Tommy Hilfiger started his namesake company in 1985. It’s been three decades since he famously erected a billboard in Times Square declaring that “T.H.”—an unknown entity at the time—was one of the four “great American designers,” alongside R.L., C.K., and P.E. (You can guess who those other initials belong to.)

Gutsy, sure. But the stunt not only helped to establish Hilfiger in the traditional sense—as in, it introduced him to the shopping public—it also set the bar for how much he was willing to put himself out there. In the past 30 years, Hilfiger has ridden the wave of designer stardom, sometimes expertly, sometimes not, but always with a certain admirable confidence. Maybe that’s because he has been unfailing in his love of Americana in its many, many guises. To kick off his 30th anniversary celebration, he created a Fall collection inspired equally by American football and Love Story. “I wanted to marry sport with luxury,” Hilfiger said at his showroom as the film played on a flat screen in the lobby.

He staged the show at the Park Avenue Armory, which was transformed into a football stadium, with a Jumbotron capturing the fashion plays as models walked the AstroTurf runway in Ali MacGraw-inspired ’70s-prep silhouettes. They were wearing faux-fur stadium jackets with red-stitched toggles, wool cashmere ponchos, and several looks in bouclé plaid. The jacket of a shorts suit, for instance, was decorated with a knitted striped collar. Those athletic stripes added a sporty detail to just about every item, many of which were decorated with little pins and stars reminiscent of 1940s football paraphernalia. Even the truly novel pieces, like a plaid-lined leather stadium poncho worn by Southern California model Gigi Hadid, was more modern-optimistic than crazy-kitschy. The It thing, though, will be the football-lace boots. A showpiece that has the potential to be a closet favorite, they were made for the pages of a sports-themed editorial.

For Hilfiger, this was just the beginning of a year of celebration. He’s currently in the midst of writing his memoir, taking stock of the brand’s history. “When I started designing this collection, I took all the inspiration from everything I loved, from sports to music to the outdoors to iconic women,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to make what was cool back then and make it relevant for today.” This season, he stuck to his word.

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