Thursday, August 12, 2010

Of Hilfiger, Woodys, and the Dictionary

I’d never accuse Tommy Hilfiger of being the first to present a look.

Rather: he’s been riding on the coat-tails of others for years: Calvin Klein for jeans, Ralph Lauren for preppy duds.

And this month he’s tailing—or tailgating—the J McKennedy-Crew look, with what he imagines to be the car du jour: the Woody.

But really the Woody is so five years ago (at least).

Graydon Carter has collected wood-paneled station wagons forever, or at least long enough for Toby Young to mock this habit in his:

And if Kate Spade didn’t reference one directly in her iconic ad campaign “Visiting Tennessee,” she certainly implied it. Don’t even mention J Crew.

But there is a lingering cool in the Woody.  On Nantucket, for instance, I was charmed to see one perfectly restored model on the cobblestone Main Street; curious to see a second, even more perfectly restored Ford something-or-other; suspicious then resigned to see a third, fourth, fifth, etc. in what seemed to be a gorgeous retro SUV parade.  (I like singularity.)

(Read Ezra Dyer on the Nantucket Woody.  You'll have to scroll to the second article.  And note that this is probably the only time I'll ever reference Automobile magazine!)

But back to Hilfiger.  Even though he invokes the dictionary in this ad, with his Latin phonetics (tail gate-ius; ulti ma/tus),  I think that this book isn't for him. 

He's still too dependent on the thesarus.


~Tessa~Scoffs said...

The new Ford Flex comes with a woody option. I gave it a moment's thought and then chose basic black.

Miss Cavendish said...

Tessa, Mr. C and I were both admiring the Ford Flex (burgundy /w white roof) this summer. I remember when you bought one !

Belle de Ville said...

Mr Hilfiger may not be the first to come up with a look, but I do admire this specific ad campaign, woodys, otk duck boots and all.

Make Do Style said...

It must be because I'm British but I love these cars, there is no irony or sarcasm here. I'm sure it is a style statement of sorts but I think they glorious. As for Hillfiger appropriation that is a subject in itself.

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

I've never given Tommy H. any thought myself. He's a designer that I prefer to ignore.

Thanks for the info about Nantucket. I'm so excited--it'll be my first time on the Cape!

La Belette Rouge said...

I loved Toby Young's book. And I do have to say that if I couldn't read the text on the Hilfiger ad, I would have thought it was a Kate Spade ad.

Miss Cavendish said...

MDS--to clarify: I think that the Woody is a smashing car! It's the cute-i-fication of it that I protest.

Belette, I thought that the VF portions of Young's book were hilarious (that's what I remember most). . .

enc said...

Remember the Country Squire station wagon? Those populated my neighborhood in Chicagoland when I was growing up in the late '60s/early '70s. So did the preppy looks: rugbies, TopSiders, etc.

Woodies are not uncommon in my current neighborhood in California, where people have a strong nostalgia for classic and vintage cars, especially these sta-wag styles that happily house surfboards and old ideas.

These preppy looks however, are usually not seen in my area.

I remember seeing an article about two weeks ago, in which Hilfiger claimed he'd been doing all this stuff since the '70s; the article was really recent, as he's trying to re-launch himself.