New Miami homeowner Tommy Hilfiger proves life’s a beach with his Spring 2014 collection.

Tommy Hilfiger
American designer Tommy Hilfiger looks to Miami for inspiration. 

A faded wooden boardwalk winds between swelling sand dunes. Girls with sea-salt-tousled hair emerge from the drifts, clad in sporty zip-front swimsuits, low-slung Bermuda shorts, and wetsuit tops. A Beach Boys-reminiscent track by Australian electro band Jagwar Ma fills the air.

This quintessential summer scene didn’t play out on South Beach; it was a runway show inside a cavernous Manhattan warehouse, where Tommy Hilfiger debuted his surf-and-sand, California-inspired Spring 2014 collection at New York Fashion Week.

“Imagine young, athletic girls on a beach who are not paying too much attention to what they’re wearing; they just automatically look cool,” says Hilfiger of the woman he had in mind when designing spring’s neoprene-and-leather shirt-dresses, loosely woven sweaters, and tropical prints. In other words, he says, picture “Kate Moss on a beach in Malibu.”

A look from Tommy Hilfiger’s Spring 2014 collection
A look from Tommy Hilfiger’s Spring 2014 collection

This celebration of the surfer-casual vibe may seem like a departure for Hilfiger, whose name is synonymous with New England East Coast prep staples like polo shirts, chinos, and nautical stripes. But he feels just as at home at the beach as he does in the city; he and his wife, Dee, just bought a house here in Miami, which he calls his “bikini capital,” where they “sell bikinis 12 months a year. I love the weather, I think the restaurants are amazing, the shopping is great, and the lifestyle is very chill and relaxed.”

Hilfiger’s outpost on Collins Avenue
Hilfiger’s outpost on Collins Avenue

Another reason for Hilfiger’s Miami migration? His love of the local art scene. “I’m an art collector. I had the time of my life at Art Basel. I wish Art Basel had gone on for another five days; I didn’t get a chance to see everything.” While Hilfiger won’t reveal what he bought, he will reveal this: His new home will be filled with works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Mark Quinn, and Damien Hirst. “I’m setting it up as a real gallery. All of the colors in my collections are inspired by Pop Art, whether it’s Keith Haring or Richard Prince or Roy Lichtenstein.”

Despite his status as a born-and-bred New Yorker, Hilfiger readily admits what his spring collection only hints at—he’d be willing to give it all up for an endless summer. “If I could commute between LA and Miami, I’d be very happy,” he laughs. 616 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-534-2570

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