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48 Hours in London with Gigi Hadid

By Kin Woo

Alexander Coggin
 
In the Showroom, Monday, 2:30PM

The 22-year old model, designer and photographer Gigi Hadid — fresh off the red eye from New York, where she modelled in a number of shows — is at work on the collection she co-designed with Tommy Hilfiger, titled Tommy x Gigi. It will be shown in the historic Roundhouse theater in a “fashion rock circus” on the final day of London Fashion Week.

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Alexander Coggin
 
Fittings, Monday, 4PM

Hadid poses in a long tartan mohair coat, denim cut-offs, cropped turtleneck and knee-high socks from the collection. She first modelled for Hilfiger two years ago, at which point the designer recalls she came backstage to thank him. “I thought that was very thoughtful of her to do that,” he said. “Gigi is in a class of her own. I found her to be unique in that she has this superstardom, is a tremendous influencer and has a huge fan base she really cares about.”

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Alexander Coggin
 
More Fittings, Monday, 4:20PM

Hadid later changed into a sheer maxi dress that would be her closing look for the show. “We really embraced her sense of style and inserted it into our brand,” says Hilfiger. According to him, she really dove into the project, recalling, “The first time she came to the studio she was supposed to be there for less than 2 hours, but she ended up spending more than 7 hours.”

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Alexander Coggin
 
Accessories Check, Monday, 4:30PM

The idea of tour merch informed the collection, which put an inventive spin on Hilfiger’s classic American tropes, infusing it with elements of grunge, punk rock and hip hop. Hilfiger of course has been a lifelong music fan, even wearing a leather jacket embroidered with the Rolling Stones logo to close the show.

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Alexander Coggin
 
Finalising the Lineup, Monday, 4:50PM

Hadid scrutinises the board, which lists models walking, including a mix of established models like Joan Smalls, rising stars like Ruth Bell and for the first time, male models that included her brother Anwar and Cindy Crawford’s model son, Presley Gerber.

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Alexander Coggin
 
A Mom Moment, Tuesday, 3PM

Hadid’s mother, Yolanda, has appeared on the American reality show, “The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills” and recently published a memoir, “Believe Me.” She gives her daughter B12 drops before the show.

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Alexander Coggin
 
Rehearsals, Tuesday, 3:30PM

Hadid posed for photographs with Hilfiger, her co-designer on the Tommy X Gigi line. Of their See-Now, Buy-Now model, Hilfiger says: “The consumer wants a great experience and at the same time they want immediate gratification. They want to see it on the runway and buy it then and wear it the next day.” Hadid jokes that while she has called Donatella Versace and Diane Von Furstenberg her fashion godmothers, Hilfiger is “my one and only godfather!”

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Alexander Coggin
 
A Run-Through, Tuesday, 4PM

Hadid and her fellow cast of 64 models rehearsed for the show later that evening. The catwalk show was staged in the round with the models required to master tricky catwalk choreography and timings, which required a number of rehearsals. Showing at the Roundhouse has particular resonance for Hilfiger, being the spot where the Stones played their last gig before they went into tax exile in 1971. Mick Jagger’s model daughters, Georgia May and Lizzy, both walked in the show.

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Alexander Coggin
 
Hugs Backstage, Tuesday, 4:10PM

Despite the long hours, Hadid remained upbeat. She says, “My mom always told me if you’re not the nicest, most hard-working girl in the room there’s always going to be someone prettier than you who’s nicer and more hard-working. I intentionally go to work every day and try to be someone people like to work with.”

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Alexander Coggin
 
Interview Backstage, Tuesday, 4:30PM

Hadid did a number of on-camera interviews for social media before commencing a gruelling round of interviews alongside Hilfiger. For Hadid and Hilfiger, the notion of “Instagram fashion” is not a pejorative but rather how fashion works now. “We feel like staying a step ahead — it’s the voice we need in communicating with the youth,” Hilfiger says.

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Alexander Coggin
 
A Sibling Selfie, Tuesday, 7:10PM

Gigi poses for a selfie with her siblings, Bella and Anwar. Between them they have 51.3 million Instagram followers.

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Alexander Coggin
 
Showtime, Tuesday, 8PM

After the crowd took their seats, Hadid opened the show.

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Alexander Coggin
 
A Finishing Touch, Tuesday, 8:10PM

Gigi makes last-minute adjustments to Bella’s outfit. For the first collection, Gigi fit all the clothes on herself “but then I learned the beauty of fit models!”

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Alexander Coggin
 
Into the Second Look, Tuesday, 8:15PM

Gigi opened and closed the show, which required lightning-quick costume changes.

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Alexander Coggin
 
The Final Bow, Tuesday, 8:30PM

After Hilfiger and Hadid took their bow at the end of the show, the audience was treated to a dazzling display of acrobatics and a stage was installed for a performance by The Chainsmokers, all in service of Hilfiger’s aim to “create a shopping experience you never forget.” Says Hilfiger, “Models walking up and down the catwalk — a format like that gets stale. The fans need more excitement than that."

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It’s early Monday afternoon at the Tommy Hilfiger showroom in Knightsbridge, West London — a four-story monument to preppy American style in bright primary colours — and Gigi Hadid, the 22-year-old half-Dutch half-Palestinian model is showing me the collection she co-designed with Hilfiger, titled Tommy X Gigi, that will be shown at the historic music venue The Roundhouse the following night. “This is my favourite piece,” she coos, picking out a vintage-looking oversize leather jacket with her name emblazoned in red lettering on the back. “I get very excited when things turn out the way you envision it.”

She may have just come straight off the red eye from New York — where she modelled in shows including Tom Ford, Prabal Gurung and Marc Jacobs — but she’s cleareyed, focused and attentive. It is this prodigious work ethic, not to mention 35 million and counting followers on Instagram, that has catapulted Hadid to the supermodel big leagues. Last year she was named International Model of the Year by the British Fashion Council; garnered covers for multiple editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and CR Fashion Book; and earned $9 million, according to Forbes. In keeping with the multi-hyphenate status of her generation, she has also designed eyewear for Vogue, shoes for Stuart Weitzman and turned the lens on her boyfriend, the pop star Zayn Malik, for a Versus campaign. “I’m always interested in lots of different things and I’ve been lucky in the opportunities that have come to me when I’m feeling creative,” she says. “I do things that come naturally to me and try to build on it.”

Hadid also designs the Tommy x Gigi line, now in its third season, which has succeeded in the see-now-buy-now model, where other brands have failed. “It makes more sense to this demographic,” she says referring to her fellow millennials. “This way is more inclusive. People don’t want to see all the celebrities wear it and have to wait and by the time they put it on, it’s old.” Having shown the Tommy x Gigi line at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport and Venice Beach in previous seasons, for the new collection, Hilfiger planned a “fashion rock circus,” complete with dazzling acrobatics and a performance by the duo The Chainsmokers.

Spending time with Hadid over the next two days is to get a glimpse into the multiple roles she currently juggles. She goes from doing interviews to fittings with the show stylist, Karl Templer, and straight into meetings about next season’s campaign. The rest of her fashion month schedule will be jam-packed with appearances on both Milan and Paris runways and many more shoots, but for the moment, she’s enjoying the experience of playing designer. “I’m so proud of the collection,” she says. “I hope I get better and keep learning.”

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