarf looked like something Hadid might wear to Coachella, while tracksuits, riffs on athletic jerseys, and oversized sweatshirts looked like her workout staples.
There were also biker jackets and bombers worn with black distressed jeans, presumably for attending boyfriend Zayn Malik’s concerts.
Thigh-skimming sweater dresses paired with over-the-knee socks were the sexy, all-season equivalent of the crochet bikini that made Hadid the star of Hilfiger’s show last year.
The brand was flooded with requests for the bikini after the show, and most of them were credited to Hadid’s popularity on both Snapchat and Instagram, where the supermodel has nearly 23 million followers.
These days, millennial models’ social media feeds drive trends more than fashion designers—even legendary ones like Tommy Hilfiger. Imagine, then, how wildly successful a collaboration between the two could be for both the Hilfiger and Hadid brands.
By the end of New York Fashion Week (not to mention London, Paris, and Milan), Hadid will have walked in a number of shows that stars like Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian West, and Nicki Minaj will arrive fashionably late to. But few, if any, will attract as many selfie stick-armed celebrity fanatics as the Tommy x Gigi carnival.
These types usually camp out at music concerts and outside the Today show or Good Morning America. Indeed, one 19-year-old Gigi Hadid superfan confided, with an obsessive glint in his eyes, that he’d been trying to get a picture with her since 7 a.m.
Twelve hours later, he refused to change his tactic, which was to shout the supermodel’s name and assault her with compliments or desperate entreaties (“Gigi I love you! Gigi you’re the most beautiful woman in the world! Gigi I’ll do anything for you! Gigi please I’m begging you!”).
That this approach usually fails the most talented stalkers did not occur to him. So he persisted croaking (his voice was shot), and was equally fervent when within 15 feet of Hailey Baldwin, Taylor Swift, and Gigi’s father Mohamed Hadid. Amazingly, all but Swift agreed to a selfie.
“Gigi you’ve made my life!” he squeaked, breathlessly, after Hadid leaned in and smiled in front of his iPhone.
The supermodel escaped with her mother, Yolanda Foster of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, waiting impatiently while a half dozen bodyguards and assistants failed to distinguish their driver from honking Ubers.