American Idol: Happy Birthday Tommy Hilfiger
The iconic designer turns 63 today
It could be argued that iconic fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger has shaped the face of American style over his impressive career – which launched in New York in 1969, the year that opened the famous boutique People's Place in his hometown of Elmira, NY in with just $150 dollars in his pocket aged 17.
The 'local' store was such a success with Hilfiger's peers; he was making a $60,000 salary by the end of his senior year.
The second-oldest of nine children, Hilfiger was raised in a white clapboard Victorian house. His father, Richard Hilfiger, was a man with great "sartorial flair" and a watchmaker at a local jewellery store, and his mother Virginia worked as a nurse – the Hilfiger's lived from one paycheck to the next.
Tommy began working at an early age: mowing lawns at 9 and pumping gas at the local station at 16. "I worked the night shift and made $1.25 an hour, which was great money at the time," he says. "I bought all my own clothes. I helped out my brothers. I didn't depend on my parents for anything."
At school, Hilfiger was never considered above average, and it wasn't until much later that he was diagnosed as dyslexic – after becoming one of the biggest names in fashion industry this century, always showing impressive innovation and development tactics along the way.
Buro 24/7 Middle East charts a handful of the legend's key achievements, in his own words:
Tommy with his second wife, Dee, mother to their son Sebastian
Family: "In 1985, my daughter Ally was born, as I grew up with nine brothers and sisters, my family has always been the most important thing in my life. From this moment forward, my children (Richard born in 1990, Elizabeth born in 1993, Kathleen born in 1995, and Sebastian born in 2009) provide inspiration for everything that I do.
CFDA recognition: "In 1992, my company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. We were the first designer company to go public and it reflected the success of the business –I then won the Council of Fashion Designers of America's (CFDA) award for best menswear designer of the year in 1995..."
Mick Jagger, L'Wren Scott, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger
Musical ties: "In 1999, I sponsored the Rolling Stones' No Security tour. I have seen the Rolling Stones perform a million times! They are absolutely amazing! I never thought I'd see my name up there with the logo of the band I used to listen to as a kid."
Beyoncé: "In 2004, Beyoncé became the face of my fragrance True Star. I saw her perform a few years earlier and was so impressed by her electricity, charisma, and, of course, by her voice! What a privilege it was to work with her."
Fifth Avenue: "Opening our global flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 2009 was a huge day for me."
25 years: "The big anniversary year: having my 25th Anniversary celebration happen during the launch of Fashion Week at Lincoln Center was amazing! It was marked with a beautiful book by Assouline..."
The book led to an impactful Holiday 2011 campaign by Tommy Hilfiger, marking a signature, family-led aesthetic that has defined the notion of 'preppy' dressing forever. Happy Birthday Tommy Hilfiger!