“In most households, the first three names [Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein] are household words. Get ready for another. His name (hint) is Tommy. The second name is not so easy. But in a few short months everybody in America will know there’s a new look”, read the campaign.
“When we launched, I teamed up with George Lois to do a series of ads that compared me to all the designers I’d idolised for so long – Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, Calvin Klein,” Hilfiger reminisces in his 1997 book All-American. “It was a gutsy move, and I’d be lying if I said I was entirely comfortable with it at the time. But Mohan, Joel, and George convinced me to go for it, to leapfrog the competition in marketing. It worked.”
Knowing we struck gold, I then positioned him in three successive spreads as the leader of fashion’s third wave of designers: “First there was Geoffrey Beane, Bill Blass and Stanley Blacker… Then Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis and Ralph Lauren…” followed by Tommy’s impish face pissing off every inhabitant of the Seventh Avenue schmatte business.