For over 30 years New York born and bred designer Tommy Hilfiger has nurtured the growth of his namesake fashion business, building it into a global clothing and lifestyle brand that has become synonymous with a classic American preppy style (with a twist). Most people in such demanding roles seek out a special, private place to unwind and rejuvenate. For Tommy Hilfiger, that place is the exclusive private Caribbean island of Mustique in the Grenadines island chain. We asked him about his love of the island.
What is it about Mustique that you like so much and why did you choose to build a home there?
“I came to Mustique 30 years ago for a vacation, and I fell in love with the island. It’s peaceful, private and absolutely beautiful. I knew it would be a great place to spend holidays with my family.”
Hilfiger has returned to Mustique year in year out ever since. He visits “about four times a year,” he says. He loves the island so much he bought a home there. Palm Beach, Hilfiger’s 8-bedroom beachfront residence, is set on 6.5 acres of land studded with 250 palm trees. The house is built in the classic style of architect Oliver Messel who was commissioned by Lord Glenconner to produce plans for 30 houses on Mustique, including one for Princess Margaret. Hilfiger purchased the plans and had them adapted to meet his personal preferences. We asked him about the house.
What’s it like and what was the inspiration for it?
“It’s called Palm Beach and it is a combination of British-colonial and old-world Caribbean architecture. I wanted something chic, but it had to be in harmony with its surroundings.”
The property exudes style and elegance, but with a pool overlooking the beach, tennis court, home cinema and well-stocked library, the house is kitted out with all the essentials required of a private sanctuary from the fast pace of New York.
How do you like to spend your time on Mustique?
“My home on Mustique is where I go to relax and unwind with my family. We play volleyball, ride bikes and paddleboard. In the evenings, Dee and I love to stop by Basil’s Bar and grab a cocktail with our friends. We love Basil Charles, the owner.”
While Mustique has been the Caribbean destination that Hilfiger has visited most frequently over the years, he has spent many vacations exploring other parts of the Caribbean too.
Which other Caribbean islands do you enjoy visiting?
“I love Jamaica and St Barts,” he says.
The Caribbean has provided Hilfiger with a peaceful escape from the stresses and strains of life at the top of the fashion world. The islands have also provided him with creative inspiration. His Spring 2016 Hilfiger Collection is infused with Caribbean colour and flavour and at his New York Fashion Week runway show, sun-kissed models in crochet string tops and bikinis, tropical flower print dresses and Hilfiger classics updated with island-inspired detailing strutted down a wooden deck catwalk alongside a giant pool and tiki bar hosted by none other than Basil Charles. We asked him about his “Mustique” collection.
What inspired your Spring 2016 collection?
“The collection is a celebration of island life,” he explains. “We were inspired by holiday styles from the ‘70s, reimagined with a modern twist that’s sophisticated and fresh. It’s all about eclectic, handcrafted luxury with a laidback, effortless ease.”
So, what exactly is it about the Caribbean that you love so much?
“I love the vibrant Caribbean colors, the relaxed culture and the laidback island vibe – it’s easy and effortless.”