NYFW trend to go: 70s excess meets conservative cool

Tommy Hilfiger AW19

And the first trend to take away from the spring/summer 2020 collections is… one for autumn/winter 2019. What? No, we’re not going mad, but you have to remember that while plenty of labels have retreated from their see now, buy now obsession, many more are sticking with it and Tommy Hilfiger is one of those.

The Tommy x Zendaya collection that was shown at NYFW on Sunday was an instant-buy offer but it was no less directional for that.

What did we learn from it? That the conservative mainstream from the 1970s can blend with the pop culture styles of that decade and can actually work. Think conservative-meets-Blaxploitation-meets-disco. It’s a look Celine also played with for AW19 and it’s one that’s likely to be enduring enough to be a can’t-ignore moment.

It’s one for the young though — attempt to reach consumers aged 35-plus with that A-line skirt/pussy bow blouse combo and they’re more likely to look like Margaret Thatcher or Reggie Perrin’s secretary than Bianca Jagger or Catherine Deneuve.

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger summed up the look perfectly. So what are the key elements of the style?

The pantsuit: Avoid it being a corporate cliché by cutting the jacket skinny with wide 70s lapels. Make the pants flare gently over the platforms to elongate the leg. In faux snakeskin or disco velvet it detracts from the secretary-next-door feel of the pussy bow blouses (although cutting them in sheers will have already taken them to another level).

Co-ords that clash: Forget print mash-ups, this is much more subtle. Go for two (or three) sizes of dogtooth or plaid in one look, a pantsuit with tiny polkadots on the trousers and sleeves, but bigger ones on the jackets and giant spots on the blouse.

Waistcoats: Give them a starring role but sit them atop skinny roll-necks and cute them in leather to undermine the too-traditional edge they could otherwise add.

Cool-girl accessories: Keep those A-line inverted pleat skirts looking on-trend with wide-brim hats, giant sunglasses and over-knee or knee-high boots that are gently slouchy.

Make day into night: Take simple daywear pieces and embellish them for party time. Rhinestones and polkadot sequins add just the right edge that sparkles under the lights without going OTT. Or cut them in silver lamé for an instant makeover from mainstream to marvellous.